When it comes to Manila’s historical landmarks, the first destinations that would come to mind might be none other than Fort Santiago and Rizal Park, both due to their sheer scale and historical significance. But the city is filled with other treasures that makes it a history buff’s haven, ranging from preserved Spanish colonial structures to repurposed neoclassical structures. Here’s a list of 5 other historical landmarks to add to your Manila itinerary if you wish to dig a little deeper and unearth the other colorful stories the city is raring to tell.

Museo de Intramuros. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Museo de Intramuros. The museum is located at the site of the reconstructed San Ignacio Church, which was originally built by Jesuit priests in 1878 but suffered total destruction during the Battle of Manila in 1945. The ecclesiastical museum now showcases the Intramuros Administration’s vast collection of religious and colonial art, which was opened to the public in May 2019 as part of the 40th year anniversary of the Intramuros Administration.

Regina Building. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.
Calvo Building. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Escolta Street. One of the oldest streets in Manila, Escolta was developed in the late 19th century as the main thoroughfare of Binondo packed with shops, establishments, and offices. It is filled with art deco and neoclassical architecture. Notable buildings include the First United Building, Burke Building, Calvo Building, Regina Building, Capitol Theater, El Hogar Filipino Building, and the Don Roman Santos Building. Today, the street is known as a rising hub for artists and creatives, with co-working spaces, cafes, and thrift shops located within some of the repurposed spaces in the area.

Metropolitan Museum of Manila. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Metropolitan Museum of Manila. Modernly coined as “The M”, the museum is located in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Complex. Despite being one of the Philippines’ major museums, there might be a surprising number of people who have never stepped foot inside or learned about its history. The museum was first set up in 1976 for international art exhibits but shifted its focus to local art and heritage in 1986. Since 2012, the museum and BSP have worked towards strengthening the museum’s direction towards becoming a home for contemporary art created by Filipino and international artists. It is the first museum in the country to use a bilingual approach. Currently, the museum is setting up new spaces in Bonifacio Global City in the first quarter of 2022. It also created interactive virtual tours and workshops that cater to different demographics. 

Museo Pambata. While the main attraction of the museum today is its themed, interactive displays for kids (and kids-at-heart), its building is just as fascinating: the museum is located inside the former Elks Club Building, which was built in 1910. Think about this the next time you visit the museum or pass by it!

Manila Central Post Office. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Manila Central Post Office. Similarly, buildings that remain functional become seemingly commonplace when we pass by them a lot for reasons that aren’t necessarily for sightseeing. The Manila Post is one of the remaining historical landmarks that continue to serve its intended function and houses the main office of the Philippine Postal Corporation. The neoclassical building was designed by Juan M. Arellano and Tomás Mapúa, with construction beginning in 1926. The next time you visit the post office for errands, check out the towering columns out front (there are 16 in total!) and check out  the original metal mailboxes on the lower level.

Discover more destinations to see, experience, and savor in the historic city of Manila. Visit these links to map out your next journey across the Philippines.

Travel Safely!

All these tourist destinations have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.

To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel, Apple Store, or Google Playstore.