Home » Blog » BEST THINGS TO DO IN MANILA: ATTRACTIONS, TOURS, AND FOOD

BEST THINGS TO DO IN MANILA: ATTRACTIONS, TOURS, AND FOOD

BEST THINGS TO DO IN MANILA

Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is the centre of the country’s trade and finance. Though not as famous as Siargao, Palawan, or Boracay in terms of tourism, Manila has its fair share of attractions worth visiting.

Attractions

For one, it is home to the very first Chinatown in the world, Binondo, where tourists can satisfy their cravings by sampling a wide array of Chinese-Filipino cuisines. The National Museum is the place to be for visitors who love to learn about natural history, art, and anthropology.

For those who take delight in shopping, Divisoria is a great marketplace to explore, known for its affordable clothing, fashion accessories, and a varied selection of merchandise.

For those looking into checking out the nightlife in Manila, Abraham Tours offers a free pub crawl covering top bars and clubs in Makati. The tour starts at 9:30 PM every Thursday and Sunday.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN MANILA

Intramuros

Intramuros, also known as the Walled City, is a remnant of the country’s colonial past. The Spaniards constructed it, and it served as both the centre of Spanish rule and a fortress to defend Manila from seafaring invaders.

It’s one of the most visited tourist spots in Manila, not just because of its old-world appeal, but also because it highlights how the Spaniards have influenced the culture of the Philippines.

Rizal Park

Locally known as Luneta Park, this 58-hectare park is another attraction in Manila frequented by the locals. The park is a great picnic area because of the trees providing shade from the sun, and the grassy areas where a mat or a cloth can be rolled out.

The park also houses several attractions: the Rizal Monument, which serves as a tribute to the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal; the Independence Flag, which is the country’s tallest flagpole and stands at 45.7 metres (about 150 feet), and other artwork from renowned local artists.

Fort Santiago

Located at one of the corners of Intramuros, Fort Santiago served as a military headquarters of the Spaniards. Visiting this historic spot is one of the best things to do in Manila for people who would like to learn more about Philippine history.

Manila Cathedral

Located within the walls of Intramuros, Manila Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It was built around 1571 as a parish church and later converted into a diocese in 1579. It is the only church in the nation to have received the title of a basilica directly from Pope John Paul II through motu proprio.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN MANILA

The Manila Cathedral

Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene

The Order of Friars Minor missionaries founded the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, also known as Quiapo Church, which houses the Black Nazarene, a black statue of Jesus Christ. The church has gone through historic events, such as being burned by pirates, and natural calamities, and it’s been rebuilt several times.

Today, it is one of the major landmarks in Manila and there are stalls around it that sell various items, such as potions for different illnesses, fortune-telling services, etc.

National Museum of Fine Arts

For those who have a natural affinity towards all things art, visiting the National Museum of Fine Arts is one of the best things to do in Manila. It has hallway exhibitions and 29 galleries that showcase the works of various national artists.

National Museum of Natural History

Another interesting museum to visit in Manila is the National Museum of Natural History. It has 12 galleries about the country’s geological and biological diversity, perfect for travellers who love learning new things.

Tours

Intramuros Free Tour

Abraham offers a tour of Intramuros free of charge. This is a great way to jumpstart your vacation in the Philippines because you’ll get to learn all about the Old Town of Manila.

The tour goes three times a week, every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and takes about 1.5 hours. A friendly, tip-based tour guide will accompany guests as they visit Intramuros, Manila Cathedral, St. Agustin Church, Casa Manila, and Puerto Real Gardens. The free tour doesn’t include food, water, and transportation fees, so it’s recommended that guests bring their own.

Manila City Tour

This is one of the best things to do in Manila because it highlights the city’s history and its top cultural landmarks, such as Intramuros and Binondo, where guests can learn about and experience not just the culture but also the local food scene. Another reason why this tour is great is because guests will not need to worry about getting around because they will be accompanied by a guide, saving guests time and having an overall smooth experience.

The tour takes place three times a week, that is every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and is inclusive of transportation, entrance fees, and food. Bringing cash is recommended for shopping at the marketplace and for buying drinks. Also, valid IDs will be required at some of the tourist attractions, so it’s best to bring one.

Food

Must-try Filipino Street Food

A vacation in the Philippines wouldn’t be complete without sampling the various local delicacies. One of the best ways to really get to know the country is by trying out its street food. Most Filipino street food is meat-based, so vegans and vegetarians should be cautious and ask the vendor first before buying and eating street food.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN MANILA

Most famous street foods every tourist should try:

Kwek-kwek- A deep-fried quail egg covered in orange flour batter, best to eat with vinegar.

Balut- Boiled fertilised duck egg often served with spiced vinegar or salt.

Halo-halo- Meaning mix-mix in English, is a popular Filipino frozen dessert that is a mixture of different fruits, beans, gelatin, etc.

Uber and/or Cheese Ice Cream- A unique root crop native to Southeast Asia, while cheese-flavoured ice cream is something unusual in the West.

Taho- Silken tofu served with caramel syrup and tapioca pearls.

Fishballs/squidballs- Balls made out of fish paste dipped in a special sauce or vinegar.

Lumpiang Shanghai- A local spring roll filled with ground pork or beef.

Lumpiang Gulay– Same as Lumpiang Shanghai, but uses vegetables as filling, typically cabbage, carrots, and bean sprouts.

Turon- Deep-fried plantain banana wrapped in egg wrapper coated in caramel.

Pares- Beef stew served with garlic fried rice.

Ihaw-ihaw– Various grilled meat, such as pork and chicken intestines, chicken feet and head, pig ears, coagulated pork blood, etc.

Join a Filipino Boodle Fight

One of the best things to do in Manila for a full-on Filipino food scene experience is to join a boodle fight, which is a traditional communal way of eating, where a group of people share a meal served in a banana leaf and eat with their bare hands.

The idea of a boodle fight came from the Philippine army, where soldiers gather and share a meal together, an activity that strengthens their camaraderie.

Abraham Tours offers a boodle fight experience where participants will be served authentic Filipino foods and bond with each other, sharing stories or travel tips while eating. Aside from food, what’s included in the package is drinking water and one shot of gin or lambanog-based beverage. Additional alcoholic drinks are not included in the package.

For people with food allergies or vegans, the menu in this package includes fish, vegetables, and chicken and can’t be customised. Also, plastic gloves will be provided for people who are not comfortable eating with their bare hands.

Restaurants to try in Makati

Makati is a very international city and is considered the business centre of Metro Manila. So, if you’re not interested in street food and prefer to go on sit down restaurants, there are a few restaurants in Makati for you to check out,

This list features places where you can find traditional Filipino dishes and also international cuisine such as Japanese, Persian, American, Mexican, and also vegan establishments.

Source: Abrahamtours
Image Source: Abrahamtours