Top Things to See in Manila – Philippine Tourist Guide

top things to see in manila

The top things to see in Manila are the Intramuros, Rizal Park, the National Museum, Binondo (Chinatown), and Quiapo Church.

The Intramuros is a historic walled city that was the Spanish colonial government’s seat of power during the Philippines’ colonial period.

It is a popular tourist destination for its well-preserved Spanish architecture and historical landmarks.


1. Rizal Park

Rizal Park - top things to see in manila

Rizal Park is a large urban park located in the heart of Manila.

It is named after national hero Jose Rizal and is home to several monuments and sculptures dedicated to him.

The park also has a pond, an open-air auditorium, and a museum.

Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park or simply Luneta, is a historical urban park in the Philippines.

Located in the heart of Manila, the park is one of the country’s largest and most famous city parks. It is also one of the top tourist attractions in Manila.

The park was initially intended as a promenade for the elite during Spanish colonial rule.

However, it soon became a public space for everyone after the Philippine Revolution.

Today, the park is a favorite spot for picnics, concerts, and other outdoor activities. It is also home to several important landmarks, including:

The Rizal Monument

This towering monument honoring national hero Jose Rizal is the most popular attraction in the park.

The National Museum of Fine Arts

This museum houses a modern and traditional Filipino art collection.

The National Planetarium

This is the perfect place to learn about astronomy and the night sky.

The Chinese Garden

This beautiful garden is a peaceful oasis amid the city.

These are just some of the top things to see in Rizal Park. So come and visit this historic and beloved park today.


2. National Museum

National Museum - Manila Philippines

The National Museum is the country’s premier museum and houses a collection of artifacts, artworks, and historical items that tell the story of the Philippines’ rich history and culture.

The National Museum of the Philippines is one of the top tourist attractions in Manila. It is a large complex that houses several museums, and it is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the Philippines.

There are also many artworks and artifacts on display, and you can even see some of the original paintings by Filipino artists.

Some of the top things to see in the National Museum are:

The Spoliarium

This painting by Filipino artist Juan Luna is one of the most famous paintings in the Philippines. It depicts the scene of a Roman gladiator’s death.


The Death Mask of Jose Rizal

This death mask is a replica of the one used during Jose Rizal’s funeral. It is on display at the museum’s Rizal Hall.


The Death Mask of Napoleon Bonaparte

This death mask is also on display at the Rizal Hall. It was brought to the Philippines by a Filipino who served as a member of Napoleon’s court.


3. Intramuros

Intramuros - philippines manila

Intramuros is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Manila. It is a walled city that was once the seat of power for the Spanish colonial government. Today, it is a bustling hub of activity, with plenty of things to see and do.

Some of the top things to see in Intramuros include the following:

The Fort Santiago

Fort Santiago is one of the most famous landmarks in Intramuros. It is a fortress built by the Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi. Throughout history, the fort has been used as a military garrison, prison, and execution ground. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and one of the top things to see in Intramuros.

The Manila Cathedral

The Manila Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral that is the seat of the Archbishop of Manila. The cathedral was originally built in 1581 but has been rebuilt several times due to earthquakes and other damage. It is one of the most important religious sites in the Philippines and a top tourist destination in Intramuros.

San Agustin Church

San Agustin Church is another important religious site in Intramuros. It is a Roman Catholic church built by the Augustinian order in 1571. The church has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is one of the top things to see in Intramuros.

Casa Manila

Casa Manila is a museum housed in a replica of a 19th-century Filipino home. The museum showcases the lifestyle of affluent Filipinos during the Spanish colonial period. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Intramuros and a must-see for anyone interested in Filipino history and culture.

Baluarte de San Diego

Baluarte de San Diego is one of the defensive walls built to protect Intramuros from invaders. The wall is now a popular tourist spot to take photos and enjoy city views.

These are just some of the top things to see in Intramuros. There are plenty of other sights and activities to enjoy in this historic district of Manila. So, be sure to add Intramuros to your list of places to visit in the Philippines.


4. Binondo

Binondo - China - Philippines Manila

Binondo is Manila’s Chinatown and one of the world’s oldest Chinatowns. It is a bustling commercial district with plenty of shops and restaurants to explore.

Binondo is the Chinatown of Manila and one of the city’s top places to visit. It is a bustling area full of shops, restaurants, and temples. Chinatowns are traditionally known for being lively and vibrant places, and Binondo certainly lives up to that reputation.

There are a variety of things to see and do in Binondo. The district is home to some temples, including the centuries-old Guangzhou Fu De Temple. This temple is dedicated to the patron saint of merchants, and it is said that many successful business people in the Philippines have prayed here for good luck.

Another top attraction in Binondo is the Rizal Shrine. This shrine commemorates the life and work of Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines. The shrine contains many artifacts relating to Rizal, including his desk and the shirt he wore when the Spanish colonial government executed him.

If you’re looking to do some shopping, Binondo is the place to be. The district is full of shops selling everything from clothes to electronics. You can also find many good restaurants in Binondo, serving both traditional Chinese cuisine and more Filipino dishes.

No visit to Manila would be complete without a trip to Chinatown, so make sure to add Binondo to your list of top places to see in the city.


5. Quiapo Church

Quiapo Church - philippines manila

Quiapo Church is an important religious site in Manila. It is home to the Black Nazarene, a life-sized statue of Jesus Christ carried through the streets during an annual procession. 

The church is also known for its traditional fortune tellers, who can be found outside the plaza.

Quiapo Church is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Manila. It is located in the heart of the city and is known for its unique architecture and rich history.

The church was built in 1586 by Spanish friars and has undergone several renovations.

It is currently a National Historic Landmark and houses a museum that displays historical artifacts from the church’s long history.

Visitors to Quiapo Church can also purchase souvenirs from the many shops that line the streets around the church.


6. Manila Baywalk

Manila Baywalk - manila philippines travel

Manila Baywalk is one of the top things to see in Manila. It is a wide promenade that runs along the shoreline of Manila Bay.

The baywalk was initially built in 2008 as part of the city’s efforts to beautify the Manila Bay area. It has since become a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

There are plenty of things to do at Manila Baywalk. Visitors can take a stroll, go for a jog, or even set up a picnic. The baywalk is also a great place to watch the sunset. On weekends, the baywalk comes alive with street performers and vendors selling food and souvenirs.

If you’re looking for a top spot to see in Manila, add Manila Baywalk to your list.



7. Paco Park

paco park - manila philippines travel

Paco Park is a historical park located in the Paco district of Manila, Philippines.

The park was originally built in 1820 as a municipal cemetery for the Elite families of Spanish Manila.

It became a public park in 1966 and is now one of the top tourist attractions in Manila.

Paco Park is surrounded by a high stone wall and features a large central lawn with trees, gardens, and a gazebo.

Several paths wind through the park, making it a great place to take a stroll or go for a jog.

Within the park, grounds are also several historical buildings, including the San Fernando de Dilao Church and the Chapel of St. Pancratius.

One of the top things to do in Paco Park is to take a tour of the San Fernando de Dilao Church. The church was built in 1588 and is one of the oldest churches in Manila.

It features beautiful baroque architecture and is a great example of Spanish colonial era religious architecture.

Another top thing to do in Paco Park is to visit the Chapel of St. Pancratius. The chapel was built in 1876 and is one of Manila’s most beautiful examples of Neo-Gothic architecture.

The chapel is surrounded by a garden with a pond and is a popular spot for wedding photography.

Paco Park is also home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which honors the soldiers who fought and died during the Philippine-American War.

The tomb is made of white marble and features a bronze statue of a soldier standing at attention.

If you’re looking for top things to do in Manila that are both historical and educational, then Paco Park is worth a visit.


8. Pasay Seafood Market

Pasay Seafood Market - manila philippines

Pasay Seafood Market is one of the top places to go in Manila for fresh seafood. The market is located in the Pasay district of Manila and is open every day from early morning until late afternoon.

The market is made up of several large warehouses where vendors sell a variety of seafood, including fish, crabs, shrimp, and squid.

Pasay Seafood Market is a great place to buy seafood to cook at home. The prices are very reasonable, and the seafood quality is excellent.

If you’re looking for a top spot to grab a bite to eat in Manila, then check out Pasay Seafood Market.


9. SM Mall of Asia

SM Mall of Asia - manila philippines

SM Mall of Asia, popular as MoA, is a shopping mall located in Bay City, Pasay, Philippines. It is currently the 4th largest shopping mall in the country and the 12th largest in the world by gross leasable area.

The SM Mall of the Asia complex includes:

  • An Olympic-sized ice skating rink.
  • 20 cinema theaters.
  • An IMAX theater.
  • A 12-lane bowling alley.
  • Countless retail shops and restaurants.

The mall also has a large events venue called the SMX Convention Center.

The mall was developed by SM Prime Holdings, the largest shopping mall developer in the Philippines. It opened its doors to the public on May 21st, 2006.

Some top things to see and do at the SM Mall of Asia include:

  • Shopping at the many retail shops and department stores
  • Eating at the food court or one of the restaurants
  • Watching a movie at the cinema
  • Ice skating at the Olympic-sized rink
  • Bowling at the 12-lane bowling alley
  • Attending an event at the SMX Convention Center

Whether you want to do some shopping, catch a movie or just have fun, the SM Mall of Asia is definitely worth a visit.



10. Bahay Tsinoy

Bahay Tsinoy - manila philippines

The Bahay Tsinoy is a museum located in the heart of Intramuros, Manila.

It houses a collection of artifacts, documents, and photographs that tell the story of the Chinese in the Philippines.

The museum is also a research center that promotes an understanding of Chinese culture and its contributions to Philippine society.

The Bahay Tsinoy is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is PHP 100 for adults and PHP 50 for children.

These are just some of the top things to see in Manila.

There is so much more to explore in this vibrant and exciting city. 


Thoughts and Conclusion

There you have it! The top things to see in Manila. While the city may be chaotic and congested, it is also full of life, energy, and fascinating sites.

From historical buildings and churches to colorful markets and street art, there is something for everyone in Manila. So make sure to add it to your list of places to see in Southeast Asia.

Also, check out some of the Top Things to Do in the Philippines

One thought on “Top Things to See in Manila – Philippine Tourist Guide

  1. I have been considering going to Jamaica. I can see that there are so many sites to see and explore. Jamaica has been top on my list and then I have heard so much about Italy. I have always been fasinated with the older buildings. I know some of these places you can visit by taking a cruise. What are your recommendations on traveling? Would you recommend a certain airline?

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