How to have fun visiting the Philippines' 7,107 islands.
Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is located by the mouth of the natural harbor of Manila Bay and is one of Asia’s
most vibrant cities. The city was once a Malay settlement known as Maynilad, named after the nilad, a plant that
grows in the swamps or sandy beach. Manila was established as a Spanish city in 1571 when conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legaspi
ordered the construction of Walled City.
Through the centuries, Manila incorporated several suburb of the walls, was redesigned under American hands, almost destroyed by World War II, and reconstructed and expanded until it became the big metropolis that it is now. Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines, is an architecturaly distinct grand structure, which stands on the banks of the Pasig River, which snakes through the metropolitan Manila. RizaI Park is the city’s chief landmark. Historically, this is the place where national hero Jose Rizal was executed.
The Rizal Monument enshrines the remains of Rizal and all distances from Manila are measured from the adjacent flagpole. Quirino Grandstand has been the inaugural site of several Philippine presidents, while nearby Manila Hotel is a historical landmark. At the back of the Quirino Grandstand is the Manila Ocean Park, Philippines’ first state-of-the-art ceanarium, open water marine habitat The 400-year-old walled city of Intramuros was the site of the native settlers during the Spanish conquest. At Plaza Roma is the Manila Cathedral, which dates from 1581.
San Agustin Church, the oldest church, has a magnificent interior which include a museum. Fort Santiago Park is the site of the Jose Rizal shrine. Casa Manila is a restored 19th-century house. Busy down town Manila with its colorful jeepneys includes Quiapo, home of the Basilica of the Black Nazarene with its big feast in January. All sorts of merchandize are sold in its streets, ranging from low-priced gewgaws to high-quality gadgets. Escolta in Sta. Cruz was Manila’s original commercial district. Binondo is the city’s Chinatown, with its various commercial establishments and Oriental cuisine. Nearby is Divisoria, a bargain paradise of various products. Its foremost must-see is Tutuban Station, an old railroad depot converted into a shopping mall.
Roxas Boulevard boasts of the world-famous sunsets of Manila Bay. The Cultural Center of the Philippines is an architectural landmark designed by National Artist Leandro Locsin. The tourist belt of Ermita contains numerous hotel and souvenir shops selling souvenirs, arts and crafts, and antiques, along with restaurant and bars hosting late-night street parties. Centuries-old Malate Church is a notable structure with its faint Moorish style. Museum include the National Museum, housed in the neo-classic Senate Building; the Museum of the Filipino People fronting Rizal Park; the avant-garde Metropolitan Museum of Manila; the highly-interactive Museo Pambata; and the Museo ng Maynila housed in the former Army and Navy Building along Roxas Boulevard. Other landmarks include Paco Park, a charming promenade housed in an old cemetery; and San Sebastian Church, one of the few churches in the world made entirely of steel.