Manila has the infamous reputation of just being a stop over. Foreign tourists who has no business in Manila opt to stay for a night to rest and fly out first thing the following day. Most traveler thinks that Manila is some sterile place where you got nothing to do, nothing to see and nothing to taste or experience.
The metropolis can be a bit too western for some people. Even some Youtubers that I follow say that a lot of places in Manila remind them of their own countries. Some say that Manila’s food taste very much like the west (for western food) giving them a homey feel. Some just find the metropolis a good place to party, well it is.
But beyond that there’s a lot more to see in Manila, specially the city it self. Here are some reasons why you should include Manila in your itinerary more than just a stop over.
Here’s A quick itinerary to help you get to know Manila a bit better
The city inside the walls during the Spanish colonial times offers a glimpse of what city life was during the time of the first colonizers. They built this walled city to protect them from attacks of Moros and making sure the Chinese settlers are checked in. The city used to host about 8 churches with only one spared from World War 2. The Manila Cathedral on the other hand was rebuilt after the war making it one of the 2 churches standing inside the walls.
National Museum of Fine Arts & Natural History
With the national government opening up the National Museums throughout the country to a greater audience by providing them free access, museums have now become a go to place for many people. Aside from the National Museum of Fine Arts that is housed in the beautiful Old Congress building, the newly renovated former tourism building now houses the National Museum for Natural History.
Sta. Cruz – Binondo
Fine I am biased, I freaking love this district. This section of Manila hosts to the oldest china town in the world across the river from the old Spanish walled city of Intramuros. Go on a food adventure with Chinese cuisines some staying true to its origins while others adapting to the Filipino palate.
Bonifacio Global City
The newest district in the Metropolis, The Bonifacio Global City or BGC as many call it, is a world of its own. The entire district was a former military base that was redeveloped to become a premier business district. Coming to BGC simply makes you feel being instantly transported to another world. If you are a westerner and you feel a bit home sick, this is the perfect place to gain back your sanity.
Metro Manila actually is a great place to shop. The metropolis has a plethora of malls that have become as a communal space for the community to gather. Malls not only have shops but also churches, playgrounds and other activities to spend time with people.
Up Town Manila
Visit the Cultural Center of the Philippines at the Up Town area of Manila. The center which is a complex of theaters was built during the Marcos era to showcase the richness of the Filipino culture. Like what its founder’s words are, the center is the home of Filipinos Culture. Watch plays and art exhibits or just be amazed at the beautiful architecture of the buildings in the complex.
Also found in the Up Town district is the Luneta Park. The biggest park in Southeast Asia is actually patterned after the Mall in Washington DC. The park was part of the city’s former chief architect, Daniel Burnham’s City Beautiful projects around the world. source
Aside from these there are a host of food destinations around the metro if you’d like to have a taste of what the usual metropolitan food is in Manila. There are other off the beaten path destinations in the city but these are probably the basic destinations that may give you a good grasp of how life in Manila is.
Have you ever been in Manila? What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?