Manila Things to Do
There’s plenty to see and do in Manila, but here are six things you definitely cannot miss.
Also known as Luneta Park, Rizal Park is Manila’s version of New York City’s Central Park. The park contains a Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, and many statues of Filipino heroes. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of Manila, Rizal Park stands out as a relaxing escape from the concrete jungle. Located at the end of Rizal Park lies the National Museum of the Philippines. Established in 1901, the National Museum holds the prized treasures of the country such as ruins from the sunken Spanish San Diego battleship from 1600, as well as art and other famous archeological artifacts.
The perfect place to watch a sunset or enjoy the Star City amusement park. Some of Manila’s best local restaurants are situated along the bay. You can also walk to the Cultural Center of the Philippines to get some history and sense of the local culture.
The Intramuros or “the walled city” is the oldest district of Manila and the remains of the Spanish colonial rule from 1521-1898. Within the walls, you will find old churches like the San Agustin Church and the Manila Cathedral, important sites to Filipino history. You can stroll around the old Spanish city or take a “kalesa” (horse and cart). When it was built, the city was meant for only the wealthy and it housed all of the state buildings, churches, and hospitals along cobblestone streets.
The highlight of the walled city of Intramuros is the Manila Cathedral, the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. The original Romanesque edifice was built in 1581, but the current structure is the sixth to be built after its predecessors were destroyed. The building features stone carvings and rosette windows that were salvaged from the original structure. The Manila Cathedral is the largest Catholic church in Manila.
Within the Intramuros lies Fort Santiago, built for the first Spanish governor. Fort Santiago was the site of the Manila Massacre where at least 100,000 people were killed by Japanese soldiers. During World War II, this fort was held at different times by both American and Japanese armies.
University of Santo Tomas
As the oldest and largest university in Manila, the University of Santo Tomas houses the Museum of Arts and Sciences, an impressive library, and a park in the center of the building. Founded in 1611, the university is the oldest in Asia and one of the largest catholic universities in the world.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Manila.