Your Guide To: Manila
Manila is the capital city of the Philippines and boasts of an awesome array of commercial and cultural sites and activities. With influences from Asia, Spain, and America, Manila embraces a fusion of past and present while always looking to the future.
Check out our list of the best things to do, the best food to eat, and the best places to stay in Metro Manila!
What to Do?
- Malls, malls, malls – Asia is known for its malls, and Manila does not disappoint. The grand SM Mall of Asia, the fashionable Bonifacio High Street, the cozy Power Plant mall, the modern Greenbelt malls – there are options for whatever style, budget, and experience you’re looking for.
- Intramuros – Literally “within the walls,” Intramuros is the old quarter of Manila and retains the architecture of the Spanish colonial era. Take a walk through the cobbled streets and see traditional horse-drawn kalesas, or rent a bamboo bike to ride around town. Casa Manila, a stunning recreation of a 16th century Filipino aristocratic house, is definitely a must-see!
- Greenhills Shopping Center – Greenhills is a shopping – or should I say bargaining? – mall complex in Manila, filled with rows upon rows (upon rows upon rows) of stalls selling anything from extremely affordable clothes to weird tchotchkes you’d never find anywhere else . If you’re looking for a great bargain, this mall is a must-visit on your list!
- Poblacion Bar Crawl – Looking for something fun to do on Friday night (or any night for that matter)? Take a stroll down Poblacion in Makati and explore all the cool eating spots and holes in the wall. Find delicious comfort food as well as drinks made with tropical Philippines flavors, and experience good vibes all around with friends and locals.
- Ayala Museum – A beautiful showcase of both Philippine historical events and contemporary art. The series of dioramas depicting the entirety of Philippine history is a highlight and definitely worth a visit.
Where to Eat?
- The Lobby at Peninsula Manila – Find delicious comforting food in the lap of luxury. The Lobby at the Peninsula Manila hotel boasts a menu filled with global dishes. Be sure to try out their halo-halo — it’s one of our faves!
- Salcedo Saturday Market – Every Saturday, Salcedo transforms from a park to an outdoor food market. Rows upon rows of food stalls line the area, filled with anything and everything you can think of. Protip: Buy fresh food at the market and find an open bench and table in the park for a delicious morning picnic.
- Alba Restaurante Español – Filipino culture is steeped in Spanish tradition. Don Alba, the founder of Alba Restaurante wanted “to bring to Manila a part of Spain and its cultural history.” Alba is now renowned as the authentic exponent of the best Spanish cuisine in Manila.
- Max’s Fried Chicken – We’re cheating a little bit with this one since it’s a chain, but Max’s Fried Chicken is a staple in every Filipino’s diet. Max’s, also known as “the house that fried chicken built,” serves the most delicious, juicy, and tender fried chicken that you’ll ever have.
- Aristocrat – An oldie but a goodie, the Aristocrat first opened its doors in 1936. More than 80 years later, Aristocrat continues to provide delicious and authentic Filipino comfort food, and remains an icon in Manila’s restaurant scene.
Where to Sleep?
- The Peninsula Manila – Live in luxury at the Peninsula. In the heart of Makati, you’re only a few steps from beautiful commercial and cultural sites. Comfortable rooms, quality services, and delicious cuisine, the Peninsula offers everything you could want from a hotel and more.
- Edsa Shangri-La – A quintessential Manila Hotel, the Edsa Shangri-La is full of luxurious amenities and services. As you can probably guess from the name, Shangri-La is a place to relax and rejuvenate from the hustle and bustle of Manila. And right in the middle of the city, it’s easy to explore the sights and sounds of Manila, and return to the comfort of your hotel room.
- Seda Bonifacio Global City – Located in the Fort, Seda is steps away from Bonifacio High Street, one of the most beautiful and modern shopping districts in Manila. Seda emphasizes the concept of urban lifestyle hotel, combining stellar customer services, exceptional value, and exciting experiences.
And looking for a way to beat the manila heat? Check out this guide for tips and tricks to stay cool in the city.
Do you have any suggestions for what to do, where to eat, or where to sleep? Let us know in the comments below!