Here’s an easy one to tick off – all you need to do is travel somewhere in the city. Manila’s Jeepneys are the legacy of the jeeps the Americans left behind after their occupation of the Philippines during WWII. The ‘jeepney’ quickly became one of Manila’s most popular forms of public transport and continues to be so until this day. The jeepneys are often painted with impressive artwork which adds to the vibrant feel of this bustling city. As for how to travel on one, it’s pretty much hop on and hop off the back of the jeepney!
There are plenty of fascinating historical sights in Manila but whittling it down to the essentials there are two absolute musts.
Built in 1593, Fort Santiago is now home to both a fort, a park, manicured gardens, a shrine, and a museum. It is partly so famous due to it being the execution place of José Rizal, a Fillipino rebel during Spanish colonial rule who is today considered the nation’s hero. Take a stroll around the fort’s extensive and often beautiful grounds then afterwards pay a visit to the Rizal Shrine to learn about Rizal’s life and why he is so important to the Philippines.
San Agustin Church is the jewel in the crown when it comes to the city’s historical architecture. Its construction dates back to the 16th century, don’t be fooled by its relatively modest exterior, its lavish interior is absolutely breath-taking. As a tip, make sure you don’t pass by the gardens found around the back!
Mad about your history? There’s plenty more spots well worth a visit. Casa Manila, Museum of the Filipino People and the Quezon Memorial Shrine are just a few sights we would recommend.
Whether it’s because you’re a foodie or a bargain hunter there are plenty of great markets serving both food and goods. The most popular and most famous of Manila’s markets is Divisoria Market. Whether you’re looking for fabric, art, clothes or just a tasty meal you’ll find it there (at a bargain price). If you’re a foodie then Soderno Night Food Market is a must, serving endless delicious dishes including rice pots, steak burgers, and the iconic Filipino adobo. If you’re lucky enough to be in the city on a Sunday then make sure you don’t miss Legazpi Market, it’s the biggest food market in the city and well worth a visit.
Foodies travelling on our Philippines tour can rest-assured we’ll get some authentic and tasty grub before leaving Manila!
A night-out in Manila is best done in one its specific neighbourhoods. Each one has plenty of bars and clubs and it saves you from having to make a journey in between. For an unpretentious, low budget night out then we’d recommend heading over to Poblacion. It’s got plenty of laid back pubs serving food and cheap drinks accompanied by its fair share of clubs and cocktail bars. For a more full-on club experience then you’re best heading over to The Palace. It’s still home to a few relaxed bars but also boasts some of the big beasts of Manila’s crazy club scene including Valkyrie and The Pool Club.
Manila is one of Asia’s growing art hubs with old warehouses turning into art galleries everyday (well, almost). Some fantastic contemporary galleries are scattered across the city but Makati is one of the best areas to go if you want to see a few at once. Vinyl on Vinyl provides an excellent display of pop culture art; Artinformal defines itself by bringing art and the city’s community closer together; and if you’re looking for something truly unconventional then Underground is definitely worth a visit!