Explore the Capital City of Philippines: Manila Travel Guide

Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is situated on Luzon Island, hugging the shore of Manila Bay along the Pasig River, which divides the city into north and south sections.

Known for its stunning natural landscapes, Manila offers breathtaking valleys, vibrant beaches, and rugged mountain peaks.

The city boasts an array of top-notch attractions, including historical museums like the National Museum Complex, iconic churches like Quiapo Church, the Manila Ocean Park featuring around 270 aquatic species, and the serene Arroceros Forest Park.

Visitors can also partake in various thrilling activities, from shopping for souvenirs at Divisoria Market, known as the 'Mother of all markets,' to savoring delicious cuisine at numerous restaurants and cafes. Water sports enthusiasts can enjoy activities like scuba diving, swimming, and banana boat rides at Manila's beautiful beaches.

Must-Know Tips for Traveling to Manila - Ultimate Manila Travel Guide

Traveling to Manila can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it's essential to be well-prepared to make the most of your trip. Here are some must-know tips for traveling to Manila, offering you an ultimate travel guide:

  • Traffic Awareness: Be prepared for heavy traffic, especially during rush hours; consider using ride-sharing apps like Grab for convenience.
  • Hydration and Sunscreen: Manila can get hot and humid, so stay hydrated and wear sunscreen when exploring the city.
  • Cash and Cards: Carry a mix of cash and cards, as some smaller establishments may not accept credit cards.
  • Local Cuisine: Don't miss trying Filipino street food, but also dine at reputable restaurants for a taste of the diverse local cuisine.
  • Cultural Respect: Show respect in religious sites, dress modestly, and remove your shoes when entering homes or certain establishments.

Travelers’ Tips: Local Customs for Manila Tourism

There are some customs to be added to your Manila travel guide for smooth travel: 

  • It's customary to greet the eldest or most significant person in the family first. In the city, a common greeting involves two people shaking hands with a smile. 
  • Close female friends or relatives often exchange hugs as a form of greeting. 
  • Respect people's names and titles; it's important to ask for permission before using first names or nicknames. 
  • Regarding the dress code, men and women should avoid wearing shorts. Knee-length shorts are acceptable, but those above the knee are discouraged. Girls should refrain from wearing shorts altogether. 
  • When visiting malls, it's advisable to dress appropriately and presentably.

Shopping in Manila: Take Back Memories from Manila Tourism

Manila earns its reputation as Southeast Asia's premier shopping hub, with malls thoughtfully tailored to fit the Filipino way of life. The local culture of warmth and hospitality extends to these malls, ensuring a delightful experience for both tourists and locals. Beyond shopping, these malls offer gaming centers, delectable dining options, and inviting lounge areas for relaxation and enjoyment.

Here are four famous shopping destinations in Manila for tourists to take back memories:

  • SM Mall of Asia (MOA): One of the largest malls in the world, SM MOA offers a vast array of shops, restaurants, entertainment options, and even an indoor ice skating rink.
  • Greenbelt: Located in Makati, Greenbelt is a high-end shopping complex with a mix of designer boutiques, upscale brands, and a serene garden area for relaxation.
  • Divisoria Market: Known as the 'Mother of all markets,' Divisoria is a bustling bargain hunter's paradise offering a wide range of affordable goods, textiles, and street food.
  • Bonifacio High Street: Situated in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), this open-air shopping district features international and local brands, along with a vibrant dining and entertainment scene.

Nightlife in Manila: The After-Dark Manila Travel Guide

Manila's nightlife is super fun, and you can have an awesome time. Here are some places for your Manila travel during the night: 

  • Dance at Nightclubs: If you love loud music and dancing, go to nightclubs like Royal Night Club and Club ZZYZX. They have great music, fancy food, and drinks.
  • Dinner with a View: For a special experience, have dinner at rooftop restaurants like Z Hostel Roofdeck and Skydeck. They have delicious food and amazing views.
  • Drink at Bars: If you like wine, check out cool bars like Sky High Bar and Firefly Roofdeck Bar. They have tasty drinks and food.

Currency in Manila: Exchanging Money Options During Manila Tourism

The currency used in the Philippines is the Philippine peso (PHP/P/Php). It is divided into 100 centavos. Banknotes are available in values of P 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5, while coins are issued in denominations of P 10, 5, 2, and 1, along with 50, 25, 10, and 5 centavos.

Here are some tips for tourists to exchange money to be added to their Manila travel guide: 

  • While hotels offer currency exchange services, it's advisable to use banks and licensed moneychangers for the most favorable exchange rates. 
  • ATM services are readily available throughout the city, but it's important to be aware of any transaction fees. 
  • Major retail establishments accept credit cards for payment. If you plan to venture far from urban areas, it's recommended to carry some cash, as accessing ATMs might be challenging in remote locations.

History of Manila: Travel Guide for Time Travel 

Upon gaining control of the Philippine Islands, Manila was established as the administrative center of Spanish colonial rule in 1565. The colonial government strategically positioned itself within the fortified walls of old Manila, aiming to thwart Chinese pirates and quell native uprisings.

Over three centuries, Manila evolved into a bustling hub of trade, serving as a crucial link between Manila and Acapulco. This trade route facilitated the exchange of goods between the Americas and Southeast Asia.

The ravages of World War II inflicted severe damage upon the city, leaving it in a state of disrepair. However, diligent efforts led to its post-war reconstruction. Remarkably, Manila, second only to Warsaw, Poland, in terms of destruction during the war, underwent extensive rehabilitation.

In 1975, Manila transitioned into an independent entity, marking a significant milestone in its history.

Language of Manila: Communication Tips to Add to Manila Travel Guide

Filipino serves as the official language of Manila, but English is also widely spoken and comprehended by the locals. Additionally, you can hear various other languages, such as Spanish, Arabic, Ibanag, and more, being spoken in the city. Here are some common phrases in Filipino to add to your Manila travel guide:

  • Hello: Kamusta
  • Thank You: Salamat
  • Sorry: Pasensya
  • Goodbye: Paalam

Religion in Manila: Understanding the Cultural Aspect of Manila Tourism 

In Asia, the Philippines stands as the sole country where Christianity is the predominant religion, with 88% of the population adhering to it. Approximately 5.6% of the population follows Islam, while smaller religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism are also practiced. Around 10% of the population identifies as non-religious.

Here are four notable religious places for you to visit in Manila tourism:

  • Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene): This iconic church is home to the revered Black Nazarene statue and is a significant religious pilgrimage site, drawing millions of devotees each year.
  • Manila Cathedral (Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception): Located within Intramuros, the historic walled city of Manila, this cathedral is a prominent symbol of the Catholic faith in the Philippines and an architectural masterpiece.
  • San Agustin Church: Also situated in Intramuros, San Agustin Church is the oldest stone church in the Philippines and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It showcases stunning Baroque architecture and religious artifacts.
  • Golden Mosque (Masjid al-Dahab): This mosque, located in Quiapo, is one of the primary centers of Islamic worship in Manila. Its striking golden dome and minarets make it a distinctive landmark.

Daily Budget in Manila: Planning Your Finances for Manila Tourism

Creating a daily budget for your visit to Manila is a smart way to ensure you have an enjoyable trip without overspending. Here's a breakdown of expenses to help you plan your finances for Manila tourism:


  • Budget: $20 - $50 per night for hostels or budget hotels.
  • Mid-Range: $50 - $100 per night for mid-range hotels.
  • Luxury: $100 and above per night for upscale hotels.


  • Street Food: $2 - $5 for local street food and snacks.
  • Casual Dining: $5 - $15 for meals at local restaurants.
  • Fine Dining: $20 and above for upscale dining experiences.


  • Public Transport: $1 - $3 for a one-way fare on buses or jeepneys.
  • Taxi/Grab: $5 - $15 for short rides within the city.
  • Daily Transportation: $10 - $20 if you plan to use public transport frequently.

Attractions and Activities:

  • Entrance Fees: $2 - $10 per attraction, depending on the site.
  • Tours: Prices vary but budget around $20 - $50 for guided tours.
  • Entertainment: $5 - $20 for shows or performances.


  • SIM Card: $5 - $10 for a local SIM card with data.
  • Souvenirs: Budget as per your preferences.
  • Incidentals: $10 - $20 per day for unexpected expenses.

Total Daily Budget Range:

  • Budget Traveler: $30 - $50 per day.
  • Mid-Range Traveler: $50 - $100 per day.
  • Luxury Traveler: $100 and above per day.

Suggested 7-day Itinerary for Manila Tourism

Exploring Manila over a 7-day itinerary will allow you to immerse yourself in the city's history, culture, and vibrant atmosphere. Here's a suggested 7-day itinerary for your Manila tourism:

Day 1: Arrival in Manila

  • Check into your accommodation.
  • Stroll along Manila Baywalk and enjoy the sunset.
  • Dinner at a local seafood restaurant by the bay.

Day 2: Historical Manila

  • Visit Intramuros, the historic walled city.
  • Explore Fort Santiago and Rizal Park.
  • Lunch at a local eatery.
  • Afternoon visit to the National Museum Complex.
  • Evening at leisure for dining and shopping at nearby malls.

Day 3: Religious and Cultural Sites

  • Start the day at Quiapo Church.
  • Explore San Agustin Church and Museum.
  • Lunch at a traditional Filipino restaurant.
  • Visit the Manila Cathedral.
  • Evening visit to Bahay Tsinoy Museum for a glimpse of Chinese-Filipino heritage.

Day 4: Art and Creativity

  • Spend your morning at the Pinto Art Museum.
  • Lunch at a local café in Antipolo.
  • Explore Bonifacio Global City (BGC) for art galleries and street art.
  • Dinner and nightlife in BGC or Makati.

Day 5: Nature and Relaxation

  • Day trip to Taal Volcano in Tagaytay.
  • Hike to the crater or take a boat ride.
  • Enjoy a hearty lunch with a view.
  • Return to Manila in the late afternoon for a relaxed evening.

Day 6: Culinary Adventure

  • Discover Filipino cuisine with a food tour.
  • Explore local markets and try street food.
  • Cooking class to learn to prepare traditional Filipino dishes.
  • Evening dining at a well-regarded Filipino restaurant.

Day 7: Modern Manila

  • Visit the Mind Museum for interactive science exhibits.
  • Lunch at a trendy café in Makati.
  • Explore Greenbelt and Glorietta malls for shopping.
  • Farewell dinner at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the city.


Manila, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and diverse attractions, offers an exciting and immersive travel experience. From exploring historical sites to indulging in delicious cuisine and enjoying the lively nightlife, there's something for every traveler. Make sure to plan your budget wisely and follow local customs for a memorable visit to this dynamic city. Whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or an art enthusiast, Manila has much to offer to satisfy your wanderlust.


Q. What is the best time to visit Manila?

A. The best time to visit Manila is typically from December to April. During these months, the weather is mild, making it ideal for engaging in various adventurous activities and exploration.

Q. What are some nearby destinations from Manila? 

A. Some notable places near Manila include 

  • Quezon City (11 km away)
  • Makati City (7 km away)
  • Pasig City (12 km away)
  • Caloocan City (15 km away)
  • Pasay City (7 km away)
  • Taguig City (11 km away)
  • Mandaluyong City (9 km away)
  • Antipolo (25 km away)
  • Cavite City (26 km away)

Q. What activities can you enjoy in Manila? 

A. Some of the top things to do in Manila include exploring Intramuros and the National Museum, visiting Rizal Park, touring Casa Manila, shopping at Divisoria Market, and enjoying the views of Manila Bay.

Q. What are the local culinary specialties in Manila? 

A. Manila's cuisine is a delightful fusion of Malay, Indian, Spanish, American, Chinese, and other Asian influences. One of the city's beloved unofficial dishes is Adobo, a marinated and fried chicken dish widely available throughout Manila.

Q. How can one get to Manila? 

A. Manila is accessible via Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the city's primary airport. This airport connects Manila to thirty different countries through various flight routes.

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Helpful tips for Manila

  • Use Jeepneys or book rides through an app to get the most out of your journey.
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