Manila: The Heart of the Philippines

Manila: The Heart of the Philippines

Manila has a nice ring to it, wouldn’t you agree?   

The city’s name, originally Maynilad, stemmed from an inland plant which once grew along the banks of the river, a flowering shrub adapted to marshy conditions. It was further modified to Maynila and finally to what we call it today. Fascinating, right? 

Well, the name isn’t the only fascinating thing about the gorgeous city of Manila. The city has so much to offer- so many sights to see, stories to tell, places to explore, customs to learn and things to experience. 

What Makes Manila a Magnificent Place to be 

The Days of Old: Manila has a beautiful past that is reflected by the historical sites it is home to. The walled city of Intramuros, Rizal Park and many more places will give you a glimpse of what Manila withstood over time.

Melting Pot of Culture: Influenced by many different cultures, including Spanish, Chinese and American, Manila offers a culturally rich and diverse experience. And it echoes in the city’s cuisine, music, art and vibe. 

Swoon worthy Landmarks: Being the aesthetic city Manila is, it is home to many beautiful landmarks that will leave you in awe. Such as the Manila Bay Sunset.

At the Heart of Phillippines: Manila connects you to the rest of and the best of the Phillippines, being a hub for transportation. With many domestic and international flights, buses, and ferries, it gives you access to other beautiful parts of the country.

Filipino Cuisine: The delicious and diverse cuisine, with influences from Spanish, Chinese, and Malay Cultures, will leave your taste buds wanting more. Local dishes like adobo, sinigang and lechon are worth ordering in an aesthetic little local cafe.  

Artful Museums: Manila is home to museums of varied themes, such as history, arts, science, optical illusions, travel and desserts. So, visiting The National Museum of the Phillippines and the Alaya Museum should be at the top of your itinerary. 

Friendly Filipinos: When you visit Manila, you’re in for a warm experience and endearing hospitality. The locals will make you feel at home with their welcoming and courteous nature.  

Boat Ride Awat from Beaches: Manila might not be on the coast, but if you’re a beach person, you’ll be glad to know that beautiful beaches are only a short drive or boat ride away.  

Shopper’s Wonderland: Be it window-shopping, impulsive or intended shopping, Manila is a dream for every shopper. With many malls and local markets, such as the SM Mall of Asia and the Divisoria Market, shoppers can spend hours on end shopping. 

An Eventful Place: Manila hosts many festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Feast of the Black Nazarene, the Ati-Atihan Festival and the Sinulog Festival. 

10 Things to have on your Manila Itinerary

  • Explore Intramuros, the walled city and the historic centre of Manila, home to intriguing Spanish colonial buildings and landmarks. 
  • Visiting the Rizal Park, built in honour of the national hero, Jose Rizal. Stroll down the park, soak in some sunshine, enjoy scenic views of Manila Bay and unwind. 
  • Order Filipino food at a local restaurant. Manila has a thriving food scene, so make the most of it.  
  • Go on a shopping spree at Divisoria. The famous market is the place to go if you’re a shopping enthusiast and a treat for bargain hunters. 
  • Go to Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world outside of China. Explore Chinese culture, cuisine and artefacts.  
  • Visiting the National Museum of the Phillippines, home to an extensive collection of artefacts and artworks that narrate the story of Manila.  
  • Go to the Manila Ocean Park to see the marina life of Manila up close. You can also go for a little swim with the sharks if you wish to. 
  • Attend a Cultural show and witness cultural performances, like the Bayanihan Phillippine National Folk Dance Company. 
  • Spend time window shopping at the Mall of Asia, one of the largest malls in the world with many shopping and entertainment options.  
  • Visiting the Quiapo Church, the pilgrimage site and home to the Black Nazarene, a miraculous statue of Jesus. 

Tips to Make the Most of Manila 

  • Manila has a tropical climate with high humidity and frequent rainfall, so pack your bag accordingly. Carry light and breathable clothes, a rain jacket or umbrella, and enough sunscreen to beat the heat.  
  • Manila has a heavy traffic scene, especially during peak hours, so plan your travel within the city ahead of time. 
  • Even though Manila is a safe and sound place, be wary of your surroundings, avoid solo night adventures, and keep an eye out for your valuables. 
  • Carry local currency, i.e., Phillippine peso, to avoid paying higher exchange rates and be wary of scams. 
  • Learn basic phrases in the local language, i.e., Filipino. Though people speak English, learning common words can help you start conversations and connect with locals.  
  • Learn about local culture and customs to be aware and respectful.  
  • Familiarize yourself with the traffic rules in Manila, as they may be different from your place. 

Best Time to Visit Manila

The best time to visit Manila is during its cooler months, from December to February. During this time, the weather is relatively dry and cooler compared to the rest of the year, with temperatures averaging around 26-28°C (79-82°F) during the day and dropping to around 20-22°C (68-72°F) at night. 

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