Manila, The Philippines: Travel/Tourist Information Guide

Top things to do          Nightlife, Bars & Clubs           Accommodation           Tours & Excursions          Getting around / Transport


Although not a very large city, Manila, capital city of the Philippines, is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It is also one of sixteen cities that make up the National Capital Region known as Metro Manila. Tourism is an important industry for Manila, with over one million tourists visiting the city each year. The hot and humid tropical environment of the city can be quite uncomfortable, but that doesn´t detract from Manila’s many amenities. Avoiding the congested areas and focusing on the places and things that are nearby, enables both residents and visitors to enjoy this city. In fact, Manila’s designation as “Pearl of the Orient” is quite accurate, as it only reveals its jewel to those bold enough to venture deep.

Manila’s features a wide array of attractions from historic landmarks like the walled city of Intramuros, to the modern street markets of Chinatown, or the extravagant Chinese Cemetery. The capital boasts a lively nightlife, with numerous bars and clubs hosting frequent live shows as well as many cultural events including ballet, theater and classical music performances at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The region around Manila offers several nice beaches and many one day trip opportunities.

Accommodation in Manila range mostly between budget and mid-range options, while high-end international chains and business hotels are predominant in Makati. Getting around in the capital of the Philippines is not an easy task. Public transport is cheap, but the infrastructure is highly inadequate with a seemingly perpetual traffic jam throughout the city. Aggressive driving is the norm, so it is not recommended to rent a car, especially since public transport is very cheap.

Petroglyphs discovered near the capital date the earliest evidence of human inhabitants in the region to 3000 BC. The aboriginal negritos people were later assimilated by the migrating Malayo-Polynesians. The Kingdom of Maynila flourished during the 16th century due to direct trade with China. One of the main factors that put Manila on the world map was the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade between the 16th and 19th centuries, which provided the flow of goods between Europe, Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Manila has seen significant development under British, Spanish and American rule, and has seen great devastation during the Japanese invasion in the Second World War. More troubled times followed during the martial law era, up until the Philippine Revolution of 1986, when democracy was reinstated and the city began to recover.