Manila is the capital city of the Philippines. Its foundation dates back to 1571. Manila is one of the oldest Philippine cities and one of the most popular Asian tourist destinations. It is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

Manila contains several notable tourist destinations, including one UNESCO World Heritage site. No wonder the city gets over 1 million tourists each year. 

If we can describe Manila for you, it will be these words: exquisite, lively, and full of historical heritage. 

Manila City, Philippines

Manila City Hall and the Philippine Flag

Shopping Destinations

Of all the cities in the Philippines, Manila is said to be the place where you can go for a shopping spree! From cheap goods to expensive ones, you’ll surely find everything you need in Manila. Here are some common shopping destinations for tourists: 

1. SM Mall of Asia

SM Mall of Asia, or simply MOA, is recognized to be the 11th largest shopping mall in the world. MOA is not just a typical mall where you see stores, cinemas, and restaurants. Besides these, it also offers the following:

  • an Olympic-sized ice-skating rink, which is probably the biggest in Southeast Asia region
  • Concert grounds which can accommodate about 30,000-80,000 persons (Events held: Katy Perry: The California Dreams Tour, Ed Sheeran, Incubus, Charlie Puth, Kenny Rogers Final World Tour, etc.)
  • a big ferris wheel, “The Mall of Asia Eye”
  • indoor arena, with a capacity of 20,000
  • EXPLOREUM Science Center

2. SM Megamall

SM Megamall was deemed to be 2nd largest mall in the Philippines, and 4th largest mall in the world. It houses 5 big shopping buildings which stands at a land area of about 10 hectares! This mall not only has the usual stores, cinemas, and restaurants, but also it contains office spaces, transport terminals, a government office, and a little bit of everything in between. SM truly upholds its tagline, “We’ve got it all for you.”

3. Greenbelt

Greenbelt is also a famous mall, owned by the elite Ayala family. It is known to be a high-end shopping center that targets elite shoppers. Brands like Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and etc., can be found there. 

Greenbelt is not your usual box-type of mall. It incorporates indoor and outdoor scenery that will make your eyes feel refreshed! With this, the mall garnered awards for being the best shopping center in the Philippines, also their environmental efforts were being recognized.

4. Greenhills Shopping Center

Never leave Manila without trying to shop in Greenhills Shopping Center. Greenhills is richly diverse in terms of shopping, entertainment, and dining experience. Moreover, it hosts a number of bargain stalls, a mix of boutique shops, arcades, cinemas, theatre mall, and a music museum. From the cheapest picks to the most expensive ones, you can find them in here. 

5. Divisoria

How hard is it to think of a business name? Well, it may not be that hard for malls in Divisoria as their malls are named with certain (and maybe significant) numbers! Yes, you read it right. Mall like 168 Mall (oldest and most famous), 999 Mall, Dragon 8 Mall Divisoria, 11/88 Mall can be found in Divisoria.

Divisoria, or Divi is a place where you can score really cheap bargain items. Like Greenhills, Divisoria is also widely diversed when it comes to shopping experience. You can find all that you need in here, (even those that you don’t need)!

Divisoria is one of the most crowded and buzzing areas in Manila because of a ton of sellers who sell cheap items, and buyers who haggle so hard. Tip: When going to Divisoria, always keep an eye on your belongings because a pack of pickpockets, snatchers, and a like are roaming around.

Things To Do In Manila

Manila has a colorful history and culture. Aside from its lovely heritage, there are also popular tourist attractions that you may want to visit. So, we’re listing them out for you:

1. Intramuros

Intramuros is a 64-hectare walled city in Manila. It is one of the most popular and historical attractions in Manila. It houses its one and only UNESCO World Heritage Site, the San Agustin Church, and also a lot of preserved structures and history. If you are up for a heritage walking tour, this will certainly amaze you! Here are the attractions in Intramuros that you shouldn’t miss:

  • Fort Santiago
  • Rizal Shrine
  • Bahay Tsinoy
  • Casa Manila
  • San Agustin Museum
  • Manila Cathedral
  • San Diego Gardens
  • Bagumbayan Light and Sound Museum

Don’t forget to ride a kalesa!



2. Rizal Park

Rizal Park, or also known as the Luneta Park, is one of Manila’s famous historical landmarks. This is a historical landmark because this is where the Philippines’ national hero, Jose Rizal was executed. Trivia: Across the Independence Flagpole is a marker Kilometer Zero (KM 0) that marks the point of origin of all distances in the Philippines.

Rizal Monument at Rizal Park

3. The National Museum

Your Manila trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting the National Museum. The National Museum houses a collection of various historical items that makes the Philippine culture and history colorful.

Famous paintings, pencil and ink sketches, altarpieces, and exotic treasures are just some of the items that you can see at the National Museum. Going to the National Museum will help you understand better the heritage of the Philippines.

The National Museum of the Philippines

The National Museum of the Philippines

4. Manila Ocean Park

Manila also has its fun side! Spare a day and visit the Manila Ocean Park. Here are some activities that you can enjoy:

  • Sharks & Rays Encounter
  • Mermaid Swim Experience
  • Trails to Antarctica
  • Aquanaut Voyage
  • Jellies Exhibit
  • All Star Bird Show
  • Neon Rides
  • and many more…

Treat your family and have fun!

5. Manila Bay

Like any other country, Manila also has a beautiful skyline, and you will appreciate that when you’re looking it from the famous Manila Bay.

It is nice to watch the sunset here. You can also go for a sunset or night dinner cruise on Manila Bay.

Things to do in Manila City_Philippine_PD

6. Malacañang Palace

The Malacañang Palace is the official residence and workplace of the President of the Philippines. There are certain areas that are open to the public. Tours are being organized for those who wants to see and know more about Malacañang, but, prior schedule is needed and standard operating procedures are followed. The following are open areas that tourists can enjoy:

  • Presidential Museum and Library
  • Casa Roces – a Spanish-Filipino cuisine restaurant
  • National Shrine of Saint Michael and the Archangels – a 411-year old Baroque-style church

7. Binondo Chinatown

The Chinatown in Binondo is the world’s oldest Chinatown. This is a classic place in Manila. Best activity to do here? Well, I must say, food hopping. Chinatown is a home for many authentic Chinese food stops. Dong Bei Dumpling, Chinese pancake, and Eng Bee Tin hopia, are just some foods that you can try. 

Binondo, Chinatown

Binondo, Chinatown

8. Quiapo Church

The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, or also known as Quiapo Church, is a prominent basilica in Manila. The basilica is known for the miraculous Black Nazarene. The Black Nazarene has hundreds and thousands of devotees. Don’t get surprised when the church is filled with thousands of people on special and religious occasions.

Quiapo Church

Quiapo Church


Tagaytay, Taal Volcano, Mount Samat National Shrine, Lake Pinatubo, Puerto Galera, Nasugbu, and San Antonio are also famous tourist spots.

If you’re up for some road trip and a different kind of adventure, these places will delight you.

September 14, 2016 6:35 am Published by

Join the Travel Club