Manila is the capital of the “country of a thousand islands” – Philippines. It is a bay city with a fusion of the East and the West. Many European architectural remains are preserved in the city, as Manila was once a colonial city. Nowadays, many contemporary skyscrapers are also added in the city, demonstrating how the old blend with the new. You can explore the city in various ways: enjoy the stunning views of Manila Bay by the waterfront promenade, travel back to the Spanish colonial times at Intramuros, shop until you drop at the shopping complexes, or taste as many Filipino delicacies as you can. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city area, the countryside of Manila is also worth visiting. Hopping on an adventurous raft ride at the Pagsanjan Falls, relaxing at the Hidden Valley Springs in the tropical rainforest, seeing Tagaytay the magnificent Taal Lake and Volcano; come reveal the other side of Manila!
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The name of Intramuros means “within the walls” in Latin. This area has the richest history in Manila with many ruins, presenting the historic traits of the colonial times. Explore Fort Santiago, a former key-military base, visit the San Agustin Church and the Manila Cathedral for a glimpse of the Baroque architectures. Ride the Calesa, the ornate horse-drawn carriages to get around the area for a European style day tour.
Bonifacio Global City (BGC) is a new entertainment district in the city with increasing popularity. Here you can find a collection from international to local designer brands to have an exquisite shopping experience, with fine restaurants, trendy bars and luxury hotels nearby.
Don’t miss the chance to visit BGC Arts Center, where you can appreciate the art pieces of the local artists to delve into the world of Manila Arts.
In close proximity to Intramuros, Biondo is located on the other side of the Pasig River and is one of the oldest Chinatown in the world. Explore this vibrant area to feel the hustles of the locals’ daily by walking through its alleys. Check out the local foods, stores and the Binondo Church to feel the uniqueness of this area.
Located at the centre of Intramuros, the San Agustin Church is the oldest Baroque style stone-built church in the country. With a history of over 400 years, it has been recognized as one of the world heritage sites. Baroque style sculptures, ancient organ and precious religious paintings were all well-preserved at the church. A pair of stone lions are placed at the door of the church like guardians, demonstrating the blend of the East and West in the Philippines.
Not far away from Intramuros, the National Museum showcases the cultural history and natural remains of the Philippines. Its comprehensive collection of exhibits has over a hundred years of history, ranging from Arts, Botany, Zoology, Geology to Anthropology; it is the best place to have a closer look on the history of the Philippines.
The Malacañan Palace has gained increasing popularity thanks to the movie Maid in Malacañang. Situated along the Pasig River, the Palace was built by a Spanish noble in the 18th century, which was later transformed as the residence for colonial governors. The Palace is now the residence and principal workplace for the president of the Philippines. Inside the Palace, there is a museum of exhibits and galleries showcasing the heritage of the former presidents. Definitely an interesting way to explore the rich history of the Philippines!
Roxas Boulevard runs along the shores of the Manila Bay. Famous for its breath-taking sunset views and palm trees along, it is known as the “Sunset Boulevard”, an ideal place to watch the sun fades into the night. It is also a nice spot for night views.
With nice meals and live music, its beautiful landscape has become the trademark of Manila. This long Boulevard connects to various landmarks in the city, including the Manila Ocean Park, SM Mall of Asia, Manila Zoo, etc. Worth your time to plan a visit here!
The accommodation options in Manila range from 5-stars luxury hotels to economical choices. If you want to go for luxury hotels and large shopping complexes, Makati, the financial district of the capital, would be your first choice. Poblacion, its neighbouring district, on the other hand, has become an increasingly popular hub of trends & arts. You may also consider living near the landmark Venice Grand Canal Mall of Taguig, or the hotels near the waterfront where you can enjoy the amazing bay views all day long.
Manila’s traffic has always been a busy one, which is no exception from many Southeast Asian cities. With the extensive networks of Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Mass Rail Transit covering major spots in the city, travelling in Manila has been made accessible. Get a ride on the jeepneys, an icon of the Philippines, which you can hop on and off anywhere along its designated route. Alternatively, you can make a trip on the Calesa (horse carriage) to enjoy the beautiful views of Manila, or take tricycles for short journeys at ease.
The Philippines has a tropical climate with average temperature at around 25°C to 32°C. The best season to visit Manila is the time between November to May. If you prefer to visit during the “cool season”, choose to go in November to February. Whereas March to May belong to the “hot season” of the year, get some sun protection along with you in sunny and dry weather. If you are visiting during June to October, which is a typical rainy season, and comes with chances of downpour or even typhoons, don’t forget to grab an umbrella and check the latest weather forecast!
Philippine peso (PHP)
The average flight time between Hong Kong and Manila is around 2 hours.
The best season to visit is from November to May, avoiding the summer season with frequent typhoons.
Popular attractions include Intramuros, Malacañan Palace and Roxas Boulevard.
Subject to regulatory approval.