A Weekend Guide to Manila, Philippines

Travel Guide - Travel experiences in Manila, Philippines

Manila is a stunning tourist destination. Being the country’s capital city, Manila is a perfect representation of everything good that the Philippines has to offer. 

It has a perfect blend of cultural attractions and impressive landmarks that make your visit to the city unforgettable, even if brief. 

With everything there is to experience and do in the city, visiting it for the first time can be overwhelming, especially if you find yourself running short on time, and that is where a good travel guide can make your trip worth its while. 

How And When To Get To Manila?

Manila experiences quite a consistent climate throughout the year; therefore, it’s usually relatively easy to nail the timing of your trip. However, the peak seasons typically have a lot more tourists, and the prices of tourist commodities experience quite an increase compared to the off-scene season. 

Being the country’s capital, Manila is an economic hub which means it’s densely populated all year round, and the influx of tourists in the peak seasons (from March to May) can be a little overbearing. On the other hand, the off-peak seasons (from June to mid-August) usually have high humidity and frequent rainfall. 

The best time to visit Manila is somewhere in between, for example, November-December when the rains slow down and the number of tourists isn’t that high. 

As for getting there, the best way to save energy for your weekend excursion into the city is to fly into Manila. Being the hub of the country, you can fly into Manila using any major airline, like Cathay Pacific, from almost every major city in the world, let’s say Auckland.  

What Are The Best Things To Do And Places To Visit In Manila? 

  1. Decide Where To Stay

If it’s still your first time visiting Manila, you might get surprised by how vast it actually is. There are 16 districts in Manila, each with its unique flavor, making it a bit difficult to find the right place to stay. 

You can splurge a little and find luxury hotels for yourself, or you could go towards a more travel-oriented approach and choose a location at the heart of the city. You can reside at the Manila Hotel for the former, whereas the Manila-Z Hostel, at the center of the city, would be a perfect choice for the latter. Also, suppose you’d prefer to take a much more humble approach. In that case, you can opt for OYO 179 Aguados Place, the ideal budget accommodation for travelers equipped with a nearby metro for easy accessibility. 

  1. Experience The History For Yourself

At the core of Manila is Intramuros, the walled city. It is the oldest and perhaps also the most historic area in the region. A tour of Intramuros is a must for every traveler that wants to have a taste of the city’s history over the years. The walled city has many fantastic attractions to offer history lovers, such as the architectural remains and the monuments left behind after the Spanish era, such as the Fort Santiago, San Agustin Church, the Manila Cathedral, the Casa Manila, and many more. 

  1. Take A Trip To Rizal Park

Rizal Park lies at the center of the city. It was built as a homage to the national hero of the Philippines, Jose Rizal. The park has a lot to offer. It is full of large stadiums, playgrounds, air concert halls, gardens, food kiosks, shops, observatories, fountains, and historical monuments.

The destination is a favorite for locals and travelers alike and has a lot of historical significance. 

  1. Taste The Culture At Binondo

While Binondo is also another equally important historical site in Manila, the main reason for its significance lies somewhere else, food. Binondo can be dated to 1954 and is considered by many to be the first Chinatown to exist in the world. 

The place is full of budget-friendly and traditional street-side shops, bakeries, and small homely joints that offer many Chinese delicacies with an authentic taste like oyster cake, lumpia stir fry tofu, and kampong. A great way to experience the best of what Binondo has to offer is to join a local walking and food trip in the area. 

Aside from the food, you can also pay a visit to Escolta and the Binondo Church, which was built back in 1596 (for Chinese colonists who converted to Christianity).

  1. Get To Shopping In Manila

Manila is diverse when it comes to its shopping options. It has a multitude of malls offering both international and local cultural products. The best part about the shopping malls in Manila is that you splurge and save as much as you want, depending on your mood. The best attractions for shopping in Manila include the Greenhills Shopping Center, the SM Mega Mall, and the SM Mall of Asia. 

You can also visit weekend markets like Legazpi and Salcedo markets to take a look at authentic locally made products and cuisine. 

  1. Visit The Ocean Park

Manila’s Ocean park is termed the “the most fun and fascinating” attraction within the city. The park has more than 1300 oceanic animals of more than 277 different species. Not only is it a great place to sightsee, but it’s also the perfect destination to gain more knowledge. 

  1. Admire the Malacañang Palace

Visiting Malacañang Palace is perhaps one of the essential highlights of a trip to Manila. The palace has had a long history and is beautifully constructed. The palace was built around 1750, and in 1825 it was even a summer house for the acting Spanish Governor-General. 

The Malacañang Palace has housed a majority of the Filipino presidents up to date and is still used as the office of the current president in charge. While a vast majority of the Malacañang is not open to the public due to this reason, you can still admire its stunning architecture full of glimmering wooden floors and capiz windows (windows made out of oyster shells), and crystal chandeliers.

In the palace, the main attraction open to tourists and visitors is the Malacañang Museum which has a stunning memorabilia collection of over 16 Filipino presidents, with the earliest dating all the way back to 1899. 



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