Manila

Travel Guide
Baywalk showing a bay or harbour, boating and a city

From the hectic pace of its high-rise business district to the tranquillity of its flower-filled parks, Manila is a city of strong contrasts.

Vast and sprawling, Manila at first sight can be daunting. One of the largest cities in the world and still growing, this metropolis of sixteen towns seems impossible to navigate. With no obvious centre, the new visitor can find themselves bewildered by the crowded streets, dense traffic and frantic pace. But spend a little time among its friendly people, learn a little of its fascinating but volatile history, and its charms will soon get under your skin.

Manila has been under occupation by the Spanish, British, Japanese and Americans, and has been destroyed many times by natural disasters including fires and earthquakes. More recently, the tragic devastation wrought by bombing raids during the Second World War brought the city to its knees. Now, thanks to an ambitious programme of reconstruction, many of the city’s historic buildings have been preserved for posterity.

Intramuros is the oldest area and one of the main focuses for tourism. This ancient walled city is surrounded by sturdy fortifications built by the Spanish in the 16th century to repel hostile invaders. Most of the walls were left in ruins by wartime bombing, but the remaining parts have been sympathetically restored. Follow the walkways to the Baluarte de San Andres and the Baluarte de San Diego to appreciate their strategic position overlooking Manila Bay and the Pasig river. Nearby Fort Santiago houses the Rizal Shrine, dedicated to national hero Dr José Rizal, who lost his life in the struggle for independence. See the place of his execution in Rizal Park, one of the largest recreational spaces in Asia.

Learn about the fascinating archaeology and anthropology of the region in the National Museum of the Filipino People, or visit Casa Manila Museum for a close-up view of the domestic life of an affluent Filipino family during the colonial era. Believers and non-believers alike can’t fail to be moved by the sight of faithful pilgrims flocking to Quiapo Church to pray to the Black Nazarene, one of the most important icons in the country. Take time to visit Manila Cathedral, still proudly serving the Catholic community despite being destroyed many times.

Getting around on foot is hard in this huge metropolis, but taxis are cheap and plentiful and the light rail links most of the main sites. For the authentic Manila experience, hop on a colourful jeepney and hold on tight!

Where to stay in Manila

The Heritage Hotel Manila
The Heritage Hotel Manila
4 out of 5
Roxas Boulevard, Corner Of Edsa, Pasay, Manila, 1300
The price is Rs3,682 per night from 20 Jun to 21 Jun
Stay at this 4-star family-friendly hotel in Pasay. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking and breakfast. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the spacious rooms in ...
3.9/5 Good! (978 reviews)
"very clean and nice room. very comportable beds and pillows. staff are nice"

Reviewed on 13 May 2022

The Heritage Hotel Manila
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
5 out of 5
CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay, Manila, 1300
Fully refundable
The price is Rs6,771 per night from 29 May to 30 May
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Pasay. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants and breakfast. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful staff in their reviews. Popular ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (957 reviews)
"Nice place to stay and highly recommended."

Reviewed on 13 May 2022

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
Dusit Thani Manila
Dusit Thani Manila
5 out of 5
Arnaiz Ave, Ayala Center, Makati, Manila, 1223
The price is Rs6,573 per night from 20 Jun to 21 Jun
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Makati. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking and 3 restaurants. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in their reviews. ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (964 reviews)
"Close proximity to shopping and bank"

Reviewed on 13 May 2022

Dusit Thani Manila
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Seda Residences Makati
Seda Residences Makati
4 out of 5
Ayala Ave corner Amorsolo and Salcedo St, Legazpi Village, Makati, 1229
The price is Rs7,127 per night from 23 May to 24 May
Stay at this 4-star aparthotel in Makati. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking and breakfast. Our guests praise the breakfast and the pool in their reviews. Popular ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (41 reviews)
"Great place to stay."

Reviewed on 3 May 2022

Seda Residences Makati
Ascott Bonifacio Global City Manila
Ascott Bonifacio Global City Manila
4 out of 5
28th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Manila, 1634
The price is Rs13,631 per night from 27 May to 28 May
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly aparthotel in Taguig. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking and breakfast. Our guests praise the breakfast and the comfy beds in ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (202 reviews)
"The convenience of necessities nearby. Didn’t care for TV….lacking choices."

Reviewed on 8 May 2022

Ascott Bonifacio Global City Manila
Ascott Makati
Ascott Makati
5 out of 5
Glorietta 4, Ayala Centre, Makati, Manila, 1224
The price is Rs11,433 per night from 23 May to 24 May
Stay at this 5-star luxury aparthotel in Makati. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking and breakfast. Our guests praise the pool and the comfy beds in their reviews. ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (724 reviews)
"Walkable Glorietta Mall, restaurant’s and shopping places. Overall Ascott is an excellent place to stay. And very close to NAIA and Malls of Asia."

Reviewed on 18 May 2022

Ascott Makati
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Manila

Cities near Manila