Manila is the capital city of the Philippines and one of two main places that you are likely to visit when you are traveling to this part of the world. The term “metropolitan Manila” or simply “metro Manila” refers to the city itself as more than one dozen other small cities and suburbs that surround the main city and make up the larger metropolitan area. Depending on which areas are included, this region includes anywhere from eleven million to nearly twenty million people (some sources distinguish Metro Manila as a smaller area than the larger surrounding “greater Manila” which accounts for the difference in population between sources. Whatever the case, this is a large area and one of the most thriving portions of the Philippines so you can bet that there are a lot of things to see and places to visit when you travel here.
For the traveler who wants to know the “must-see” things in this area, here are 15 hot spots to hit up when you visit Metro Manila for the first time:
1. Rizal Park. This historic park has been the site of some very important moment’s in Manila’s past and is a great place to start if you really want to learn about the history of the area. Memorial plaques and monuments will give you this type of education throughout the park. There are also more leisurely things to enjoy here including the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, the Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion and a chess plaza. In fact, if there’s only one thing that you get to experience during your stay in Metro Manila, you’ll want it to be this park because there is simply so much to see and do in this one area.
2. Nayong Pilipino. For a more modern “park”, you may want to check out this theme park which draws tourists from around the world. Various historical points of interest and cultural celebrations can be experienced here at this all-ages adventure area.
3. Manila Ocean Park. Those people who are fans of Sea World in the United States may find that they also enjoy this oceanarium in Metro Manila. There is also a boutique mall here and some other things to do while you’re visiting.
4. Intramuros. Visitors who are truly interested in the history of the region will want to make sure to check out this district which is the oldest district of Manila. It’s a “walled city” which harkens back to the days when fortresses were required to keep the people of an area safe from outsiders. Just exploring the old architecture (particularly the churches) here can really help you to gain a great understanding of what this region was like years ago. Various forts, statutes and monuments can also be enjoyed here.
5. Manila Cathedral. Those people who are interested in the religious history of the area will specifically want to check out this cathedral which was first established as a church in Manila way back in the sixteenth century.
6. Fort Bonifacio. This is a section of a city in Metro Manila where you can learn more about the military history of the Philippines. Various landmarks are located throughout the district with the main place to visit being the Heritage Park memorial park. Memorial cemeteries can also be visited here.
7. Villa Escudero Plantation. This historic coconut plantation located South of Manila is reportedly an amazing place to experience. It combines a museum tour / history lesson with an astoundingly beautiful natural setting to give you a terrific overview of the beauty of days past in this area. Note that their website is down as of the writing of this report.
8. Manila Zoo. Many people have expressed some sense of disappointment with the Manila Zoo as compared to some of the other great zoos around the world. However, it’s something that other visitors think is worth checking out because of the fact that it is the oldest zoo in Asia.
9. Walk along the Roxas Boulevard Baywalk. There will be times during your stay when you don’t necessarily want to “do” anything but you do want to continue to experience Metro Manila. For those downtimes, a walk along the Baywalk is ideal. It’s particularly known as a great place for watching the sun set into the Manila Bay but you can also just people watch and enjoy the scenery here.
10. Pasig River Ferry. Another really relaxing way to take in the sights and other senses of Metro Manila is to indulge in a tourist-y ferry ride.
11. Photograph Taal Volcano. This active volcano has caused a lot of devastation to the area surrounding Manila in the not-so-distant past. However, when it’s not erupting, it’s a beautiful “mountain” located on VolcanoIsland in LakeTaal. The scenic beauty is worth taking photos of while you’re enjoying a stay in Metro Manila. There are nearby resorts and outdoor activities in this area.
12. The malls. Even if shopping isn’t your thing, it’s worth it to check out at least one of the three major malls in Metro Manila because they’re history-making in their size and development. These three malls (SM Mall of Asia, SM City North Edsa and SM Megamall) are all on the list of the world’s largest malls, making them historic attractions as well as intriguing sightseeing opportunities.
13. Manila wet markets. For a more traditional shopping experience than what you’ll get at the malls, you’ll want to make it a point to visit one of Manila’s “wet markets”. These are open-air food markets where you can purchase fresh local foods from the people who live in the area. It’s a great cultural experience and one travelers should take the opportunity to enjoy while they are in the area.
14. The skyscrapers. Some people want to make sure to visit the tallest buildings in the places where the travel to and there are definitely some worth seeing in Metro Manila. Two of the ones that you’ll want to go take pictures of while you’re in the area are PBCom Tower and G.T. International.
15. Experience the nightlife of Makati. There are many places throughout Metro Manila where you can experience the bar and nightclub scene but this district within the city of Manila is the most well-known. If this type of thing is something that you like to take advantage of when traveling then that’s the district that you want to do it in.
- Metro Manila
- Rizal Park the Old Luneta in Manila
On December 30, 1898 nearing the end of the Philippine-Spanish war a young novelist and considered the Philippines most noble hero, Dr. Jose P Rizal was executed by the Spanish firing squad in a place formerly...
- Manila,Pearl of the Orient
Plaza Mayor,Intramuros Manila 18th CenturyManila,during the Spanish colonization was quite literally beautiful and magnificent.This picture shows strong european influence on its buildings and...
- Visiting Manila
Manila is a huge and busy city. It is the major city of the Philippines. Though crime, poverty, and pollution are problems that get a lot of press in the international news, this diverse and fast-paced...
- all about Manila - the capital of the Philippines
Manila could be defined as Sacramento for California. a lot of people would think that Quezon city or Makati is the capital of the Philippines like San Francisco or Los Angeles since those areas are more busy...
Md Noh on May 25, 2014:
I 'vn to Manila n Angeles for more than 6 times i find the people there very polite,
.Every times when they meet us they will say,Good Morning sir",Infront of the hotel entrance they will vow as a sign they respect the visitors@guests.Keep it up !
Kyle Briggs from Manila, Philippines on May 30, 2013:
The sites mentioned are truly great. I used to love riding the ferry along Pasig river. I wish could do that again. Anyway, it's sad to hear that Manila is being described by Dan Brown as "gates of hell". Sad but true.
chetan on May 15, 2013:
any vacancy their please inform i want to work with you ?
Greg on February 17, 2013:
This web page was very helpful, I,am going to manila in 2 weeks and cant wait to tour this beautiful country. I will be staying there for a month. sooo hyped
Daterd on February 12, 2013:
I love my girlfriend sooo muuuuch!! Its more fun in the philippines!! :-)
Children of the 80's on December 26, 2012:
With all due respect, Nayong Pilipino does not exist anymore in Metro Manila.
ayalee on December 18, 2012:
it really is fun n the philippines
jobchristian on August 17, 2012:
wow!nice !manila is awesome!!
Fatima on August 14, 2012:
TRY OUR BOHOL TOUR JUST TAKE MV Starcraft Schedule (Cebu-Bohol via Tubigon and vice versa)
Cebu to Tubigon, Bohol
5:45 a.m. – 6:45 a.m.
7:00 – 8:00am
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
10:30 am – 11:30am
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m
2:00pm – 3:00pm
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
5:30pm – 6:30pm
Tubigon to Cebu
7:00 – 8:00am
8:30am – 9:30am
11:00am – - 12:00p.m.
12:30 – 1:30pm
2:00 p.m. – 3:00pm
4:00pm – 5:00pm
5:45 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
7:45pm – 8:45pm
Rates (Plus P10 Terminal Fee):
contact number for MV STARCRAFT 09223810116/09067896363
e.a gonzales from Philippines on August 04, 2012:
Thank you for promoting my country. Try to visit. I know you will love the place especially the pinoys! We will welcome you with grate joy:)
prea from Philippines on July 10, 2012:
Nice hub! I am currently starting my own :)
feh on July 09, 2012:
so far ive never been there in manila.Its nice to see the places .AWESOME AND AMAZING
earl on June 12, 2012:
i am shocked that somebady appreciate our cities
mikey on May 03, 2012:
Awesome city was ther in sept last year and wil be back in three weeks! Love the culture,food and the curteous people.
ryan on May 02, 2012:
this are good suggestions but do not be disappoint to some problems you may encounter when you're planning to visit some places in manila.
mrvinze on April 02, 2012:
one word. awesome!
jose on March 27, 2012:
I got my list clear now
SAEED on February 22, 2012:
Thanks I visiting soon
onlinecashdigest from Manila, Philippines on February 07, 2012:
Wow, the picture at the top is a spectacular view of the Makati intersection at Ayala Avenue and Makati Avenue.
CZCZCZ from Oregon on February 07, 2012:
Excellent hub on places to go and visit in Manila. It is a massive city that has a lot of interesting places and culture to experience.
shenzhen sansun on February 02, 2012:
this is very informative post thanks for the share
onlinecashdigest from Manila, Philippines on January 25, 2012:
yup the malls are good and we can even write a very long hub about them.
Essential Oil on January 22, 2012:
Great Post! Is this blog updated regularly? I’ll bookmark this site so I can get the best plumber in my place. Thank you.
visit here more details of SPA/Cosmetic : http://www.kazimaperfumers.com
jeffrey on January 12, 2012:
who want's to have some ?
xavier on January 11, 2012:
try also to visit Hundred island philippines 260 km. away north of manila. very nice beach and scenery, and also the neighboring beaches like bolinao beach, agno umbrella rocks. the good thing here is..very cheap to go there. you dont need to spend a lot of money. the food,hotel,spa,resort,transportation, their cheap.
rob_allen from MNL, PH on December 13, 2011:
bananatravels on November 28, 2011:
to view some of the philippines best and luxurious resorts and hotels, best value restauratns and world class tourist spotsa visit www.bananatravels.com
bachanesh kumar agrawal on November 09, 2011:
its beautiful city.i found it as was narrated
epic talker on October 12, 2011:
wit on October 06, 2011:
wawawawawa nice! nice!
nanetteparker on October 06, 2011:
thanks for featuring the some of the best places to visit in metro manila. hope you don't mind if i share some additional information.. my mother is a native-born citizen of the Philippines that's why i already visited these tourist spots of metro manila for several times.. but the villa escudero plantation and the taal volcano are not located in metro manila. they are from the nearby provinces of manila. villa escudero plantation is in san pablo city, laguna and that is about 10km (6.2 miles) away from metro manila. meanwhile, the taal volcano is in the province of batangas and that is 50km (31 miles) away from the heart of manila.
Marlina on September 29, 2011:
Hi..i will be visiting Manila next month, is there any budget hotel or a nice place to stay in Manila?
dexter olisa on September 24, 2011:
nice one,. good job
Ravi Singh from India on August 11, 2011:
Thanks for info.. hope I will visit there one day!
Vinod on July 27, 2011:
Have been to Manila e times before. I am going again on August 14th. I love this place, the people, the food, I like just about everything here. I have always stayed at the Crowne Plaza and will be there again next month. Of course, this is the first time I'll be in Manila during the monsoons and I'm sure I'll have a great time as I am going there with my wife.
BestAbsWorkouts on July 25, 2011:
This took me down memory lane. I spent a month in the Philippines back in 1990. Wonderful country, wonderful people.
htodd from United States on July 17, 2011:
kerlynb from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on June 26, 2011:
Thanks for this hub! I'm from Quezon City, just north of Manila. People visiting Manila can stop over the city to head off to other interesting places in the Philippines like Palawan, Boracay, Cebu, and even Batanes :) Guests usually go scuba diving, sun bathing, or simply eating Philippines' famed halo-halo ;)
Web World Watcher on June 17, 2011:
Wow, I've never been to Manila, but after reading this I am putting on my list of go to destinations
applejuic3 from San Diego, CA on June 17, 2011:
this makes me want to go to the philippines now!
abu dhabi yacht charter on June 04, 2011:
nice article! Philippines is on my list of countries to visit. Soon!
abu dhabi dhow cruise on June 02, 2011:
Thank you so much fun at Oceania Water Park in Cavite... A very good place to enjoy with your family and friends.
Xanthine on May 29, 2011:
Had so much fun at Oceania Water Park in Cavite... A very nice place to enjoy with your family and friends. My kids had so much fun the whole time. Would definitely be going back next year. try to visit this post http://www.dumaguete-hotels.com/oceania-water-park...
rob_allen from MNL, PH on May 25, 2011:
WOW! I LOVE MANILA....this is my birthplace! Hey, try some patok jeeps along Aurora BLVD with STop N Shop - Marikina Route :)
mecheil on May 13, 2011:
but as you jump off to each site, be prepared for bouts of nasty traffic jams.
ajcuaresma from NJ on May 12, 2011:
Awesome article! I visited over a year ago, and I wish I read your article first! That really would have helped me decide where to go next!
Toby Simon from Kansas City, Missouri on May 12, 2011:
wow!! nice hub..i wish to see pacquiao when i visit Philippines..haha..
borge_009 from Philippines on April 29, 2011:
I have never been there to Manila...hoping to visit these wonderful places
Carolina from Switzerland on April 25, 2011:
I have been in Manila 3x, wish to visit Manila again. Very informative hub. Thank you...greetings to my kababayan.
jslyde on March 29, 2011:
Manila here we come..
will come there on 25th-28th of Nov. :D
youngdubliner from Dublin, Ireland on March 22, 2011:
nice hub. Philippines is on my list of countries to visit. Soon!
Slim on March 15, 2011:
I lived i Subic for 3 years when I was in the Navy, I was young and stupid, I never seen the outside of a bar. I'm going back to P.I. in 6 more weeks, I will be visiting manila, subic, and Baguio, there are so many places I want to see. first on my list is to hick up the Taal volcano, I can't wait !!! but I'm still going to enjoy the night life in Makati, Angeles, and Olonapo...lol
Saluke on March 13, 2011:
I have been to mall of asia and mega mall and thoese are really nice place from many perspective.
Nicolas Simons from San Francisco on March 09, 2011:
I've never been to Manila before. Thank you for the virtual trip. Totally enjoyed it.
Gracie on March 03, 2011:
I have been in Mall of Asia. It's really nice there!! lots of amusements and I love walking in the seaside...it's relaxing!!!
munirahmadmughal on March 03, 2011:
"15 Places to Visit in metro Manila -Philippines".
The hub is highly informative, excellently drafted, beautifully presented. The hub is up by all standard.
The food for thought is that all these beautiful places though gifts of God have been preserved by the people who live their. It means their efforts have added grace into them and their constancy has brought fame for them. Those people who do not care for the natural gifts loose them one day. Philippines is thus worthy to be congratulated for having so beautiful places well maintained that attract the tourists all over the world. Such gifts are available everywhere in the world.
May God bless all.
Maria Harris from Houston on March 02, 2011:
Very useful piece of information. I would love to go there some day.
cherry on January 19, 2011:
I'm intrigued with the Villa Escudero farm in Laguna. I hope i could bring my family there sometime this summer.
cceerpp from Ghana on January 08, 2011:
You make Philippines look so attractive.
craigmissuea from USA on December 27, 2010:
Travelling new places is a great hobby. You have mentioned exciting new places for those who have got passion in it.
theseus from philippines on December 15, 2010:
hi..thank you for the hub. from someone like me who is from the philippines, i appreciate it that others like my country. despite the controversies hounding my country, we really have a lot to offer to the world. the scenery and the warmth and natural,world-class talent of the Filipinos make me really proud to be a Pinoy.
maricar on December 10, 2010:
i really like razel park and ocean
DavidLivingston on December 02, 2010:
A very useful post! Thank you for sharing with us. Pls keep posting like this.
Anna on November 30, 2010:
This international bar (the lenk) is a really great place! They have european and asian food. Many of the coustomers are foreginer and it's located beside the Robinsson Manila. I love it :D
cloudhardy from United State on November 10, 2010:
Metro Manila is one of the most visited tourist destination across the world.The popular place like Experiencieng the nightlife of Makati,The skyscrapers,Manila wet markets,The malls, Taal Volcano,Pasig River Ferry,Walking around the Roxas Boulevard Baywalk,Manila Zoo,Villa Escudero Plantation and so on is very much useful for the visitors and travelers. Thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful peace of text.
dorinmouss from New York on October 26, 2010:
Thanks for the great info. If only I could go to Manila!
flinsura on October 21, 2010:
I love Manila Philippines! and also laguna the province near manila... Wow Philippines!
mirtlesquirtle on October 20, 2010:
Very good blog> I always find the Philippines as a great country. Thank you for promoting this country.
Gordon Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on October 04, 2010:
Looks like a beautiful city, with plenty to see and do. Would like to visit some day.
Ipeoney from USA on September 04, 2010:
It's been a long time since i was there, way back 1986. I usualy visit the islands rather than the city. But very good update on Manila
starreviewer from CT, USA on August 26, 2010:
Was there last year and had a good time. This city has come a long way from what it was sometime back. good developments. thanks for sharing.
Janna Jones on August 22, 2010:
Great hub...and good info...but you forgot one thing...
5th Avenue Mc Kinley Parkway, Fort Bonifacio Global City , Taguig
In the walk way is the Best Food Group
KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUT SHOP :)
umm umm good!
kingkhan78 on August 22, 2010:
nice information and great hub about travelling
lahoriamplifier from Lahore on July 29, 2010:
i love traveling
geraldinegerongay from Los Angeles, CA on June 13, 2010:
I haven't been to Manila Ocean Park yet. It wasn't there yet when I was still in the Philippines.
Metro Manila Directions on May 30, 2010:
In case you may want to visit these places, you can go to http://metromaniladirections.com for directions and tips on how to travel to these places. :)
Tony from At the Gemba on April 06, 2010:
Hi, will visit Manila in ... 8 days.... (pity this will not countdown.).. Will try to visit some of these places.
Why do I see your name against so many hubs.. how do you do it.. I have trouble writing one!!!
miow on March 27, 2010:
Another interesting places in Manila is casino. While everyone is looking at Macau=casino. There is a number of poker club, PAGCOR casinos. There is a new casino and entertainment center in town. Resorts World Manila located at newport city, opposite of NAIA 3. Great show in BAR 360 and good food in Noodle Works, Mercado, Passion and Ginzadon. Some news said they will be more great restaurant and bar to come. A mall that never sleep.
digitalexplorer from United Kingdom on March 15, 2010:
Interesting list but I was surprised that Nayong Pilipino (besides the international airport in Pasay City) was included in your list. The place was already closed so many years ago! It was rumoured that it will be redeveloped into a mixed-use area. But when I clicked the link, you are referring to the expo village in Clark, Pampanga. Since it is only Metro Manila, then Villa Escudero, Nayong Pilipino and Taal Volcano should not be included in your list. It is quite confusing because these attractions are situated outside the jurisdiction of Metro Manila. As substitutes, I recommend the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman QC, China Town/Quiapo area (Manila City) and Baclaran Church area (Pasay City, during Wednesday).
topgunjager from Sunnyvale, CA on October 29, 2009:
Villa Escudero is the shiznit!!! My sister got married there, i'd stay there for the rest of my life if i could=)
Ireno Alcala from Bicol, Philippines on October 06, 2009:
Thanks, Kathryn Vercillo. I used to walk along the Baywalk and interact with the local tourists and some foreigners, too. My routes, include Intramuros, Rizal Park, Baywalk then to Baclaran proper in Paranaque City, Manila. It really gave me a boost to lower my cholesterol level just walking along the said landmarks and places in the metropolis.
mommyfreelancer from Philippines on August 18, 2009:
Thank you for showing your appreciation of the Philippines and Metro Manila. I can add a few items: Manila Ocean Park, IMAX theaters, comedy bars (though shows are predominantly in Tagalog), old churches. But while here, don't limit yourselves to Manila, explore the islands! Get a tan, wakeboard, go spelunking, watch the whalesharks, and enjoy the food! :)
dyesebel10 from USA on June 27, 2009:
Thanks for the hub... yes! I am visiting Manila soon.. I love the malls... Mall of Asia here I come.
CynthiaMoyer on April 06, 2009:
Oh my gosh - I lived in Metro Manila for a year as an exchange student (PCTR Batch 83-84!!) and LOVED the Philippines!!!!! Our 25th high-school reunion is this December, and I SO want to go! I lived in Valenzuela, off of Maysan Road, with three different Filipino families, and I spent a lot of time with a missionary family who lived at the Far East Broadcasting Company. I recently got back in touch with DOZENS of my classmates through Facebook and Friendster, and I am just so glad for the internet!
Love, love, love, love, love the PHILIPPINES!!!!!!!!
mstuckey07 on March 13, 2009:
Thanks for promoting my former country. It's nice to hear from someone else that they appreciate our country despite what we hear in the media over here. Sometimes it is not only the places itself but the people that makes a country .
Dottie1 from MA, USA on December 07, 2008:
Thanks for the tour. Would love to visit one day. Thanks.