Manila: what to see in the capital of the Philippines

fort santiago manila
fort santiago manila

What to see in Manila, neighborhoods, attractions and main monuments, itinerary with places of interest to visit, from the museum to the Ayala Mall SM Mall of Asia.

Travel Guide Manila

In Manila, the joy of living does not radiate from the cultural heritage or symbolic reference points, but by continuous pulsing energy of the people very helpful and friendly with tourists. At first glance Manila is a bustling city, due to the large motor traffic on its roads, which runs between buildings crumbling concrete and skyscrapers.

To understand this we must first of all keep in mind that Manila is a confederation of 17 different districts and, to get a realistic idea of ​​the whole, you have to visit its various parts that make it up. History buffs will feel the ghosts of the past turbulent Spanish Manila within the walls of Intramuros, dating back to the 16th century. Shoppers can visit the trendy shopping centers of Makati, while gourmets will enjoy dim sum under the sky of Chinatown.

Places to visit in Manila

Ayala Museum is famous for his miniatures in 3D, depicting the vital points in the history of the Philippines. On the fourth floor there are permanent exhibits and spectacular of which the most beautiful is the one on the ‘gold of the ancestors, a set of glittering gold artifacts and treasures from the pre-colonial, including jewelry finely engraved by the indigenous tribes of the island. Of note, the exhibition of clothes embroidered Filipinos.

Chinatown: this district are to visit the food stalls, markets, the Church of Santa Cruz, which dates back to 1608, and the two main streets of Ongpin and Escolta.

Chinese Cemetery: founded in 1850, has been designated as the resting place for Chinese citizens who refused burial in Catholic cemeteries. The cemetery has a number of special tombs, some of which are equipped with air conditioning, rooms for the bathroom, toilets, chandeliers and other modern conveniences. On November 1, the feast of All Saints, sumptuous feasts are held here.

Fort Santiago is one of the oldest colonial buildings of the Philippines, was built around 1571 for defensive purposes to protect the entrance of the Pasig River. Its most famous prisoner was the national hero Jose Rizal, who spent his last days before the execution, which took place in 1896, at the hands of the Spaniards. At the height of the architectural grandeur of this fort is the door decorated with motifs of St James, the Slayer of the Moors, dating back to 1589. The Japanese used it to defend himself from the attack of the American forces and the building was partly damaged.

Intramuros is a charming old colonial district fortified, founded in 1571 by the Spanish on the southern bank of the Pasig River. Was devastated after 400 years from the battle that took place between the Japanese and the Americans in 1945, which killed more than 100,000 inhabitants. Faithfully restored after the war, including streets, squares, churches and monasteries. Can be arranged easily the carriage rides to breathe the atmosphere of the past alive.

National Museum of the Philippines: houses important works of art by masters Filipinos, including those of the painter Juan Luna lived in the 19th.

National Museum of historical artifacts: here is the wreck of San Diego, a Spanish galleon that sank in Philippine waters in 1600.

Oceanarium: in this wonderful aquarium you can admire the natural habitats of many species of fish, very faithfully reproduced along an underwater tunnel 25 meters long.

Rizal Park: This park, known locally as Luneta, covers 58 hectares and is a major green lungs of Manila. The park is named after Jose Rizal, who is remembered by a massive obelisk-style memorial. The park hosts several themed gardens, a planetarium and a orchidarium with a pavilion shaped like a butterfly. Rizal Park is a very used to picnic, people watching and jogging. The outdoor auditorium hosts occasional concerts free public.

San Agustin Church and Museum: is a beautiful baroque church dating from 1587, is one of the oldest buildings in the Philippines. Miraculously survived the devastation of war, is now the most representative moment of Intramuros in Manila. Trompe l’oeil and murals decorate the interior, the small museum of the adjacent monastery church contains some artifacts of value, including splendid altarpieces. Do not miss the garden of Father Blanco.

SM Mall of Asia is a huge shopping center, the largest in the country, that leaves visitors stunned. In addition to the myriad of shops, boasts Asia’s largest IMAX screen, an Olympic-size skating rink, 10 bowling lanes and a science museum. From the sunny terrace you can enjoy a stunning panoramic view of Manila Bay.