The hustle and bustle of Metro Manila is undeniable. As the country’s National Capital Region, the metro is a busy melting pot of different industries and cultures. For those visiting the city for leisure, there might be a stronger sense of newness and wonder at both the metro’s traces of old world charm, and its modern attractions. For those who live and/or work in it, its features might have become more of a common backdrop to the daily drive or commute. In either case, seeing the city through a new lens lets us get reacquainted with Metro Manila and its exciting corners set against modern conveniences. Here’s a handy checklist of things to experience, discover, and fall in love with.

 

Casa Manila Museum facade. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.
Dungeon inside Fort Santiago. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Historical architecture and points of interest. Metro Manila’s wealth of historical and heritage sites is probably one of its most distinct attractions. The city of Manila, in particular, has a wealth of well-preserved landmarks that let guests peer into the past and see how the city was built under Spanish rule, and the marks of resistance that made significant marks in Philippine history. Intramuros preserves some of the country’s oldest structures, some dating as early as the 15th and 16th century. Marked by imposing stone walls, its major points of interest are the San Agustin Church – a UNESCO Heritage Site, the Casa Manila ancestral house and museum, and Fort Santiago, which played many different roles throughout history, including as citadel and prison. The city is also home to the Manila Central Post Office, whose imposing neoclassical architecture is hard to miss, the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) which was designed by now National Artist, Leandro Locsin, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex (CCP), which stands on an 88-hectare reclaimed property.

Rizal Park. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Heroes’ monuments. Create a checklist of monuments to check out and document for your personal travel diary. Metro Manila is filled with them, and they help remind us of the heroes that paved the way for our freedom. The most notable one would be Rizal Park or Luneta Park in Manila which enshrines Filipino National Hero Jose Rizal. Considered one of Asia’s largest urban parks, it commemorates the site where Rizal was executed in 1896, fanning the flames of the Philippine revolution.

Marikina Shoe Museum. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.
Tree of Life in National Museum of Natural History. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Museum-hop to your heart’s content. There’s an exciting resurgence of interest in museums, and Metro Manila has an exciting roster of it. The National Museum of the Philippines’ circuit of museums in Manila is the grandest cluster of museums, both in scale and significance of collections. This includes the National Museum of Fine Art, National Museum of Anthropology, and the National Museum of Natural History, which is its most recent addition. For the young and young at heart, there’s the Museo Pambata in Ermita and the Mind Museum in Taguig, both of which have interactive exhibits and installations that give guests a fun, educational experience on topics that range from science to nature and the arts. There are also more niche museums in the metro, such as the Marikina Shoe Museum in Marikina, which houses historical artifacts that tell the story of Marikina’s famed shoe industry – as well as around 200 pairs of shoes that once belonged to former first lady Imelda Marcos. Quezon City also has Art in Island, which is a 3D art gallery filled with interactive trick-eye installations and optical illusions that let guests become part of the art.

Ortigas Park. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Urban parks and green zones. Green spaces are increasingly being sought after, especially in the city. Metro Manila’s urban parks and green spaces don’t only help keep the city’s temperature down, but also provide scenic spots where visitors can rest and appreciate their surroundings. La Mesa Ecopark in Quezon City is perhaps the biggest and most lush. Nestled in the natural boundary of the La Mesa Watershed Reservation, it has scenic biking and walking trails, a swimming area, an orchidarium, and a vast outdoor amphitheater which can host big events. The Valenzuela City People’s Park (VCPP) also offers a similar reprieve for the public. Spanning 1.5-hectares, it has public recreational spaces which include playgrounds, an amphitheater, and more. Even the highly urbanized business districts of Makati and Ortigas have a good mix of parks, such as the Greenbelt Park and Washington Sycip Park in Makati, and the Ortigas Park in Pasig.

Skyline and sunset views. Last but not the least, take a step back, zoom out, and see the beauty of the city from different modes of transport that let you see the amazing skyline and sunset. You can do this by hopping aboard different modes of transport with routes developed particularly for your enjoyment.

Discover more destinations to see, experience, and savor in Metro 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.