Top things to do in Manila

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Top things to do in Manila

Many times in my life some foreign nationalities either my friends or just known through work or business related activities asked me and said this exactly “Can you tell me or give me an idea about the Top things to do in Manila?” As a Filipino and Manila born citizen i feel guilty because even me don’t really sure if all the answer i gave to them before are really top things to do or to visit in Manila.

That’s why i decided to put some of my free time to do minor  internet research about Top things to do in Manila. And here it is: (Some of the write up and images that i put in this article are the collection or summary from the other blogger and/or travel’s sites.)

Manila’s Hot Spot (A must visit place)

Manila has lot of must visit spots to offer from the old historic sites and churches  to the newly built huge malls and theme park.

  • Rizal Park – Manila
    Rizal Park Manila Rizal Park or Luneta Park is the most famous landmark in Manila. The country’s national hero and genius, Jose Rizal’s monument stands in the facade of the park across the Roxas Boulevard and the Manila Bay. It is also called the zero ‘0 KM’ kilometer. Many tourists and locals go there every day to have some photos taken in the famous statue and park. No entrance fee in the park so chillax.
  • Fort Santiago – Intramuros, Manila
    Fort Santiago ManilaIf you love visiting historical places and seeing vintage stuffs, you’ll surely enjoy this place. Fort Santiago was where Jose Rizal spent his last days before his execution. He also had written some of his writings here. Seeing Fort Santiago mirrors the life and culture of the country during the Spanish times and the sixteenth century.  There are also Kalesa or carriage tour company around the area like us Castillan Tours in case you want to tour around riding it.
  • Manila Ocean Park – Roxas Blvd., Manila
    Manila Ocean ParkThis one is one of the most favorite hotspots in the metro. The Manila Ocean Park shows amazing aquatic and marine life in awesome facilities and high technology tools to let children and marine lovers experience the best trip and see other aquatic species. Some activities are also available for visitors – dive and swim with the sharks, fishes and cute adorable creatures into the deep.
  • Kidzania Manila – Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
    Kid Zania ManilaThis place is “awesome”. It was the exact word came out to my daughter’s mouth the day we visited this place. KidZania is an indoor play city where kids can have fun exploring the adult world! KidZania is one of the fastest growing educational entertainment brands in the world that targeted the children.

  • Resort World Manila – Newport Blvd., Pasay
    Resort World ManilaWant more fun and games? Visit some casinos and entertainment clubs in the Resorts World Manila. This elegant place has been developed to compliment the entertainment, leisure, and other events. Republiq, a famous elite club is here too. If you love the Sentosa in Singapore, you’ll love the Resorts World Manila. Maxims and Marriott Hotel are in this area also.
  • Star City – Roxas Blvd., Manila
    Star City ManilaSpend the night in the popular amusement park in the heart of Manila, the Star City. With only few hundred of pesos, you’ll have the pass to ride all the rides you can and want. Roller Coasters, Wild River and xtreme fun are available to everyone.

source site: philpad


Intramuros Tour (Spanish old town)

Intramuros Tour ManilaThe colonial Spanish walled in area of Intramuros is an interesting place to walk around and explore. Churches and schools built with complete Spanish influence make it hard to believe you are still on an Asian island.

Horse drawn carriages with guides like Castillan Tours are available for small fees to take you around and show you the main and important sites. However, the thick surrounding walls make Intramuros a friendly walking environment as rowdy traffic roars outside. Visiting this area is one of the top things to do in Manila.

source site: migrationology

Binondo Tour (The World’s First China Town)

Manila China TownStrolling through various Chinatown’s around the world from Yaowarat in Bangkok to Chinatown in Buenos Aires, is always a delicious culinary expedition.

The world’s first Chinatown also known as Binondo in Manila is no different. It’s an exquisite place to stimulate your senses. Walking the cluttered streets are particularly interesting with hundreds of people going about business, napping, and chowing down great things. There’s also some company offer horse drawn carriage to tour you around China Town like Castillan Tours.

source site: migrationology

The Churches

For the millions of Catholic faithful in the country, Manila is the home of some popular and Spanish era type of churches to name a few like:

  • Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica – Intramuros, Manila
    Manila CathedralStanding grand and regal at the heart Intramuros in Manila is the breathtaking Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica, more commonly known as Manila Cathedral. This Neo-Romanesque church boasts of impressive architecture, from façade to interiors.
  • San Agustin Church – Intramuros, Manila
    San Agustin Church

    Just a few blocks away from Manila Cathedral is the equally magnificent San Agustin Church. Completed in 1607, this church has withstood major calamities and two world wars. In 1945, it was one of the seven Churches in Intramuros that remained standing, with only a damaged roof.
  • Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz – Binondo, Manila
    Sta Cruz ChurchMinor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz or better known as Binondo was once considered as one of the most beautiful churches in the country, until it was destroyed during the British invasion. It was rebuilt in 1852, but part of the church was again destroyed during the World War II.
  • Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene – Quiapo, Manila
    Quiapo ChurchNeedless to say, the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, or Quiapo Church, is one of the favorite Visita Iglesia destinations not only because of prominence as a devotion site, but also because of its convenience, being at the heart of Manila. Quiapo Church is home to the miraculous Black Nazarene, whose original image was brought to the country in the 17th century.

  • San Sebastian Church – Plaza del Carmen, Manila
    San Sebastian ChurchFamous for its impressive architectural features, San Sebastian Church is the only all-steel church in the country and the only pre-fabricated steel church in the world. This architectural wonder has already been declared a National Historical Landmark and has also made it to the tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • National Shrine of our Lady of the Rosary – Quezon Ave., Quezon City
    Sto Domingo ChurchThe National Shrine of our Lady of the Rosary or commonly known as Sto. Domingo Church is considered the largest church in Metro Manila and one of the biggest churches in Asia. And unlike the Baroque churches built during the Spanish period, Sto. Domingo Church was built in Modern Spanish style.

  • National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help – Roxas Blvd., Paranaque City
    Redemptorist ChurchThe National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, also known as Redemptorist Church, or even more popularly known as Baclaran Church, is one of the largest Marian churches in the country. Needless to say, it has gained popularity because of the tens of thousands of devotees who flock the church every Wednesday.

source site: gmanetwork

The Malls

The Philippines is the bargain center of the world, and its malls are culture quirks. Malls for everybody, which will entertain every visitor no matter your tastes. A day in a mall offers a selection of restaurants, theaters, all types of stores, beauty salons, spas, clinics, play areas and wonderland rides for children, furniture shops, etc. under one roof.

Philippine traffic is legendary, and not in a good way, so you are better off to do your shopping all in one place rather than spend hours on the road. Because malls tend to have the same stores, boutiques, options, etc. I will first suggest the best or the best malls and describe their unique traits, then recommend stores to look for in them.

  • SM Mall of Asia – Pasay, Manila
    Mall of AsiaThe Mall of Asia is Asia’s biggest mall. Do go to the bridge to see the sunset. It is framed well and you feel quite Zen. The Mall of Asia has the widest Filipiniana selection (basketry, capiz, Filipino jewelry, bags, etc) at good prices. There is also a 3D theatre and a nice science discovery center. At night bands play and liven the place up quite a bit.
  • The Greenbelt Mall – Ayala, Makati
    Greenbelt Mall MakatiThe Greenbelt Mall is a must for a great shopping experience. Try to see Ayala Museum while you are there. This is also a great place for club hopping as they are all steps away from each other. Remember, clubbing starts at midnight.

  • Rockwell Powerplant Mall – Poblacion, Makati
    Rockwell Powerplant MallUpscale and tasteful, this mall is comfortable with quality buys. The basement has a wide selection of good food choices.
  • Alabang Town Center – Alabang, Muntinlupa
    Alabang Town Center MallI love ATC. Cheap options can be had at the Food Court and there is a flea market on the ground floor with Korean buys. Havin’ a Baby has the greatest pregnancy stuff. All the other stores here are expensive but quality is very good.

  • Among many others such as Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan, Shangri-la and SM Megamall in Mandaluyong, Trinoma and SM North in Quezon City.

source site: outoftownblog

14 thoughts on “Top things to do in Manila

  1. Very comprehensive & historical visit. We now have better knowledge on your historical value & wonderful treasure, our history! (email c/o admin)

  2. Senator J. Watson, Australia
    08/30/2011 23:03
    I write to thank you very much for a very memorable tour of Fort Santiago.
    Seldom have I met a guide with such enthusiasm and historical knowledge as your Mr. Anthony SJ. De Guzman. Enclosed is a small gift to show my appreciation in making my trip to Manila so memorable.

  3. 03/08/2011 10:16
    I would like to thank you for a wonderful experience in Intramuros. My daughter and I took your “Manila History and Cultural tour” on a horse drawn carriage on Saturday afternoon. Both of us had a wonderful time. The tour guide George, I think that’s his name, was funny, and a great story teller. He made our experience something that we will remember and talk about for a long time. Again thank you! – Neil and Claire

  4. 09/04/2016 18:35
    My friend and I toured Intramuros and thoroughly enjoyed it. Mr. Anthony De Guzman took his time with us and was very knowledgeable. We learned a lot about early colonial Manila! Thanks!

  5. 10/12/2017 00:40
    I had the pleasure to take this beautiful tour two weeks ago, it was awesome!, I will recommend to a couple of my friends who are coming to the Philippines in December, and I will also recommend my very nice tour guide Anthony de Guzman, besides of being a great guy, he transmited all his knowledge to us through that time journey, amazing!

  6. Though me and my father were reluctant to take the ride at first, we later found that it was well worth it. To ride on an actual calesa allowed me to immerse myself in the deep history within the walled city. It was a refreshing breath of air, seeing the places that still carried the residual lifestyles of the past as compared to the sheltered and sterilized textbooks encountered at school. It was different to see the very things that were once only described on the pages of books and classroom discussions. I would like to thank both our guide, Kuya Anthony De Guzman and Manongcochero (I regretfully forgot to get his name, please forgive my manners manong.) I would like to raise a few comments though. There were some occasional mixed-up facts that would otherwise be unnoticed by the common observer. Kuya Anthony corrected himself though there were some that he forgot to- the mistakes however are negligible. I would also like to commend Kuya Anthony’s and Manong’s enthusiasm in touring us around and how they were able to relate the past to the present. So once again, I extend my gratitude to them. If I were to be asked how Castillan Tours can improve, I would say that it just needs to constantly review the guides with constantly updated information to make sure they are always saying historically accurate things and that the promotion and advertising be improved as well. With that, I must say that I sincerely enjoyed my tour and would even like to take it again for a more in-depth exploration. I hope many more would avail of your tours and rediscover the past. It’s as the old saying goes after all, “Ang di lumilingonsapinanggalingan, di makararatingsaparoroonan.” Mabuhay!

  7. Thank you for your help for our first Manila trip.

    The guide was pleasant, with excellent English and great knowledge of their subject and history.

    Anthony helped us acclimate to Manila and pointed out many places and activities for us to enjoy after the tour was finished.

    The Carriage ride was pleasant and appropriate especially touring the back street alley ways round the walled city, it beats walking under the hot sun and heat. We love touring historic landmarks and this tour was very informative. My companions and I really enjoyed your tour and will recommend it to anyone heading to Manila. Thank you again.

  8. Many thanks to all your good service during the Intramuros tour of the group of Mrs. Natalyn Bornales of New York City. We hope to refer other visitors to you as their requests come in. All the best for 2012 to you, Mr. Sta. Maria and all your loved ones.

  9. The Last Rizal Day in Manila 2011 was a very memorable experience for my kids and nieces. Though we live outside of our Country I never wanted them to forget where we came from and how they got the freedom that they all enjoy today. In my humble thanks to our national hero I took my kids to Fort Santiago on that same day and toured the Wall City to learn, appreciate and understand our rich history. My sincerest thanks to our tour guide Mang George and his kutchero companion whom I forgot the name ( please forgive me) but I remember the horses name ( kikay). They have done a good job in bringing the kids attention into stories behind the structures and walls of Intramuros. A few suggestions I would say; it would have been better if we had more time inside Rizal’s cell in order for us to marvel the works artifacts and clothes of Rizal. Overall it was a great experience with this 2 individuals, we hope to see more improvements and trivias when we try it again…KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

  10. The tour was very informative and fascinating. Our guide Ernie Javier was very professional and made history come alive!

  11. An excellent, very interesting, informative tour and we definitely recommend it to everyone. The Best!

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