You won’t be lonely in Manila; the capital of the Philippines is part of a huge metro area with more than 20 million people. And you won’t be bored in Manila, either.
The city boasts a modern skyline and churches dating from the 1500’s; late night discotheques and inviting parks with lush, tropical vistas; living museums for marine mammals as well as World War II shrines.
The most popular tourist areas are the districts of Binondo, Ermita and Malate plus the Old Walled City of Intramuros.
Flights to Manila
Flying in and out of Manila is relatively simple, and finding cheap flights to Manila is easy, too.
Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL): This airport is served by Delta, Hawaiian and a host of carriers from Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. It also has flights on regional carriers that travel throughout the Philippines.
Attractions in Manila
In a region of 20 million inhabitants, you’d better believe there’s a lot to do, and here’s just a sample. See the links below for more, or ask one of Manila’s friendly residents; chances are, they will speak English.
Rizal Park – Sometimes referred to by locals by its original name, Luneta Park, it is named for a 19th century patriot; tour the gardens and fountains, see the light-and-sound show, or get a taste of native cuisine at one of the many food kiosks. Also a great place for concerts.
Malacanang Palace – Built in the 1700’s, the palace is the official residence of the President of the Philippines; you can tour some of this great complex and view the museum of presidential memorabilia. Exhibits include a gown worn by Imelda Marcos (but apparently her fabled 1,500 pairs of shoes are not on display).
San Augustin Church – This 16th century European-style stone church has survived earthquakes and world wars and is now a World Heritage Site. Look for the magnificent murals and intricate carvings.
Shopping and Restaurants in Manila
Dining: Excellent Asian cuisine, including many “fusion” style dishes with European and American influences; don’t miss the fresh seafood.
Shopping: Specialties here include South Sea pearls, beautifully crafted coral, hand-woven cloth and fine embroidery, plus haute couture and native artwork made from shell, wood and stone.
Visit the U.S. State Department’s “country specific information” section for the Philippines, where you’ll find embassy contacts, visa/passport requirements, and tons of practical tips for tourists on everything from transportation to safety concerns. The comprehensive guide is available at Travel.State.Gov.
More Information on Manila
Philippine Tourism – The official website for tourism includes destinations, attractions, lists of festivals and more, as well as some very pretty pictures.
Manila Tourism – This guide features restaurants, hotels, museums, wildlife and amusement parks.
Lonely Planet’s Manila – Everything from historical sites to which neighborhoods to explore plus practical tips for tourists.