What To See And What To Do In Manila

by : Wolfgang Jaegel

The capital city of Philippines, Manila is a metropolitan area, located in the largest island of the country, Luzon, on the eastern part of the Pasig River, near the Manila Bay. Situated about 950 km from Hong Kong, Manila is one of the most tourist destinations in the world, with a spectrum of attractions, ranging from colonial edifices and historical and cultural sites to beautiful parks and interesting museums. Discussed further in this article are some of the most popular tourist destinations in Manila.

Of the attractions of Manila, perhaps most prominent is Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, which stands as a symbol to commemorate those who were perished in the Second World War. Likewise, take a visit to the Chinese Cemetery, spread across 54 hectares of land. History has it that the cemetery was built by two people, Tan Quien Sien and Lim Ong, during the mid-19th century in order to bury the Chinese who were not allowed to bury in Catholic Church. Among the highlights of the cemetery are huge mausoleums and paved paths.

Situated in Binondo, along the northern banks of the Pasig River is Chinatown, which represents the long history of the presence of the Chinese people in the country. Established during the 16th century, Chinatown is the oldest of its kind in the world. A spectrum of items ranging from home accessories and Chinese herbal medicines to superb jewelry and Chinese artifacts can be shopped here.

Another worth visiting destination in Manila is Intramuros, also referred to as the Walled City. Built in 1571 during the period of Spain's colonization in the country, Intramuros's attractions cover an array of European edifices, churches, and colonial style houses.

Intramuros also include a good number of forts and dungeons, of which one of the oldest fortifications is Fort Santiago. Also known as the Shrine of Freedom, Fort Santiago is a ruined ancient Spanish fort, which has been now converted into a park.

During the Second World War, the Japanese used this fort as a prison. A climb to atop of the fort provides you stunning views of the Pasig River. Probably, the greatest of the attractions of the fort is the Rizal Shrine Museum, where items made as well as used by the national hero of the country, Jose Rizal, can be seen. Also, an attraction of the park is a collection of cars owned by previous presidents.

Historical sites in Manila also include San Augustine Church - the oldest church in the city. Constructed in 1586 and completed in 1606, San Augustine is one of the four Baroque churches in the country that has been listed on UNESCO's World Heritage Site. Attractions, among many others, of the church are intricately carved doors, the tombstone on the floorings, 14th century chandeliers, the pulpit, the side chapels, and an 18th century pipe organ.

Other significant historical cum cultural sites in the area are Plaza San Luis, a complex consisting of five houses, namely, Casa Blanca, Casa Manila, Casa Urdaneta, El Hogar Filipino, and Los Hidalgos; and Malacanang Palace - once the summer residence for the Spanish governor-general - now serves as the official residence of the highest chief executive of Philippines.

Also, while your stay at Manila, take a tour to destinations such as Coconut Palace, Manila City Hall, Palacio del Gobernador, Paco Park, Roxas Boulevard, and Quezon Memorial Circle.

A must-see attraction in Manila is the Carfel Seashell Museum, housing an extensive selection of rare seashells collected from across the world. Some of the rarities in the museum are the Cypraea aurantium and Conus gloriamaris.

Manila has something for everyone. For instance, if you are a golf enthusiast, then head to Metro Manila's 11 golfing greens. For those looking for something unique, one of the best options would be to take Jungle Survival Training courses, ranging from basic training programs to advanced level jungle survival programs.

Superb options are also available in the form of the Light and Sound Sculptural Show of Jose Rizal, which is conducted within the Jose Rizal Park. Aside these, Manila boast of some excellent mountaineering areas. Above all, the nightlife in Manila is legendary, with a variety of bars, restaurants, and discotheques that are opened until late night.

With these umpteen attractions and options to enjoy a range of activities, Manila draws people from all around the world. Accommodation options, including hotels, resorts, and private villas, in Manila are designed in such a way that they cater to every type of vacationer, no matter you are budget conscious or a luxury-lover.

There are also some hotels and resorts, providing packages inclusive of accommodation, dining, and other facilities to discover the superb attractions of the place. Nowadays, many of the hotels and resorts provide options to book a hotel room online. For this, all you have to do is to just let them know your likes and preference. Then, wait for a relaxed vacation in this amazing destination.