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Manila Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 3 days

Best Time: November to March Read More

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Manila Tourism

Manila, officially known as the City of Manila, is the capital of the Philippines and the second most populous metropolitan area in the country. Located on the island of Luzon, it is serviced by Ninoy Aquino International Airport and is considered the primary gateway to the country. Often termed a fast-growing concrete jungle, Manila is one of the wealthiest cities in southeast Asia and is the most important location commercially, industrially, politically and socially in the country.

Founded by the Spanish in the 16th century, the influences of that period can still be seen to this day in the form of several tourist sites and street or neighbourhood names. The most notable of them all being the historic Walled City of Intramuros considered the original district of the conquerors. Also known as an important port city of trade and commerce since its founding, the proof of Chinese settlement in Manila can be seen in the popular Chinatown district of Binondo, which is also the world's oldest. All over the city, churches, Hindu and Buddhist temples, old architectural structures and other historical sites stand as a testament to the influence of various cultures and communities.

Manila today hosts over 1 million tourists annually and is aggressively developing to provide modern contemporary travellers with a touristy urban experience. Modern parks, museums and cultural centres are common throughout the city. In addition, entertainment centres, premium or luxury shopping malls, and nightlife-centric lounges, clubs and bars are ever emerging and quite popular among both the locals and tourists. While most may deem Manila to be a stopover while visiting the other islands and regions of the Philippines, the capital city certainly has much more to offer.

Top Hotels In Manila

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Shopping in Manila

Manila is known as the best shopping destination in Southeast Asia. The malls in Manila are designed keeping the Filipino lifestyle in mind. The Filipino people, in general, are said to be very kind and helpful, so the malls here are also designed in a way to help tourists and locals to have a great time here. Other than shopping, the malls also have gaming centres, restaurants serving delicious food items and lounge areas where you can sit, relax and have a great time.

Read about the best shopping malls in Manila.

Nightlife in Manila

Being the centre of social and economic activity in the Philippines, Manila boasts plenty of chic nightclubs, bars, pubs, karaoke lounges, markets and restaurants that keep parties going till the morning. First-timers and foreigners are dazzled by the streets of Malate, Makati and Binondo (Manila’s Chinatown), buzzing with the live music of Black Market Club, Club ZZYZX, and Skybar, House Manila and Valkyrie. Downtown, the Ermita district houses casinos, speakeasy clubs, sports bars, and go-go bars.

Read about the Best Nightclubs in Manila.

Currency in Manila

The Philippine peso (PHP/P/Php) is the local currency of the Philippines. One peso is made up of 100 centavos. The notes come in denominations of P 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Whereas, the coins come in denominations of P 10, 5, 2 and 1 and 50, 25, 10 and 5 centavos.

Exchanging Money in Manila

  • Even though the hotels provide money exchange services, the best rate providers are the banks and licensed moneychangers.
  • The ATM services are easily accessible around the city, you must check for any charges added to each transaction.
  • All major shops accept credit cards.
  • Carry cash if you are going far from the urban centres as it would be difficult to withdraw cash there.

Manila Customs

  • Greeting the eldest or the most important person in the family first is a must.
  • Two people shaking hands with a smile is a standard way of greeting in the city,
  • Close female friends or relatives may also give hugs to each other.
  • Using the first name or nickname without the given permission is not appreciated; you may call a person by his surname or a title asked by him.
  • Dress Code: For men or women, it is not appreciated to wear shorts for men, knee lengths are still fine but not above knee lengths, shorts are a strict no-no for girls.
  • If roaming in malls, you are to dress up well.

Daily Budget for Manila

Religion of Manila

The Philippines is the only country having Christianity as a major religion in Asia, with 88% of the population practising it. About 5.6% population follow Islam, while other smaller religions practised being Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism. About 10% of the population is said to be non-religious.

Language of Manila

Filipino is the national language of Manila. Although English is spoken and understood by the locals too. Many more languages are spoken like Spanish, Arabic, Ibanag, etc. Phrases in Filipino - Hello: Kamusta; Thank You: Salamat; Sorry: pinagsisisiha; Goodbye: Paalam.

History of Manila

After winning sovereignty over the Philippine Islands, Manila became the seat of the colonial government of Spain in 1565. The seat of the government was situated within the fortified walls of old Manila to keep out the invading Chinese pirates and protect the city from native uprisings. Manila became the centre of trade between Manila and Acapulco, which took place for three centuries and brought goods from America to South East Asia and the other way round. World War II caused massive damage to the city, but it was soon reconstructed after the war. Manila was the most impacted city after Warsaw, Poland, during World War II. It was then the city became an independent entity in 1975.

Best Time to Visit Manila

How to Reach Manila

How to Reach Overview

Manila is connected with 30 countries through flights. Major international airlines take off and land in in the city.

How to reach Manila by flight

30 countries' airlines are connected with Manila. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport at Philippine is about 7 kms away from the city and 1 km away from the domestic airport.

How to reach Manila by road

Ferries are available for nearby rides. Jeepney or sharing cabs are the common and easily accessible mode of transport in the city. Other cabs are also one option but only if you know the roads and have an estimate idea of the amount to be paid to the cab drivers are the meters of many cabs are broken and they might charge more than the actual rate.

How to reach Manila by train

No railways are available to enter the city from any other city. Though metro is an easy way to get around in the city.

How to reach Manila by bus

Buses can be accessed from many nearby cities with reasonable prices and with good services.

How to reach Manila by waterways

Manila can be accessed through waterways. There are many sea ports in the city that connects various cities for trade and commerce.

Local transport in Manila

Metro/Rail system of Manila is great. It connects the whole city. There are two systems LRTA and MRTC. The city has many metrobus services available too. The most common and the local way of transport of the city is the Jeepney or the sharing cab/ mini bus which tours around the city whole day.

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Manila Photos

Manila, Phillipines
The iconic Manila Bay sunset
The historic Fort Santiago in Intramuros.
The National Museum of Fine Arts.

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FAQs on Manila

What is the best way to reach Manila?

Manila is connected with 30 countries through flights. Major international airlines take off and land in in the city.
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What are the places near Manila?

The top places near to Manila are Boracay which is 308 km from Manila, Cebu city which is located 571 km from Manila, London which is located 10738 km from Manila, Dubai which is located 6910 km from Manila, Amsterdam which is located 10394 km from Manila

What are the things to do in Manila?

The top things to do in Manila are Intramuros, Rizal Park, Casa Manila , Divisoria Market, National Museum, Manila Bay. You can see all the places to visit in Manila here

What are the top hotels in Manila?

There are 2931 in Manila which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Manila are Princeton Condotel Residences, Azure Miami, Eastwood Parkview 1, Marlyn Bryans Picasso Apt, MSuites at Knightsbridge Makati, Azure Urban Residences - My Abode. You can see all the hotels in Manila here

What is the local food in Manila?

The Philippine cuisine has evolved over many centuries and is a mixed of many cuisines like Malay, Indian, Spanish, American, Chinese and other Asian Indian cuisines. The famous unofficial food of Manila is Adobo which is a marinated fried chicken available everywhere in the city.
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What is the best time to visit Manila?

The best time to visit Manila is during the drier months of January to April. Though temperatures are high during March and April, still it is a good time when you wouldn't need to tackle the rains. The dry season is the best time when you can hire a bike and roam through Manila, do not forget to visit Intramuros, which is the oldest part of the city. The wet season in Manila lasts from June to November. But it does rain in December as well. As Manila is a booming city, one can visit it year round, but the wet season tends to be hot and humid, which restricts tourists from going around the town. Some streets in Manila also get flooded during this time. Manila is also prone to cyclones, so tourists should skip the wetter months, which are also considered off-season for tourism in the city. If you do visit Manila during the wet season, do make sure you check the weather reports to see the severity of the rains. 
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