Manila remains as one of my most favorite cities in the Philippines. Despite the modernization and the ravages of times, it was able to retain its old world charm and distinction like a dignified nobleman. Set against the striking Manila Bay and its breathtaking sunset, Manila is a destination that is hard to forget, whether you love it or you loathe it. Personally, I think there is more to adore than to hate in Manila.
If you plan a trip to Manila, here are some information on tourist spots, things to do, and attractions to visit that might be of help to you. The City of Manila is easily accessible because of its proximity to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. For those coming from nearby provinces, Manila can be easily reached via bus, jeepneys, ferries, and passenger vans.
Top Things to do in Manila
If it’s your first time in Manila, the best way to explore it is to join a walking tour where guides will take you around the city’s oldest streets and heritage sites. Some operators would even include food tours in their packages to allow guests to sample traditional fares and heritage cuisines offered by historic restaurants. Alternatively, you may hire a horse-drawn coach to take you around Intramuros and Roxas Boulevard for a glimpse of Manila Bay.
Here are five destinations recommended for you if you would like to have a quick look of how it is to be in Manila:
One of my most favorite places in Manila is Intramuros. It’s a walled settlement built during the Spanish era. Intramuros is also the original site of old Manila, a pre-Spanish period Tagalog colony along the banks of Pasig River. The land was bequeathed by the former native rulers to the Spaniards and eventually became the seat of education, government and religion during the Spanish colonial era. The wall was constructed to protect the city from natural disasters as well as attacks from pirates and other invaders.
Things to do in Intramuros:
• Visit the Manila Cathedral
• Visit San Agustin Church and San Agustin Museum
• Stroll around Fort Santiago
• Take a peek of Baluarte de San Diego
2. Manila Ocean Park
Address: Behind Quirino Grandstand, Ermita, Manila
Manila Ocean Park is a premier oceanarium located behind Quirino Grandstand. It is frequented by schools for their educational tours, so expect a lot of pupils even on weekdays, but it also welcomes curious individuals who would like to take a glimpse of what the deep waters hold as well as the beautiful sea creatures that inhabit the ocean.
It serves as home to around 14,000 sea creatures found in the Philippines as well as in Southeast Asia. Manila Ocean Park is regarded as the pioneering and the biggest aquarium facility in the Philippines and one of the best in the world.
Manila Ocean Park is a family-friendly destination. We have been to Manila Ocean Park in 2015 and we completely enjoyed our adventure; it was an educational yet fun way to spend the day.
Also read: Away for the weekend: Manila Ocean Park
Things to see at Manila Ocean Park:
• Sharks & rays encounter
• Trails to antarctica
• Aquanaut voyage
• The barnyard
• Jellies exhibit
• Fish spa
• Symphony evening show
• Sea lion show
• All star bird show
• Penguin talk show
• Supertoy collection
• Birds of prey kingdom
• World of creepy crawlies
• The birdhouse
• Augmented reality encounter
• Neon rides
• Mermaid swim experience
3. Star City
Address: Vicente Sotto St, Pasay City, Metro Manila
Star City is possibly one of the most iconic landmarks in Manila. Ask anybody from Manila to name a theme park and Star City would easily come to mind. This theme park is a favorite weekend destination among families and group of friends. Technically, Star City is located in Pasay City but it is very near the Pasay-Manila border so you do not have to travel too far if you are already in Manila. Star City features a number of indoor and outdoor rides and attractions that are sure to keep visitors thrilled and lively throughout the day.
Things to try at Star City:
• Extreme Rides
• Family Rides
• Kiddie Rides
• Teen and Adult Rides
4. Manila Bay Cruise
Terminal address: Esplanade Seaside Terminal, Seaside Boulevard, SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Complex, Pasay City, Metro Manila
Many people may not admit it but Manila Bay is quite a romantic backdrop. Coupled with a view of the setting sun, it’s an artwork that will remain indelible in the mind of a beholder. However, a cruise at Manila Bay with a dinner buffet and a stunning view of the Manila skyline at night raises the romantic mood on a higher level.
Things to keep in mind:
• Book your ticket ahead
• Pregnant mothers are not allowed to go on a cruise for their safety
• Children below two years old are free of charge
• The cruise is an hour and a half
• There is live entertainment aboard the vessel
5. The Dessert Museum
Address: Unit 124, 126, 127a, S. Maison, Coral Way, Conrad Hotel Manila, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, Metro Manila
The Dessert Museum is one of the latest attractions to take Manila by storm. Located in the SM Mall of Asia complex, it is best described as heaven for dessert lovers or those with sweet tooth. The Dessert Museum consists of eight themed rooms, all filled with various desserts. Aside from having a bite of the goodies in the rooms, guests will also be provided fun facts and information about the featured sweet treats. If you are on the hunt for your next set of Instagram photos, then The Dessert Museum might just be the place that you are looking for.
Things to see at The Dessert Museum:
• Cake pop
• Candy cane
• Cotton candy
• Donut room
• Gum ball
• Gummy bear
• Ice cream
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