Manila Attractions: Things To Do In Manila

Looking for things to do in Manila? In an area as large and diverse as the Manila NCR (National Capital Region) it is not too hard to make a large and interesting list of Manila Attractions.

NOTE: This whole coronavirus thing is making us a bit tired and anxious, and we’re sure you’re feeling the same. Ultimately, we’re not sure what’s going to happen over the coming months. Most of us will be OK, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be stressful and difficult. Here, we update this post for more information for anyone who has travel planned or might be planning on travelling, over the next few months.


One of the first stops for every visitor should be Manila Bay to take in the beautiful sunsets. Have dinner, watch the sunset and relax after a busy day….

STAR CITY

Star City is a family-oriented amusement park. The rides and action rate in the mid-range… If you want a slower pace to try SM By The Bay or for more thrills spend a day at the Enchanted Kingdom. For something in Manila that still has plenty of action while still remaining family orientated, Star City is a good choice. It has a variety of attractions within its 35,000 square meter complex including kiddie rides, a playground, Winter Fun land, Dino Island, Star Theatre, miniature train rides, a go-kart track, and four roller coasters. The Snow World, with freezing temperatures, has carved ice slides for kids, carved ice statues, ice castles and igloos while the Dino Island contains a small museum with prehistoric artifacts.

But the huge fire that hit the popular amusement park Star City in Pasay City last October 2019 dampened the mood of many Metro Manila residents as we usher in the 'ber' months.


The blaze, which lasted for nearly 14 hours, destroyed 20 indoor rides and other attractions while outdoor rides were spared. Damage left by the fire was pegged at P1 billion

With Star City being closed for rehabilitation, most are left wondering if there are alternatives that their families can visit this Christmas season.

MALL OF ASIA - SM BY THE BAY

Sit back, have a drink, listen to the live band and watch the sunset over Manila Bay. Or ride the rides, walk the walk or just soak in the atmosphere… It’s a great place to be day or night. Riding the MOA EYE (Skywheel) at sunset can be very romantic. It’s a great place to just wander around and take in the free entertainment. There are also plenty of good restaurants for when you start feeling hungry… 


MANILA BAYWALK

The Baywalk transformation has done so much for the city and added another must-see location to the list of Manila attractions. What was once an area to be avoided because of pickpockets and thieves has been transformed into a thriving, social meeting place. Be warned, Baywalk can get busy with crowds often exceeding 200,000 on weekends… But don’t let that discourage you, Baywalk is well worth a visit or two. Baywalk is a 2 km river walk that stretches from the US Embassy to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).


CITY OF DREAMS MANILA

One of the new Manila Attractions, the City of Dreams Manila is the latest resort casino to open. City of Dreams is located close to the airport and 5 minutes by taxi to SM Mall of Asia. There is also a free shuttle service to all the major Malls from City of Dreams making it easy to find things to do in Manila...

With a golden rectangular facade and the iconic dome called the Fortune Egg, City of Dreams stands out on the cityscape.


Aside from the casino, City of Dreams has restaurants, clubs, luxury retail stores and a DreamWorks DreamPlay for children. City of Dreams has three hotels, the Crown Towers, Nobu Hotel and Hyatt Hotel…

MANILA OCEAN PARK

Are you looking for a great place to bring your family and friends? Look no further! Manila Ocean Park (MOP) is a state-of-the-art facility showcasing 1000s of marine animals and offers a great educational experience for both children and adults. 

Manila Ocean Park is an 8000 square meter oceanarium that is larger than Sentosa Underwater World oceanarium in Singapore. Watch sharks and other sea creatures swim overhead in the 25-metre acrylic underwater tunnel. Also make sure you don’t miss the Sea Lion Show, All-star Bird Show, Fish Spa, Symphony Evening Show and many more attractions. If you are looking for things to do in Manila then this is definitely worth spending the day….


RIZAL PARK

Rizal Park, or Luneta Park as it is also called, is where the Filipino National Hero, Dr Jose Rizal was executed and then buried. Rizal Park is one of the largest urban parks in Asia making it one of the major Manila attractions. Follow the marked trail of Rizal’s last walk to his execution…


SM MALL OF ASIA (MOA)

The SM Mall of Asia is the third largest mall in the Philippines and tenth in the world in terms of gross area. Aside from shopping and dining establishments, SM MOA also features an Olympic-sized ice skating rink, an IMAX theatre, an indoor Arena (the MOA arena), a convention centre (SMX convention centre, and a 180 feet tall Ferris wheel (the MOA Eye).


INTRAMUROS MANILA

Intramuros, Latin for “inside the walls”, is the oldest neighbourhood and a must-visit on the list of Manila attractions. Priceless historical value with at least 28 points of interest. A good idea is to request the detailed brown map called ‘Walking Tour of Intramuros’. This can be found at the visitor centre. You can also choose a more relaxing tricycle or "kalesa" horse-drawn carriage tour if too tired to walk… Click to see more

Aerial view of the Walled City of Intramuros

The kalesa ride when starting from the National Museum is priced at P350 ($7) per 30 minutes. If you take the kalesa from Intramuros (colonial Manila's “The Walled City”), the rate is at P500 ($10) per 30 minutes.

FORT SANTIAGO


The Fort of Santiago was built in 1571 and is located inside Intramuros. Inside Fort Santiago, is Dambana ni Rizal, where DR. Jose Rizal was detained prisoner until his execution at Luneta on December 30 1896.  Inside visitors can see rare photos and artifacts of Rizal…..


MANILA CATHEDRAL

The Manila Cathedral, also known as Cathedral-Basilica, is a Roman Catholic basilica dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Principal Patroness of the Philippines. The Manila Cathedral was originally a parish church located at Plaza de Roma in the Intramuros district.


BALUARTE DE SANTIAGO

One of the oldest forts inside the Intramuros, the Baluarte de San Diego was built in the late 16th century. The fort was primarily designed to repel the invasion and over time it has survived wars, earthquakes and the ravages of time. Before you start exploring, it is a good idea to read the information panel at the bottom of the staircase leading to the fort.



NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES


The National Museum of the Philippines is a government agency museum. The museum houses three buildings in Manila; the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Anthropology and the National Planetarium that are repositories of the natural and cultural history of Filipinos and our environment.

The policy of free general admission has been established, effective last July 1, 2016, to build upon significant spikes in viewership. The policy of free general admission has been established, effective last July 1, 2016, to build upon significant spikes in viewership.

National Museum of the Philippines is located at Padre Burgos Drive, City of Manila, Philippines. It opens every Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm. Last Daily Admission for viewers is at 4:30 pm.


MALACANANG PALACE


The Malacañang Palace is the official residence of the country’s President. Originally built in 1750 as a summer house, it has been used by 18 Spanish Governors-General, 14 American Governors, and the Presidents of the Philippines. After many renovations, it has become one of the top Manila Attractions.

Facade of the Malacañang Palace as seen from Pasig River.

THE COCONUT PALACE


Also known as Tahanang Pilipino, the Coconut Palace is a Philippine Government mansion found on the Cultural Center campus between the Sofitel Plaza and the Folk Arts Theatre. It has been the official residence of the Vice President of the Philippines since 2011. The Coconut Palace is built out of various kinds of Philippine hardwood, coconut shells, and coconut lumber is known as Imelda Madera.

It was commissioned in 1978 by former First Lady Imelda Marcos as a government guest house and offered to PopeJohn Paul II during the Papal visit to the Philippines in 1981 but the Pope refused to stay there because it was too opulent given the level of poverty in the Philippines.


SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH

Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción de María de San Agustín, or San Agustin Church, is a Roman Catholic Church located inside Intramuros in Manila. In 1993, San Agustin Church was chosen by UNESCO as a World Heritage Building. It has also been granted the title Baroque Churches of the Philippines and in 1876 was named a National Historic Landmark.

The San Agustin Church is patterned after some of the magnificent temples built by the Augustinians in Mexico. The present edifice was built in 1587, and completed, together with the monastery, in 1604. The atmosphere is medieval since "both church and monastery symbolize the majesty and equilibrium of a Spanish golden era."

The massive structure of the church is highlighted by the symmetry and splendour of the interiors (painted by two Italians who succeeded in producing trompe l'oeil) – the profile of the mouldings, rosettes and sunken panels which appear as three-dimensional carvings, a baroque pulpit with the native pineapple as a motif, the grand pipe organ, the antechoir with a 16th-century crucifix, the choir seats carved in molave with ivory inlays of the 17th century and the set of 16 huge and beautiful chandeliers from Paris.

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