Manila Travel Guide: How to Enjoy Your Stay On The Pearl of the Orient

Busy Streets of Manila
Busy Streets of Manila Image Credit: Momondo

Welcome to Manila, a bustling city filled with rich history and a mix of modern life. As the capital of the Philippines, Manila is like the heart that keeps the country’s past and culture alive.

Let’s take a closer look at some exciting things about this city:

  • Manila was founded in 1571 by Spanish leaders led by Miguel López de Legazpi.
  • People used to call it the “Pearl of the Orient” because it was a significant place for trade.
  • It is home to approximately 14.7 million individuals
  • There are lots of old and essential places here that go back many, many years.

As we dive into this guide, get ready to discover Manila’s charms. From its old buildings to its yummy food, we’ll ensure you have a great time exploring.

Discovering Manila’s Wonders

So, what is there to do in Manila? Here are some of the top things to check out:

1. Historical Landmarks and Cultural Marvels

Philippine Cultural Landmarks
Philippine Cultural Landmarks | Image Credit: Metro News


Intramuros is like a time machine that takes you back to Manila’s old days. It’s surrounded by centuries-old walls and has streets, churches, and buildings that show how the Spanish influenced the city. You can see Fort Santiago, the San Agustin Church, and Casa Manila to get a natural feel for Manila’s past.

Rizal Park

Named after Dr. José Rizal, a revered figure in Philippine history, Rizal Park symbolizes national pride. It’s not just a picnic place but a site of remembrance and celebration, with monuments, fountains, and the Rizal Monument standing tall as a tribute to the country’s national hero.

National Museum

The National Museum is a treasure chest of Filipino history and incredible art. From ancient treasures to new masterpieces, this place preserves and showcases the great stuff about Filipino culture. You’ll feel like you’re getting a big hug from the country’s past.


2. Culinary Delights

Taste the fantastic flavors of Filipino food. Manila has so many delicious dishes like adobo and halo-halo that you must try. Go to places like “Lutong Bahay” or “Carinderia” to taste real Filipino food.

Manila’s streets are buzzing with food stalls selling exotic but yummy things. Places like Mercato Centrale or Quiapo Market have snacks like balut, fish balls, and isaw. These places invite you to try out Manila’s different foods.


3. Vibrant Markets and Shopping Districts

Want to shop till you drop? Go to Divisoria. It’s a crazy busy market where you can find almost anything – clothes, handmade items, you name it! Bargaining is the way to go here, and finding a good deal is all part of the fun.

On the other hand, Greenhills is perfect for people who love to find unique things at reasonable prices. From jewelry to new gadgets, this place is a hidden treasure. It’s a lively place where you can enjoy Manila’s shopping scene.


4. Natural Beauty Amidst Urbanity

Natural Beauty Amidst Urbanity
Natural Beauty Amidst Urbanity | Image Credit: Booking

When the day ends, Manila Bay becomes a stunning place to watch the sunset. Head to the baywalk or take a calm cruise to see the sky turning orange and gold, a beautiful end to your day.

But in the middle of all the city’s hustle, Manila also has peaceful spots like La Mesa Ecopark and Ayala Triangle Gardens. These green places are like a breath of fresh air, where you can relax, walk around beautiful gardens, and enjoy nature in the city.

Practical Tips for an Enjoyable Stay

Below are four tips to enjoy your stay in the city of Manila:

Tip 1. Navigating Transportation

Jeepney of Manila
Jeepney of Manila | Image Credit: 123rf

Manila offers a diverse range of transportation options. Jeepneys and tricycles, iconic modes of Filipino transport, provide an authentic experience navigating the city’s streets. The Light and Metro Rail Transit systems(MRT and LRT) offer efficient connections across key areas, making them convenient for travelers exploring different parts of Manila.

Opting for ride-hailing apps like Grab and Angkas provides convenience and security, especially for travelers unfamiliar with Manila’s routes. These apps offer a reliable means of transport, allowing you to navigate the city while ensuring a safer travel experience.

Tip 2. Accommodation Recommendations

Manila boasts diverse neighborhoods catering to varying preferences. Intramuros and Ermita offer historical immersion, while Makati and BGC (Bonifacio Global City) boast modern amenities and a bustling nightlife. Quezon City provides a mix of urban comforts and cultural attractions. Choose accommodations that align with your travel intentions, whether you are seeking historical immersion, luxury, or convenience.

Manila also accommodates a wide range of budgets, from budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses to lavish hotels and serviced apartments. Consider places like Makati Shangri-La, The Peninsula Manila, or Casa Bocobo Hotel, each offering unique experiences tailored to different preferences and budgets.

Tip 3. Safety and Cultural Etiquette

Respect for local customs is pivotal in Manila. Greet locals with a warm “Kamusta?” (How are you?) and embrace the Filipino tradition of “Mano po” to show respect for elders. Avoid pointing using your fingers, as it may be considered impolite, and always seek permission before taking photos, especially on religious sites.

While Manila is generally safe, exercise caution in crowded areas and be mindful of your belongings. Avoid displaying valuables openly and use reputable transportation options. Moreover, stay updated on local news and follow advisories to ensure a secure and pleasant stay.


Tip 4. Insider’s Insights

Festivals in Manila
Festivals in Manila | Image Credit: Guide Tour

Unlock the city’s hidden gems by exploring offbeat attractions. From the serene Paco Park to the quirky Escolta Street filled with vintage charm, Manila is brimming with lesser-known spots awaiting discovery. Engage with locals or seek advice from seasoned travelers for unique experiences beyond the conventional tourist spots.

Manila’s calendar is also adorned with vibrant celebrations. Experience the grandeur of the Aliwan Fiesta or the elaborate parades during the Feast of the Black Nazarene. These festivities allow you to embrace the city’s exuberant spirit and cultural richness.

Tip 5. Crafting Memorable Experiences Through Vlogging

To truly capture the spirit of Manila in your vlogs, show its different places, cultures, and cool stuff. Use your camera, video editor, and audio joiner tools to make awesome videos that make people feel like they’re in the city with you. Share your adventures exploring all the exciting spots and telling a great story that makes Manila seem impressive.

Make your vlogs even better by adding Filipino music or tunes that match Manila’s energetic vibe. Using an audio editor online, mix the right songs to make your Manila journey feel even more exciting. Music can bring out the best of your Manila adventures, making your videos fun for everyone watching.

Embrace Sustainable Tourism

Please consider the following when visiting the city:

Manila actively engages in environmental preservation initiatives. The city is committed to biodiversity conservation, which is evident in projects like the Arroceros Forest Park rehabilitation and the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program, aiming to restore and protect critical ecosystems.

Engaging with local communities is also essential for sustainable travel. Supporting small businesses, purchasing local crafts, and participating in community-led tours enriches your travel experience and contributes directly to the local economy, empowering communities and cultivating sustainable growth.

Manila has been advocating for waste management and reduction programs. From waste segregation campaigns to eco-bricking initiatives, various community-led efforts aim to minimize waste and promote recycling, ensuring a cleaner and greener environment.

Opting for responsible tour operators committed to sustainability is also essential. Choose operators who prioritize eco-friendly practices, respect cultural heritage, and contribute positively to local communities. Supporting these operators promotes ethical tourism, preserving destinations for future generations.

Final Thoughts

Manila is a city of diverse treasures, inviting travelers to explore its historical, cultural, and natural wonders. Embracing its beauty and diversity enriches one’s travel experience and creates a deeper bond with the Pearl of the Orient.

This comprehensive guide provides:

  • Insights into Manila’s rich heritage and vibrant culture.
  • Practical tips for travelers.
  • A call to embrace sustainable tourism practices.

By experiencing Manila responsibly, respecting its culture, and contributing positively to its conservation, each traveler becomes integral to preserving the city’s charm for future generations.

Join us in cherishing and safeguarding Manila’s allure while savoring its enriching experiences. Experience, appreciate, and contribute to sustainable and responsible travel practices, ensuring a brighter and more vibrant future for Manila and its visitors.