Things To Do In Manila

Things to do in Manila Philippines

Dive deep into Manila’s rich heritage at Intramuros and Fort Santiago, where centuries-old walls whisper tales of battles and conquests. Indulge in the city’s culinary delights, from sizzling adobo to vibrant street food markets.

Explore ’til you drop at the colossal SM Mall of Asia or hunt for artisanal treasures at Salcedo Market. Set off on thrilling outdoor adventures like trekking at Taal Volcano or chasing waterfalls at Pagsanjan.

As night falls, join the pulsating nightlife scene. Want to uncover Manila’s hidden gems? Keep discovering.

Manila Historical Landmarks

Manila boasts an array of historical landmarks that transport you through centuries of rich cultural heritage. Fort Santiago, located within Intramuros’ walled city, dates back to the 16th century and offers a fascinating glimpse into the past with its historical exhibits, dungeons, and gardens.

Intramuros itself, established in 1571, is one of Manila’s oldest districts showcasing Spanish colonial architecture and historical charm. You’ll be amazed by the ornate details and religious significance of the San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site spanning over 5 centuries.

Casa Manila, another museum in Intramuros, provides an immersive experience into the colonial lifestyle through its well-preserved Spanish-era architecture and artifacts. For a unique historical adventure, venture to Corregidor Island’s Malinta Tunnel, which served as a bomb-proof shelter during World War II and now offers guided tours to explore its historical significance.

Manila Cultural Attractions

Explore Manila’s dynamic mosaic where ancient traditions intertwine with modern life, offering a mesmerizing blend of cultural attractions that will leave you enchanted.

Roam through Intramuros, the colonial heart of Manila, and uncover the city’s Spanish heritage at Fort Santiago, a historic fortress dating back to the 16th century.

Marvel at the grandiose architectural marvels of Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church, where intricate stone carvings and stained glass windows tell tales of the Philippines’ rich Catholic history.

Escape the city’s hustle and bustle at Rizal Park, a verdant oasis named after the national hero, Jose Rizal, where you can explore historical monuments and tranquil gardens.

Delve into the Philippines’ natural wonders at the National Museum of Natural History, a world-class museum showcasing the country’s extraordinary biodiversity, geology, and conservation efforts.

Indulge in the vibrant flavors of Filipino cuisine at Salcedo Market, a foodie haven where you can sample local delicacies and shop for unique handicrafts.

Manila Culinary Delights

Embark on a gastronomic journey in Manila’s melting pot of flavors, where centuries-old recipes intermingle with contemporary fusions, creating a tantalizing array of delectable dishes.

  • Taste the rich Spanish, Chinese, and American influences that have shaped Filipino cuisine over time.
  • Delight in iconic local favorites like adobo (meat simmered in a savory vinegar-based sauce), sinigang (sour tamarind soup), and lechon (crispy-skinned roast pig).
  • Explore the vibrant street food scene, sampling delicacies like balut (fertilized duck egg), isaw (grilled chicken intestines), and halo-halo (a cooling mixed dessert).
  • Discover bustling food markets like Salcedo Market and Agbo Street Food Market, where you’ll find an array of authentic Filipino dishes and friendly vendors.
  • Immerse yourself in Manila’s diverse culinary culture by joining a food tour, where knowledgeable guides introduce the city’s flavors, from traditional staples to modern fusion creations.
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Manila Shopping Destinations

After satisfying your culinary cravings, you’ll discover Manila’s vibrant shopping scene, where bustling markets and sprawling malls await your exploration. From the world-renowned SM Mall of Asia – the fifth largest mall globally and the Philippines’ pride – to the vibrant Salcedo Market and Agbo Street Food Market, Manila offers an unparalleled shopping experience.

  • Lose yourself in SM Mall of Asia’s labyrinth of retail outlets, dining options, and entertainment hubs
  • Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Salcedo Market, perusing local crafts, fresh produce, and artisanal treats
  • Explore Agbo Street Food Market’s bustling evening scene, savoring authentic Filipino street food delicacies
  • Scour through colorful markets, haggling for unique souvenirs, clothing, and handicrafts
  • Engage with friendly locals, soaking in the vibrant energy that defines Manila’s shopping scene

Whether seeking souvenirs, local crafts, or simply embracing the city’s infectious energy, Manila’s shopping destinations promise a thrilling, engaging adventure for every shopper.

Manila Outdoor Activities

Exploring Manila’s great outdoors offers an invigorating escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, with opportunities for adventure, relaxation, and reconnecting with nature’s splendor. Get ready to submerge yourself in the Philippines’ stunning landscapes:

  • Trek the iconic Taal Volcano and witness the majestic crater lake
  • Pursue excitement at Pagsanjan Falls, where you can ride a boat through raging rapids
  • Enjoy panoramic views from Tagaytay Ridge’s lush hills and scenic lookouts
  • Snorkel or plunge into crystal-clear waters teeming with vibrant marine life
  • Discover the mystical Angono Caves on guided tours led by knowledgeable locals

Whether you seek heart-pounding activities like zip-lining and river rafting or prefer leisurely pursuits such as swimming in secluded coves, Manila’s great outdoors caters to every adventurer.

Embrace the region’s natural wonders and create unforgettable memories amidst its breathtaking landscapes.

Vibrant Nightclub Scene

When the sun dips below Manila’s horizon, you’ll find the city’s pulse quickening as its vibrant nightclub scene awakens, offering an engaging atmosphere for night owls and party seekers alike. Iconic nightclubs like Valkyrie, Chaos, Revel, and The Palace Pool Club beckon with their pulsating beats and dazzling light shows.

These nightlife hotspots cater to diverse music tastes, from thumping electronic dance music to hip-hop and top 40 hits. You can expect star-studded guest appearances by renowned local and international DJs, keeping the energy levels high with their expert mixing and crowd-pleasing sets.

Themed parties and special events add an additional layer of excitement, allowing you to involve yourself in unique experiences that make Manila’s nightlife truly memorable.

As the clock ticks past midnight, the lively crowds flock to these vibrant nightclubs, sipping on creative cocktails while dancing the night away. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the city’s pulsating nightclub scene promises an unforgettable evening filled with music, energy, and endless possibilities.

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Manila Day Trips and Excursions

While Manila’s bustling cityscape offers an array of attractions, escaping the urban jungle for an enriching day trip promises an unforgettable experience. Here are some must-do excursions:

  • Engage yourself in the wonders of the marine world at Manila Ocean Park
  • Step back in time with an Intramuros Tour, exploring the historic walled city
  • Retreat to the lush natural beauty of Tagaytay and take a dip in the Hidden Valley Springs
  • Appreciate the cultural richness of Barbara’s Cultural Show, showcasing Filipino heritage and traditions
  • Experience an iconic Jeepney Ride, a beloved mode of transportation in Manila

Beyond the city limits, you’ll find a world of adventures awaiting. Begin a Binondo Food Tour in the world’s oldest Chinatown, savoring authentic culinary delights.

Explore the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, a meticulously preserved heritage site that transports you to the past.

Or indulge in thrills at the majestic Pagsanjan Falls, a breathtaking natural wonder perfect for an adrenaline-filled day trip.

Manila Local Festivals and Events

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Manila Local Festivals and Events

Manila, the vibrant capital of the Philippines, is a city rich in culture and traditions. It hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating its religious heritage, cultural diversity, and modern interests. Here’s a comprehensive guide to some of the key festivals and events you can experience in Manila:

Religious Festivals

Feast of the Black Nazarene (Pista ng Itim na Nazareno)

    • Date: January 9
    • Description: One of the most significant religious events in Manila, this feast involves a massive procession where millions of devotees walk barefoot to honour the Black Nazarene, a centuries-old statue of Jesus Christ believed to have miraculous powers. The event takes place in Quiapo, a district known for its vibrant market and historical church.

    Santo Niño Festival

      • Date: Third Sunday of January
      • Description: Celebrated in Tondo, Manila, this festival honors the Holy Child Jesus. The festivities include street dancing, parades, and religious ceremonies, reflecting the deep Catholic faith of the locals.

      Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan

        • Date: Entire month of May
        • Description: Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May) is a month-long festival dedicated to the Virgin Mary, marked by daily offerings of flowers and prayers. It culminates in the Santacruzan, a grand procession featuring young women dressed as biblical and historical figures, commemorating the search for the True Cross by Queen Helena.

        Cultural Festivals

        Filipino Heritage Festival

          • Date: May
          • Description: Held during National Heritage Month, this festival celebrates Filipino culture and heritage through various activities such as art exhibits, cultural performances, culinary events, and heritage tours. It aims to foster national pride and unity among Filipinos.

          Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF)

            • Date: December 25 to the first week of January
            • Description: An annual film festival showcasing Filipino films,the MMFF is a highlight of the holiday season. It features a parade of floats representing the films in competition, culminating in an awards night that honors the best in Philippine cinema.

            Manila Day

              • Date: June 24
              • Description: Celebrated to mark the founding of the city of Manila, this day includes various activities such as parades, concerts, and cultural shows, highlighting the city’s history and achievements.

              Modern Festivals

              Hydro Manila Music Festival

                • Date: Typically in August
                • Description: A unique music festival that combines electronic dance music (EDM) with water splashes, creating a fun and energetic atmosphere. It’s a major draw for young people and music enthusiasts.
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                Manila Fashion Festival

                  • Date: Twice a year (spring/summer and fall/winter)
                  • Description: This event showcases the latest collections from top local and international designers. It has become a prominent platform for promoting Filipino fashion on a global scale.

                  Manila Craft Beer Festival

                    • Date: Varies
                    • Description: Organized by the Craft Beer Association of the Philippines, this festival features a wide selection of craft beers from local and international breweries, along with live music, food stalls, and games.

                    Pride March

                      • Date: June
                      • Description: Manila’s Pride March is a colourful and vibrant event promoting LGBTQ+ rights and equality. Participants parade through the streets of Manila, celebrating diversity and advocating for acceptance and inclusivity.
                      Feast of the Black NazareneJanuary 9A major religious event honoring the Black Nazarene statue, believed to have miraculous powers.Massive barefoot procession, prayers, and masses.
                      Santo Niño FestivalThird Sunday of JanuaryCelebrates the Holy Child Jesus in Tondo, Manila.Street dancing, parades, and religious ceremonies.
                      Flores de Mayo and SantacruzanEntire month of MayDevotional festival dedicated to the Virgin Mary, culminating in the Santacruzan procession honoring Queen Helena’s search for the True Cross.Flower offerings, prayers, and a grand procession.
                      Filipino Heritage FestivalMayCelebrates Filipino culture and heritage during National Heritage Month.Art exhibits, cultural performances, culinary events, and tours.
                      Metro Manila Film FestivalDecember 25 – First week of JanuaryShowcases Filipino films exclusively during the holiday season.Parade of floats, film screenings, and awards night.
                      Manila DayJune 24Commemorates the founding of Manila.Parades, concerts, cultural shows.
                      Hydro Manila Music FestivalTypically in AugustCombines electronic dance music with water splashes for a unique festival experience.EDM performances, water splashes, dance parties.
                      Manila Fashion FestivalTwice a yearHighlights the latest collections from local and international designers.Fashion shows, designer showcases.
                      Manila Craft Beer FestivalVariesFeatures a variety of craft beers from local and international breweries.Beer tastings, live music, food stalls, games.
                      Pride MarchJunePromotes LGBTQ+ rights and equality through a vibrant parade.Parade, advocacy campaigns, live performances.

                      Manila Family-Friendly Activities

                      Manila offers an exciting array of family-friendly activities that’ll keep kids and adults alike entertained during your visit. Consider these options for a memorable experience:

                      • Engage yourself in the underwater world at Manila Ocean Park, home to over 14,000 marine creatures, including sharks, rays, and colourful fish.
                      • Explore Rizal Park, a historical gem named after national hero Jose Rizal, boasting lush green spaces, monuments, and recreational areas perfect for family picnics.
                      • Shop, dine, and play at SM Mall of Asia, the fifth largest mall globally, with endless entertainment options to suit all ages.
                      • Ignite your curiosity at the National Museum of Natural History, where interactive exhibits and displays provide an engaging educational experience for nature enthusiasts and students.
                      • Savour the vibrant atmosphere of Salcedo Market on Saturdays, where you can sample a diverse array of local cuisines, fresh produce, and handcrafted goods while mingling with locals.

                      Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Manila offers a diverse range of family-friendly activities to create lasting memories during your visit.

                      Tips for Exploring Manila

                      Maximizing your exploration of Manila requires strategic planning to navigate its bustling streets and experience the city’s vibrant culture to the fullest.

                      Consider these tips:

                      • Book a City Tour to see Manila’s Old and New districts, visiting iconic spots like the Manila Cathedral, Manila Baywalk, and the historic Manila Hotel.
                      • Time your visit during the dry season from November to April to avoid the rainy months, and aim for December to February for cooler temperatures and less humidity.
                      • Experience the vibrant Chinese New Year celebrations for a cultural and festive experience like no other.
                      • Opt for private transportation options as Manila’s public transport may not be as tourist-friendly, allowing you to move around the city with ease.
                      • Stay cool and enjoy shopping at malls like SM Mall of Asia, known for its air-conditioned comfort and vast array of shops and dining options.

                      Frequently Asked Questions

                      Is There Anything Worth Seeing in Manila?

                      Yes, Manila is packed with amazing sights! You’ll find historic walled cities, stunning Spanish-era forts, volcanic islands nearby, and bustling street life that’ll engage you in Filipino culture.

                      Is There Anything to Do in Manilla?

                      You’ll be spoilt for choice in Manila! From exploring historic sites to indulging in mouthwatering street food, immersing in cultural shows, or venturing into nearby natural wonders – there’s an adventure waiting for you at every turn.

                      What Is Manila Best Known For?

                      You’ll discover Manila’s true allure lies in its historic sites like Fort Santiago, impressive churches, serene Rizal Park, and the fascinating National Museum – revealing the city’s rich cultural heritage.

                      Is Manilla Good for Tourists?

                      Yes, Manila’s a fantastic tourist spot! You’ll find a rich mosaic of history, vibrant culture, delectable cuisine, and enchanting natural wonders awaiting your exploration. It offers an immersive, diverse experience that’ll leave you spellbound.



                      Manila offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and adventure. From the historic Intramuros to vibrant street food markets, lush natural escapes, and pulsating nightlife, the city promises an unforgettable experience.

                      Whether you’re exploring its rich heritage, indulging in culinary delights, or seeking outdoor adventures, Manila has something for everyone. Dive into its dynamic energy and diverse attractions, ensuring a memorable visit.

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