The capital of the country referred to as the Pearl of the Orient Seas, Manila; is a dynamic city that combines history, culture and natural beauty all in one. Every neighborhood within has its own character; from the Spanish “Walled City” of Intramuros to the modern high rises at Bonifacio Global City; but what remains all throughout is the welcoming atmosphere you’ll experience everywhere. These top 3 cultural attractions in Manila have them both and will provide visitors staying in the Philippines with a great preview of what’s yet to come.
Top 3 Cultural Attractions in Manila
Manila’s oldest district is the historic neighborhood of Intramuros. The “Walled City” as it’s called, is the only place in the capital where you will see Spanish-era architecture. They include the country’s oldest churches, such as the UNESCO World Heritage-designated San Agustin Church of Manila and Manila Cathedral. There’s also the citadel called Fort Bonifacio where the country’s national hero, Jose Rizal, was once imprisoned. Though to fully understand the importance of Intramuros during the time of the Spanish occupation, take a walking tour with Carlos Celdran, whose captivating stories will keep you entertained; or rent a bike via Bambike, a company that provides guided tours via bamboo bicycles.
Rightly included on this list of top 3 cultural attractions in Manila is the city’s greenest space. Also referred to as Luneta, Rizal Park was at one point, the site of many public executions. Nowadays, its curated gardens are where families gather for picnics; and where friends come together to cool off during hot summer days. Also within the park is a monument dedicated to Jose Rizal; who was shot and died near the spot where his memorial currently stands. Finally, Rizal Park also contains the National Museum of The Philippines, where you can learn about the country’s social, anthropological and political histories.
The world’s oldest Chinatown sits in Manila, in what locals refer to as Binondo. What makes this one of the top 3 cultural attractions in Manila is quite frankly, the food. Binondo is a foodie haven, with over 100 hole-in-the-wall eateries serving outstanding Chinese and Filipino delicacies. Start at the seemingly unassuming Quik-Snack; where you can munch on crispy tofu or their version of fried shrimp as starters. Then open up your bellies to the warm and fragrant aromas that fill Lan Zhou La Mien. This noodle joint continues to create hand-pulled noodles to this day. Try their beef or spareribs la mien. Finally, don’t miss a stop at the legendary Eng Bee Tin, who for over 100 years has been creating a snack synonymous to the Philippines, Hopia.