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Your guide to Manila
All About Manila
Located on the island of Luzon, along the shores of Manila Bay, the capital of the Philippines is home to nearly 14 million people and numerous significant cultural and historical sights. The ancient walled area of Intramuros, originally built by the Spanish in the 16th century, is the oldest part of the city, located at the mouth of the Pasig River. Centuries of Filipino history come to life as you walk along its cobblestone streets, where you’ll find historic buildings like the San Agustin Church, whose vaulted ceilings and frescoes withstood bombardment during WWII. The nearby National Museum of Anthropology showcases archeological and ethnological finds like the skullcap of an ancient ancestor, Tabon Man, who is believed to have lived in this area between 22,000-24,000 years ago. Manila considers itself home to the world’s oldest Chinatown, also established in the 16th century, which today has a vibrant culinary, shopping, and nightlife scene.
Makati, one of the newer parts of the city, features numerous skyscrapers, upscale shopping malls, and a diverse population representing different cultures and nationalities.
While there’s plenty to explore in Manila, you can easily plan day trips from the city to scenic and significant places like the World War II barracks on Corregidor Island, the beautiful gardens in nearby Tagaytay, or the thermal pools at Hidden Valley Springs.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Manila
Manila has warm temperatures throughout the year and like many other places in Southeast Asia, the rainy season and the dry season offer the most significant weather change. The rainy season usually lasts from June until October and can create non-stop rain every day or a short, heavy rainfall that is over in a half hour. Although this can make planning a little challenging at times, it is still an excellent time to visit as you may be able to get some pretty good deals on vacation houses near Manila. The dry season offers some of the best weather and makes it easy to visit all of the city’s main sights. However, if you are hoping to travel onward in the Philippines, keep in mind that the demand for vacation rentals and condos for rent may rise in popularity during this time of year.
Top things to do in Manila
Intramuros — the Spanish walled city of Manila — is the oldest district in the capital. This charmingly chaotic neighborhood is where many of the city’s historic sights are located, including San Agustin Church, Fort Santiago, Casa Manila, and the 16th-century Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. However, the district isn’t just a museum — it is a living, breathing city home to more than 6,000 people, and many of the families have lived in the area for generations.
Created in 1584 as a settlement for immigrants from China, most agree that Binondo is the world’s oldest Chinatown and one of the best spots in the city to get great Chinese food and Chinese products. The neighborhood is the site of many historical buildings. If you are interested in learning more about the influence of Chinese culture and immigration in the Philippines, be sure to visit the Museum of Chinese in Philippine Life.
Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex
The Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex (CCP) houses art galleries, performance theaters, and a cinema, and all are used to showcase Filipino arts. Located on Manila Bay, it is a beautiful place to watch the sunset before or after seeing a show.