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You'll need a game plan to really get the most out of Manila, especially when you wish to include lots of local cuisine and entertainment. And it's clear that you're someone who likes to get out and about遥ou're ready to get out and take it all in. You look forward to covering the best activities around, and an afternoon walk through charming neighbourhoods is always time well spent. Our activities are the ideal way to organise your trip. Book professional area tours on Expedia, and you'll learn all about the city's history along the way.
The capital of the Philippines, and the most populous part of the country, Manila has a tough urban reputation that does a disservice to its lively multi-cultural heritage and thriving nightlife. More than just the sum of its many skyscrapers and vast shanty towns, visitors to Manila will also discover a truly creative spirit, with exciting art galleries and a buzzing music scene. Add to that a plethora of bars, markets, cafes and restaurants, and it all adds up to a city that is as cool as it is edgy.
Binondo — Famous for its incredible Chinese cuisine and authentic Chinese stalls and shops, Binondo is also the oldest Chinatown in the world. A bustling cultural quarter since before the Spanish landed in the 16th century, what was once Manila’s trading centre is now a fascinating monument to Chinese culture and traditions, overlaid with a light dusting of Spanish colonial influence.
Santa Cruz — Situated right next door to Chinatown, Santa Cruz is a curious blend of sites and influences. On Carriedo Street you will find a ramshackle market area where you can pick up locally made fabrics and clothing, as well as a lucky dip of cheap export goods and other items. There are also a number of palatial mausoleums, some of which have hotel suites, alongside the Chinese cemetery, the second oldest cemetery in the city.
Malate — Once home to Manila’s financial elite, Malate boasts many mansions and elite schools. Nowadays however this district is better known for its vivid bohemian nightlife, where the alternative minded mingle with the party people and really bring this colourful hotel district to life.
Ermita — This tourist quarter used to be Manila’s red light district. It’s much more than that now, with bars, cafes, nightclubs and massage parlours rubbing shoulders with city recruitment firms attracting international business people to both work and play. As well as the lively nightlife, you’ll also find a selection of art, antique and souvenir shops.
Buried in amongst Manila’s almost overwhelming megacity canvas, there is a lot of fascinating heritage to unearth. The National Museum of the Filipino People is a great place to start. Housing a fantastic collection of art and artefacts, the museum is a must for culture fanatics. For a more immersive experience of Manila’s colourful history head to Fort Santiago. Here, as well as wonderfully tended gardens, plazas and fountains you will also find the Rizal Shrine, the building in which Filipino national hero Dr José Rizal was imprisoned. The shrine contains original Rizal artefacts and even a reconstruction of his actual cell.
Manila has all the things to do that you might expect in any city: shopping malls, cinema complexes, pubs and clubs. Alternatives to such standard city fare include the Club Intramuros Golf Course, which, curiously, is open both day and night. There are also many guided cycling and walking tours of the city.