Top Five Attractions in the Historic City of Manila


Some things are just too hard to narrow down to the top. Picking the top five attractions in the city of Manila is like trying to pick the five hottest destinations in the Philippines. What I mean is that you start with a huge number of destinations and you are able to narrow it down to perhaps just a few dozens, then you add in some eliminating criteria and maybe you have a dozen, after that you do the interviews and you find yourself down to ten or so and from then on….it’s all just a matter of taste.

Manila City Hall
Manila City Hall

The attractions in Manila that get top honors are difficult to pin down in a list that suits everyone. The following five attractions are my pick for a general audience. If you have specific interests or desires, this list may not reflect the very best for you, but one thing for sure. There is something for everyone here.

Manila Old Churches
Binondo Church

Whether you are looking for architecture, great views of Manila Bay, or history, you will find all of them in plenty in Manila. This is one of the busiest cities in the world and you won’t regret a visit to this thriving contemporary city for a second. Since it was established in the 16th Century the city has been dominated by the my number one pick:

Roxas Boulevard
Roxas Boulevard

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1) Roxas Boulevard is the second must see in Manila. Formerly known as Dewey Boulevard, this famous road with it’s parks and yachts is the prime spot for strolling lovers, watching sunsets, and getting amazing views of Manila Bay. The tall coconut trees lining Roxas feel like they are part of a movie set, but they are real.

Rizal Monument in Rizal Park
Rizal Monument in Rizal Park (courtesy of Wikipedia)

2) Stopping at our second highlight, we find ourselves in Rizal Park, named after the Filipino visionary who created national movements under the Spanish and who is honored with a massive bronze and granite statue inside the park which bears his name. Take the time to enjoy the cool breezes that come off the Bay of Manila while you are here.

fort santiago manila
Fort Santiago in Intramuros

3) Intramuros- the old city fortress walls which run along the Pasig River’s southern bank. Inside Intramuros are a number of ancient defense towers, palaces, and other examples of fine Spanish architecture. These include Baluarte San Diego, Postigo Del Placioa, and Fort Santiago which houses a museum.

Manila Cathedral in Intramuros
Manila Cathedral in Intramuros (Photo Courtesy of

4) Another mighty memorial you should take the time to see is the Manila Cathedral. Like the other churches in the Philippines, you will find this a place where history comes to life and the nearly Quiapo Church holds a precious artifact that many Filipinos make huge pilgrimages to see, the famed Black Nazarene statue of Jesus H Christ which is said to have the powers to heal the sick or help answer prayers.

Binondo Manila
Binondo Manila

5) Finally, no visit to Manila is complete without a visit to Binondo or what we usually call China Town. In Binondo, you can walk around Carvajal street to find homegrown and imported fruits and vegetables. There are numerous Chinese Restaurants in the area if you want a short Binondo Food Tour. You can also have a short stop in Binondo Church – one of the oldest church in Manila.

Just a few blocks from Binondo Church, you can find numerous Shopping Malls that sells everything under the sun for cheap cheap price.

With so many things to do and see in Manila, A day may not be enough but believe me, you can visit all five destinations that I have enumerated if you can really manage your time. This post is’s contribution to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for the month of March 2011 with the theme Best One Day Itineraries.

Compilation hosted by Karlo de Leon of 4am Chronicles.


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