Manila

Travel Guide
Baywalk showing boating, a bay or harbour and a city

From the hectic pace of its high-rise business district to the tranquillity of its flower-filled parks, Manila is a city of strong contrasts.

Vast and sprawling, Manila at first sight can be daunting. One of the largest cities in the world and still growing, this metropolis of sixteen towns seems impossible to navigate. With no obvious centre, the new visitor can find themselves bewildered by the crowded streets, dense traffic and frantic pace. But spend a little time among its friendly people, learn a little of its fascinating but volatile history, and its charms will soon get under your skin.

Manila has been under occupation by the Spanish, British, Japanese and Americans, and has been destroyed many times by natural disasters including fires and earthquakes. More recently, the tragic devastation wrought by bombing raids during the Second World War brought the city to its knees. Now, thanks to an ambitious programme of reconstruction, many of the city’s historic buildings have been preserved for posterity.

Intramuros is the oldest area and one of the main focuses for tourism. This ancient walled city is surrounded by sturdy fortifications built by the Spanish in the 16th century to repel hostile invaders. Most of the walls were left in ruins by wartime bombing, but the remaining parts have been sympathetically restored. Follow the walkways to the Baluarte de San Andres and the Baluarte de San Diego to appreciate their strategic position overlooking Manila Bay and the Pasig river. Nearby Fort Santiago houses the Rizal Shrine, dedicated to national hero Dr José Rizal, who lost his life in the struggle for independence. See the place of his execution in Rizal Park, one of the largest recreational spaces in Asia.

Learn about the fascinating archaeology and anthropology of the region in the National Museum of the Filipino People, or visit Casa Manila Museum for a close-up view of the domestic life of an affluent Filipino family during the colonial era. Believers and non-believers alike can’t fail to be moved by the sight of faithful pilgrims flocking to Quiapo Church to pray to the Black Nazarene, one of the most important icons in the country. Take time to visit Manila Cathedral, still proudly serving the Catholic community despite being destroyed many times.

Getting around on foot is hard in this huge metropolis, but taxis are cheap and plentiful and the light rail links most of the main sites. For the authentic Manila experience, hop on a colourful jeepney and hold on tight!

Where to stay in Manila

Kabayan Hotel
Kabayan Hotel
2.5 out of 5
347 EDSA, Pasay
The price is AU$65 per night from 17 Oct. to 17 Oct.
Located in the heart of Pasay, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Department of Foreign Affairs, SMX Convention Center and SM Mall of Asia. World Trade Center ...
3.7/5Good! (988 reviews)
"You will love to stay in their newly renovated building. The staff was all attending to your needs right away, very friendly and courteous! Actually, I am already recommending Kabayan Hotel to my friends who are also planning to visit the Philippines."

Reviewed on 17 Sep. 2021

Kabayan Hotel
Dusit Thani Manila
Dusit Thani Manila
5 out of 5
Arnaiz Ave, Ayala Center, Makati, Manila
The price is AU$140 per night from 18 Oct. to 18 Oct.
This family-friendly Makati hotel is located near the airport, within a 5-minute walk of SM Makati and Glorietta Mall. Ayala Center and Ayala Museum are also ...
4.3/5Excellent! (1,061 reviews)
"Excellent! Service was great. Room was wonderful and very clean."

Reviewed on 22 Sep. 2021

Dusit Thani Manila
The Mini Suites - Eton Tower Makati
The Mini Suites - Eton Tower Makati
3 out of 5
128 Dela Rosa St., Ayala South, Makati, NCR
The price is AU$86 per night from 8 Oct. to 8 Oct.
Located in Legazpi Village, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Makati Medical Center and RCBC Plaza. Greenbelt Shopping Mall and Ayala Center are also ...
3.9/5Good! (770 reviews)
"Good customer service."

Reviewed on 24 Jul. 2021

The Mini Suites - Eton Tower Makati
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
JMM Grand Suites
JMM Grand Suites
3 out of 5
1622 Jorge Bocobo Street, Manila, Manila
The price is AU$70 per night from 8 Oct. to 8 Oct.
Located in Malate, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Robinson's Place and Manila Bay. Philippine International Convention Center and Quiapo Church ...
3.6/5Good! (405 reviews)
"Amazingly friendly staff. Love staying here."

Reviewed on 22 Sep. 2021

JMM Grand Suites
Gotophi at One Uptown Residence
Gotophi at One Uptown Residence
3 out of 5
36th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Located in Bonifacio Global City, this condo is within a 15-minute walk of Uptown Parade and St Luke's Medical Center Global City. Fort Bonifacio and SM Makati ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (11 reviews)
"Overall our stay was satisfactory. Pros:-rooms and area where clean - condo was in vicinity of upscale mall, restaurants and grocery store. -"

Reviewed on 1 Mar. 2020

Gotophi at One Uptown Residence
Y2 Residence Hotel
Y2 Residence Hotel
3.5 out of 5
4687 Santiago St., Corner B. Valdez And Singian Street, Makati, Manila
Located in Makati Downtown, this aparthotel is within a 15-minute walk of Makati Museum and Power Plant Mall. Makati Stock Exchange and Ayala Center are also ...
4/5Very Good! (407 reviews)
"Very nice modern room with a full kitchen at a very reasonable price. I got the food plan and it was substandard - lots of rice for all meals and small portions of meat. But the price and location were great for quarrantine."

Reviewed on 22 May 2021

Y2 Residence Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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