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Things to do in Manila

Things to do in  Manila

Welcome to Manila

Although many first-time visitors to the Philippines use Manila as a jumping-off point for Luzon, Davao, and the rest of the scattered archipelago, the Asian metropolis yields great rewards for travelers willing to stick around. A Jeepney (colorful mode of public transport) tour is indisputably the best way to discover Manila. Explore Makati (Old Manila), Intramuros, and Chinatown (Binondo); roam around the Rizal Park and Shrine, and delve into World War II history at Corregidor Island and Fort Santiago. An evening cruise on the illuminated Manila Bay reveals a different side to the capital, as do excursions to the coconut farms of Villa Escudero. Then, once you’ve had your fill of Manila’s cosmopolitan culinary scene and chaotic allure, take a day trip to farther-afield natural wonders such as the Taal Volcano, Tagaytay Ridge, and Hidden Valley, where volcanic water pools and mountain landscapes soothe the soul. Art tours cover the Angono Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage–listed site home to prehistoric petroglyphs, and the Nemiranda Arthouse; cultural experiences combine Filipino cuisine with traditional dance performances; and passes to Manila Ocean Park guarantee a fun-filled day out for those traveling with kids. For families wanting the best of both worlds, choose a sightseeing tour of Manila and Makati that includes admission to Manila Ocean Park.

Top 15 attractions in Manila

#1
Fort Santiago

Fort Santiago

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One of the most important historical sites in Manila, Fort Santiago was built by a Spanish conquistador to protect the newly formed city. The fort is a key feature of the famous walled city known as Intramuros, a complex of manicured gardens, fountains, lily ponds, and sunny plazas, as well as the Rizal Shrine Museum, as well as a Manila city tour highlight.More
#2
Intramuros Walled City

Intramuros Walled City

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The colonial heart of Manila, Intramuros—which means “within the walls”—is the capital’s oldest district and home to some of its most impressive historic monuments. Founded by the Spaniards in the 16th century, the gigantic stone citadel is surrounded by impressively preserved city walls, stretching for almost 3 miles (5 kilometers).More
#3
San Agustin Church and Museum

San Agustin Church and Museum

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Located in the historic Walled City of Old Manila, the beautiful baroque Church of San Agustin is both the oldest church in the country and a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Highlights include the tombs of several historical figures—including conquistadors, statesmen, and artists—as well as the adjoining San Agustin Museum.More
#4
Roxas Boulevard

Roxas Boulevard

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One of Manila’s best-known streets, Roxas Boulevard hugs the waterfront for most of its length and includes Rizal Park, the historic Manila Hotel, and the popular promenade Manila Baywalk. It’s backed by the lively Malate district, with its open-air bars and restaurants, while Manila Bay sunset views make it a popular early evening stop.More
#5
Casa Manila

Casa Manila

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Step back in time and see how upper-class Filipinos lived during the colonial era at Casa Manila, a beautifully reconstructed traditional Spanish colonial home within the walls of Intramuros, in the heart of Manila. Casa Manila is filled with period furniture, furnishings, decorative objects, and artwork from the colonial era.More
#6
Taal Volcano

Taal Volcano

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Located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, Taal Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. Rising up from the center of Taal Lake and harboring its own crater lake and island, the unique setting—an island in a lake on an island in a lake—makes for an incredible sight.More
#7
Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort

Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort

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An ever-popular retreat from Manila, Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort is a historic hacienda and working coconut plantation. Attractions here run from a restaurant set in a waterfall, where you dine with water running over your toes, to swimming pools, a river, a museum, buffalo-cart rides, bamboo rafts, and cultural dance shows.More
#8
Pagsanjan Falls

Pagsanjan Falls

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About 60 miles (97 kilometers) from Manila, a visit to the 33-foot-high (10-meter-high) Pagsanjan (Magdapio) Falls delivers an epic thrill ride. First, paddle upstream in a small boat. Then ride a bamboo raft under the cascade itself into Devil’s Cave. Finally, race down the jungled gorge through a series of adrenaline-pumping rapids.More
#9
Rizal Park and Shrine

Rizal Park and Shrine

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Situated next to the walled city of Intramuros, historical Rizal Park is one of the largest urban parks in Asia and covers 140 acres (58 hectares). With lawns, gardens, walkways, ponds, museums, an observatory, a concert hall, and more, it’s one of the most popular attractions in Manila for locals and visitors alike.More
#10
National Museum of the Philippines

National Museum of the Philippines

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Established in 1901, the National Museum of the Philippines is a vast complex of museums and a planetarium located next to Rizal Park. Immerse yourself in the artistic, historical, and cultural heritage of the Philippines through the museum’s expansive collections covering fine art, ethnography, anthropology, archaeology, and natural history.More
#11
Sts. Peter and Paul Church (San Pedro Macati Church)

Sts. Peter and Paul Church (San Pedro Macati Church)

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Also known as San Pedro Macati, Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Makati, Manila, is one of the Philippines’ most historic churches. Originally built by Spanish colonists in 1620, this Catholic church was rebuilt during the 19th century after being destroyed in 1762. It maintains its original baroque architectural style and carved altar.More
#12
Mt. Pinatubo Crater

Mt. Pinatubo Crater

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Towering 4,757 feet (1,450 meters) above Luzon, the Mt. Pinatubo stratovolcano blew its top quite spectacularly in 1991. Today, the crater lake that’s left behind and the surreal mudflow landscapes around it make one of the Philippines’ most fun adventures—and one that’s well worth the early start. The volcano is carefully monitored for safety.More
#13
Manila American Cemetery

Manila American Cemetery

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Set amid the bustle of downtown Manila, Manila American Cemetery is an oasis of peace and remembrance. The cemetery is home to the remains of 17,184 soldiers who died during World War II, with serried ranks of brilliant white crosses across manicured lawns and galleries that explain key battles.More
#14
Chinese Cemetery

Chinese Cemetery

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In death as in life, Manila’s rich Chinese like to live large, and the renowned Chinese Cemetery—lined with otherworldly mansions, some complete with air-conditioning and flush toilets—is a tribute to their wealth. Sprawling over 133 acres (54 hectares), it’s one of Manila’s quirkiest attractions: You can even rent a bike to get around.More
#15
Angono Petroglyphs

Angono Petroglyphs

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Probably the Philippines’ oldest art, and some of the oldest rock carvings in southeast Asia, the Angono Petroglyphs sit in Angono, Rizal, southeast of Manila. The 127 carvings show human and animal figures and date back to the late Stone Age, more than 4,000 years ago. A small on-site museum displays ceramics, fossils, and other artifacts.More

Trip ideas

Food Lover's Guide to Manila

Food Lover's Guide to Manila

How to Spend 1 Day in Manila

How to Spend 1 Day in Manila

How to Spend 3 Days in Manila

How to Spend 3 Days in Manila

Top activities in Manila

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Recent reviews from experiences in Manila

star-5
Great Refreshing Day Trip - Get Wet !!!!
Robert_S, Jun 2022
Pagsanjan Falls Adventure from Manila
Lunch included after trip to the falls.
star-5
The perfect day tour for a couple out of Manila
bobmatutat, Apr 2022
Taal Volcano Eruption and Lake Sightseeing Tour
He is a knowledgeable, educated man who easily converses in English about any subject, and so, for this tour we recommend you ask for him.
star-5
Pagsanjan Falls
gabibutler2018, Jul 2018
Pagsanjan Falls Adventure from Manila
We enjoyed every minute of our trip from Manila to Pagsanjan Falls.
star-4
if in Manila the tour is a must to...
Stan_J, Jan 2018
Manila Super Saver: Manila Sightseeing plus Tagaytay Tour with Taal Volcano
if in Manila the tour is a must to see the sights of Manila and the Taal Volcano.
star-5
Great tour to see Manila and the...
Michelle W, Oct 2017
Manila Super Saver: Manila Sightseeing plus Tagaytay Tour with Taal Volcano
Great tour to see Manila and the Taal Volcano.
star-5
An excellent overview of Manila. It...
chad6058, Nov 2017
Manila Old and New: Sightseeing Tour Including Intramuros and Fort Santiago
It could use more time inside Intramuros but the tour was well paced and you got the opportunity to visit multiple sites.
star-5
Really enjoyed this half day tour of...
Tanya L, Oct 2017
Manila Old and New: Sightseeing Tour Including Intramuros and Fort Santiago
It covered all we hoped to see in that time in Manila and our guide Neil was wonderful.
star-5
Well worth a visit
Samantha_G, Feb 2020
Villa Escudero Coconut Plantation Day Trip with Buffet Lunch updated 2022
There was lots to see and do, we really enjoyed the cultural show and the dining by the waterfalls.
star-5
Long drive - but WORTH it!
Sarah_B, Nov 2019
Banaue & Batad UNESCO 3days 2 nights Tour ( Private Group Tour Max 6 Travelers)
We were so glad we made the trek to see them!
star-5
One not to miss
johnpD2112ST, Oct 2019
Intramuros: History of Old Manila | Manila Shore Excursion
It’s mainly a walking tour with a short drive to the start point and back to the ship but the pace is relaxed and we got to see way more than the ships tour who we saw being regularly hearded on and off of coaches and rushed around attractions.
star-4
Had a nice trip outside the city to...
Sidney_M, Jan 2017
PanoramicTagaytay Ridge Tour from Manila
Had a nice trip outside the city to see a beautiful area.
star-5
It was so good to get out of Manila...
Kevin_K, Mar 2018
Pagsanjan Falls Adventure from Manila
The Falls are tremendous and the roar as you approach them is amazing.
star-4
Manila was not my favorite place to...
Eleanor Joy T, Mar 2016
Manila Super Saver: Manila Sightseeing plus Tagaytay Tour with Taal Volcano
Manila was not my favorite place to visit.
star-4
Quite enjoyable and pleasant. Both...
JACOB F, Nov 2015
Manila Old and New: Sightseeing Tour Including Intramuros and Fort Santiago
We were able to see a lot of Metropolian Manila that we would not have otherwise been able to see within the short time available to us.
star-5
Fantastic trip away from the hectic...
Bing, Aug 2014
Pagsanjan Falls Adventure from Manila
The falls are very beautiful!
star-4
Very good tour. Best way to see the...
Adam T, Jan 2015
Manila Super Saver: Manila Sightseeing plus Tagaytay Tour with Taal Volcano
Best way to see the highlights of Manila and also Tagaytay in 1 day.
star-5
Our guide, Richard, spoke excellent...
Walter H, Nov 2014
Manila Super Saver: Manila Sightseeing plus Tagaytay Tour with Taal Volcano
Our guide, Richard, spoke excellent English, and provided valued commentary along our trips.
star-5
Best tour guide
Giuseppe_R, Feb 2020
Manila Old and New: Sightseeing Tour Including Intramuros and Fort Santiago
I had the opportunity to see the main attractions of Manila, the tour is very informative and I would recommend anyone to book with Viator.
star-4
Good way to see Manila in a short time...
Sylva_L, Nov 2015
Manila Old and New: Sightseeing Tour Including Intramuros and Fort Santiago
Good way to see Manila in a short time.
star-4
Our tour guide Richard was...
Cecelia_V, Nov 2016
Manila Old and New: Sightseeing Tour Including Intramuros and Fort Santiago
It's humbling to see the markers and know how great the sacrifice of Americans and Filipinos was during the Second World War.
We perform checks on reviews

All about Manila

When to visit

As the capital of the Philippines, Manila celebrates festivals like no other city in the archipelago. Held annually during the steamy months of April or May, Aliwan Fiesta showcases cultural traditions from the Philippines’ 7,000 islands. Alternatively time your visit for Feast of the Black Nazarene, which takes place during the cooler month of January, for a taste of local culture without the hot, hot heat.

Time Zone
PST (UTC +8)

People Also Ask

What is Manila famous for?

A bustling, chaotic megacity, the Philippines’ capital offers food, malls, museums, and casinos, colorful jeepneys, and a vibrant Chinatown. The historic Intramuros Walled City and Fort Santiago still stand on the Pasig River, while 16th-century San Agustin Church holds UNESCO World Heritage status. Nearby Corregidor Island is rich in World War II history.

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What is the most visited place in Manila?

For locals, Rizal Park, a 150-acre (60-hectare) urban green space that hosts gardens, museums, monuments, and live concerts is probably Manila’s most visited place. Most every traveler will visit Intramuros Walled City, the old city founded by Spanish colonialist Miguel López de Legaspi during the 1570s, and Fort Santiago.

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How can I spend a day in Manila?

Start by exploring the city’s historic center: the Intramuros Walled City, Fort Santiago, and San Agustin Church. Head to Binondo (Chinatown) for lunch, then explore Rizal Park and discover Philippine culture at the National Museum of the Philippines. Dine on local signatures such as adobo stew, lechon sucking pig, and colorful halo-halo ice dessert.

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Is Manila good for nightlife?

Yes. Manila has a diverse range of nightlife, from sleek rooftops, stylish megacasinos, upscale clubs, and elegant cocktail bars to karaoke joints, backpacker pubs, and underground drinkeries. As well as the notorious go-go bars, the city has a thriving LGBTQ scene. Take registered, metered taxis, and be aware of the risk of drink spiking.

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What can couples do in Manila?

Rooftop bars and restaurants make great date choices for dinner with a view. A cycling tour of Intramuros Walled City or a horse and carriage ride through Rizal Park can add romance. A gondola ride in the Venice Grand Canal Mall is an Instagram favorite, while art or pottery classes are always fun.

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Is Manila worth visiting?

Manila is a city that provokes strong opinions. Yes, if you arrive in Manila it’s definitely worth taking 2–3 days to explore the city and tour Corregidor Island before discovering Luzon. But if you’re flying directly to another island group there’s no need to add a stopover in Manila.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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