“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.” –Author Unknown
Known to be the Philippines’ major metropolis and a progressing capital, Metro Manila continues to get flak for being plagued by perpetual traffic and gripped by pollution. Its reputation for being a cultural and sightseeing ground has down the city no favors as tourists all over the world still regard the place as nothing more than a jumping point for visiting the country’s other much revered provinces. However, one should not quickly dismiss this city as despite getting flak from even its own residents and its rather subpar reputation, it has a lot to offer in terms of culture, adventure and history. The city itself is a melting pot of cultures all over the world with foreign expats themselves calling the major metropolis their home. With cosmopolitan values abound, it is rather inevitable for Manila to rise up with renewed vitality and self-confidence. Today, it has generated somewhat of a buzz for having the best art galleries, nightlife hotspots and new waves of restaurants.
So, if you have ever thought of visiting the Philippines, make a detour at the capital city and below are some things to do in Manila in order for you to fill up your travel itinerary.
1. See the Gorgeous Sunsets in Manila Bay
Metro Manila’s constant pollution dilemma does little to tarnish the wonderful view painted by Manila Bay—especially during sunrises and sunsets. Remarkably, at times the pollution even plays a hand in enhancing the visual aesthetics. With the smoggy clouds sending light and colour bouncing all over the entire block, you have for yourself a quite picturesque view of the sunset. While the element of pollution might make for an unorthodox way to appreciate nature’s gift, it is certainly undeniable that it is not quite like the other sunsets you can enjoy in other places of the world.
2. Immerse Yourself in Culture at Intramuros
The Philippines was once a Spanish colony—in fact, it was the only former Spanish colony which makes the country rather intriguing for tourists seeing as the remnants from this era are still very much evident today. Intramuros used to be a Spanish bastion stationed in Manila and the cobblestone steps as well as the carriages drawn up by horses would all add to the allure and charm of this historical place.
3. Incredibly Diverse Art Scene
Metro Manila has a rather eclectic art scene. There are some individuals who favor conceptual art and would have art galleries, museums and even cafes dedicated to this craft while there are some who favor the more traditional and classic one. Regardless of what your taste for art might be, there is a likely chance that you will appreciate the incredibly diverse art scene Manila has to offer.
4. Visit Manila’s Museum
Every city has its own fair share of museums, but as the country’s capital, Manila gets the privilege of having not just one, but rather a string of various museums with different themes. If you wish to find out more of the Filipinos’ history and look at pre-Hispanic artifacts, visit the National Museum of the Filipino People. Highlighting his extraordinary life and also to serve as homage to his heroic act, a Rizal Shrine museum dedicated to the Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal can be found in Intramuros. However, if you wish to see something more offbeat and quirky, take a gander at Imelda Marcos’s infamous shoe collection. The notorious former first lady of the Philippines was known for her affinity for shoes that the term “Imeldefic” was coined because of her.
5. Take a Glimpse at the Local Chinatown
Known to be the oldest Chinatown in the world, Binondo district is an excellent place for you to get a feel of old Manila’s atmosphere with a unique twist. The streets are decorated with traditional Chinese lanterns and along them is a series of shops selling some of the best Chinese wares. From Buddhist paraphernalia to delicious Hokkien food, you are guaranteed to have an enjoyable time in this Chinese district.