Manila is an expansive metropolis packed with modern attractions for every taste and interest, as well as heritage sites like Intramuros – its famed walled city.
The National Museum Complex is a vast space comprising four main complexes that houses collections ranging from fine arts to cultural history, and the National Planetarium is there too! Astronomy enthusiasts will delight in the real-life presentations and displays offered there. Several Cathay Pacific flights can be accessed now, including Toronto to Manila.
National Museum Complex
Visiting Manila as a history enthusiast should start at the National Museum Complex. Set within Intramuros – Manila’s walled city – and offering numerous historical monuments, the Rizal Monument holds Jose Rizal’s remains at its base; visitors will also have the opportunity to see two beautiful gardens, statues of other national heroes and Manila’s very own Kilometer Zero!
This magnificent Neoclassical building houses this sprawling museum which showcases both ancient and contemporary relics from Filipino culture, art and history. Boasting 60 breathtaking dioramas which perfectly and pictorially portray its illustrious past, this museum presents all-round greatness for visitors to enjoy.
Highlights of this museum include pre-Hispanic gold jewelry, stunning textile collections, and changing art exhibits. As one of Asia’s finest museums, this one-stop destination should not be missed by those interested in Filipino culture and history.
Attractions at the National Museum Complex include Ayala Museum. Situated nearby Greenbelt Mall in Makati, this glittering museum is famed for exhibiting historical, artistic, and cultural relics from Philippine history and culture on four floors of display space.
Manila Ocean Park, a marine-themed aquarium, is one of the city’s hidden treasures. Tucked behind Quirino Grandstand and adjacent to Rizal Park, this oceanarium houses over 13000 sea creatures from 277 species – you can get up close by crawling through their 25-meter glass tunnel, or don a mermaid suit to fully enjoy this experience!
Are you searching for an exciting family outing? Visit the Manila Zoo – one of Manila’s most beloved spots and home to Bengal Tigers, Hippopotamuses, Malayan Civets, Monitor Lizards and much more. Additionally, this zoo boasts its renowned Botanical Garden and Arboretum where visitors can see many varieties of plants that showcase Philippine ecology and discover more.
Intramuros is the historic heart of Manila and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasting restored colonial houses that serve as museums, old churches and parks as well as several notable landmarks – San Agustin Church being one such landmark whose five hundred year history has witnessed many wars across its grounds.
History buffs and architecture enthusiasts should also visit this destination, with its intact city walls still offering panoramic views across gardens, plazas and fountains. There are also several restaurants and bars inside its walls offering food and drink to complement the views while taking in all that nature has to offer.
Intramuros can be explored via several means, from guided walking tours with Old Manila Walks and bamboo bike tours, to simply wandering aimlessly on foot or taking a kalesa (horse-drawn carriage).
If you want a break from city life, Intramuros offers two hotels – White Knight Hotel and Bayleaf Hotel – where rooms start from around $50 per night.
Culture-seekers can visit the Plaza San Luis Complex, an urban and cultural hub of Manila that houses historical sites as well as an authentic Filipino restaurant serving traditional Filipino fare. Additionally, this complex hosts the Modern Manilena exhibition, which depicts women’s cultural struggles through art and fashion in the Philippines.
Casa Manila is the newest addition to Plaza San Luis Complex and a three-story museum that depicts life under Spanish occupation. Recently opened in May 2019, this must-see spot for art enthusiasts and history lovers alike.
Intramuros is a reminder of Philippine history and beauty can still exist despite its bloody past. No matter your artistic, historical, or simply relaxing interests are, visiting Intramuros makes for a memorable travel experience in Manila! So plan a day trip or longer stay to enjoy this travel attraction!
Manila Ocean Park
Manila Ocean Park is one of the Philippines’ premiere marine-themed parks. Situated behind Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, this spectacular attraction features a mammoth glass tunnel through which marine creatures swim above, alongside, and right under you! Additionally, there are various exhibits and activities – from mind-boggling shark encounters to fascinating neon rides – available. Whether you want an Instagrammable experience or need a break from city life altogether, Manila Ocean Park makes for a fantastic visit.
The National Museum Complex in Intramuros comprises three magnificent buildings that exhibit stunning aspects of Philippine history, culture, and art. Not to be missed for history lovers are the National Museums of Anthropology, Fine Arts, and Natural History as they provide unparalleled perspectives of Philippine life and art history. Fort Santiago should not be missed either; constructed with exquisite Spanish colonial architecture it holds numerous cultural and historical treasures as well as stunning sights to see.
Bonifacio Global City, or BGC, is an iconic shopping, tourism, and entertainment hub located within Metro Manila. Renowned for its luxurious malls, global restaurants, cocktail bars, hip cafes, popular nightclubs and thriving industries; Bonifacio Global City should be visited by any tourist visiting Manila looking for fun, exciting and unique activities to do during their trip.
The Ayala Museum in the Philippines is an esteemed venue that provides an in-depth glimpse into contemporary and ancient Filipino culture, art, and history. Boasting over 60 magnificent dioramas that efficiently and picturesquely chronicle our nation’s past events and figures – it makes an excellent destination for history buffs or those interested in Philippine culture!
Binondo Street in Manila offers an escape from city life at Binondo Street’s World’s Oldest Chinatown and features markets selling everything from goldsmiths and cozy bakeries, incense sticks, tea houses and incense sticks. Plus it provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in Philippine culture – history, art, cuisine etc!
Are you an art and history enthusiast? Spend an enjoyable day visiting the National Museum Complex! There, you’ll discover stunning masterpieces by classical and contemporary Filipino artists like Juan Luna, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo and Guillermo Tolentino – not to mention historical treasures and cultural exhibits from throughout time!
Intramuros is one of the city’s most beloved and historic areas to explore, dating back to Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines. You can take a walk through its cobbled streets, explore different museums and monuments as well as see old Spanish homes dotted around.
There are also a few restaurants, coffee shops and bars located here, making this an excellent place to spend an afternoon or evening with family and friends – and entry and tour is completely free of charge!
Greenbelt Chapel, situated within Ayala Center and known as an attractive destination for both locals and tourists, provides the ideal escape from urban living – both locally and tourist alike! Nestled amidst green plants, tranquil ponds, and stunning sculptures. It provides an idyllic escape from city life as well as offering photo-ops as the world’s first “selfie museum!”
Lakbay Museo offers an immersive way to experience Manila’s history through interactive exhibitions. Visitors can visit each region in the Philippines while experiencing their culture, food, and traditions – and try on traditional clothing woven by different ethnic and indigenous groups of Filipinos!
This museum was created on a foundation of environmental conservation, with nearly all exhibits constructed using recycled materials. You can enter by taking a Vinta ride, riding on an iconic Filipino jeepney or by climbing an airplane display that slides open just for you – an all-in-one experience that is both educational and enjoyable for the whole family.