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Manila Travel Guide: An Excellent Guide to the World

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This Manila Travel Guide helps you make the most of your two days in the city. It features a well-crafted itinerary and a detailed travel budget.

Disclaimer: Some information in this Manila Guide changes too often. If you continue reading this article, you agree to cross-check information with concerned authorities. Please read the site’s full Terms.

Advisory: Please refer to Embassy of the Philippines regarding the country’s latest travel advisories before planning your trip.

Introduction

In his novel ‘Inferno’, Dan Brown described Manila as the ‘gates of hell’, which roused serious backlash against the author back in 2013. To be honest, I was deeply offended by his infamous remark that cast the city in a bad light.

Manila was once the ‘Paris of the East’ but it has since collapsed into a complete mess of a city. The city’s era of beauty and refinement is long gone. Hence, Manila has devolved into a hive of severe overcrowding, pollution, dreadful traffic, and fraudulent schemes.

I always caught myself returning to Manila for reasons other than just seeing the ruins of its splendor. Moreover, to see its transformations. Manila has undergone a string of rehabilitations over the years in an attempt to restore to its former glory.

Whenever I visit a new city, such as Singapore, I can’t help but hope that Manila will soon regain its long-lost allure. Moreover, I’m hopeful to see Manila as among the best best cities to visit in the near future.

Manila Travel Guide Contents

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Quick Fact About Manila

Manila, the Philippines’ capital,’ is among the 16 cities and lone municipality that constitute the Metropolitan Manila, or National Capital Region. Other cities, including Makati and Taguig, and the main gateways, Pasay and Parañaque, also form part of the region.

Visa in the Philippines

Holders of foreign passports intending to visit the Philippines should contact the Embassy of the Philippines regarding entry requirements. Otherwise, consult iVisa.com, a reputable and trusted visa service provider.

Travelers to the country must undergo stringent immigration procedures. Please read the article, ‘How to Avoid Getting Offloaded at Philippine Immigration?’

Standard Time in Manila

The Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC, in Manila is UTC +08:00.

Thus, Manila is four hours ahead of Dubai, six hours ahead of Paris, and seven hours ahead of London. Furthermore, Manila is twelve hours ahead of New York. Contrarily, Manila is an hour behind Tokyo and three hours behind Sydney.

Climate in Manila

Manila, such as the rest of the Philippines, has a tropical climate. The city has comparatively high temperatures and humidity, and excessive amounts of rainfall.

Best Time to Visit Manila

Manila has two distinctive seasons: the dry and wet seasons. Tropical storms are often lash out the city throughout the year. Hence, stay away from the typhoon-prone periods, as they may result in flooding.

December to May

The months from December until May are the dry season in Manila. Thus, it is an ideal time to visit the city, as there is a lesser chance of rain during these months.

While December to February offers a colder atmosphere, conversely, the months beginning March until May marks the scorching summer season.

Manila Travel Guide Tip: Christmas and Lent are two of the widely observed holidays in the Philippines. Thus, take a trip to the city during this time of the year to partake in the customary festivities of the Filipinos.

June to November

The wet season in Manila starts from June until November. Hence, typhoons and downpours frequently pounded the city. As a result, flooding and traffic jams are likely to experience during Manila’s rainy season.

Nevertheless, the city has several malls and indoor museums to visit in case of incessant rainfall.

Language in Manila

Manila’s widely used languages are Filipino, the standardized form of Tagalog, and English. Actually, the Philippines is among the world’s largest-speaking countries. However, a sizable fraction of the population still struggles with their English fluency. Hence, in conversations, locals utilized ‘Taglish,’ or Tagalog with English.

The Manileńos, or the Filipinos in general, are friendly people. It is therefore not difficult to ask for directions and most public signs are also displayed in English.

Here the essential Tagalog words and phrases to learn before your trip to Manila.

  • Magandang umaga – Good morning
  • Kamusta ka? – How are you?
  • Anong pangalan mo? – What is your name?
  • Paumanhin – Sorry
  • Maari bang magtanong? – Can I ask you something?
  • Nasaan ang istasyon ng tren? – Where is the train station?
  • Salamat – Thank you
  • Pasintabi – Excuse me
  • Magkano? – How much?
  • Maari bang makahingi ng tawad? – Can you give me a discount?
  • Ilan? – How many?
  • Paalam – Goodbye

Manila Travel Guide Fact: Manila obtained its name from the indigofera plant, or ‘nila,’ a blooming shrub that copiously grows in the ancient kingdom. Hence the term ‘may nila,’ which refer to the place with indigo plant.

Currency in Manila

The Philippine peso, abbreviated as PHP, is the official currency of the Philippines. As of March 8, 2023, the exchange rate is PHP 1.00, or USD 0.018.

Manila Travel Guide Tip: Convert your currency to Philippine peso in downtown Manila. Money changers in the city center offer more competitive currency rates than in airports.

Otherwise, convert just enough cash at the destination’s airport to cover the fare to the city center. 

Modes of Payment in Manila

Besides cash, bank cards and stored-value card are accepted as forms of payment in Manila.

Cash

Payment with hard cash is the most common practice, as most establishments in Manila, such as small-scale retailers, accept cash. In case you run out of money, automated teller machines are spread out around the city.

Debit and Credit Cards

Bank cards, such as debit and credit cards, are an alternative method of payment for purchases made at restaurants and retail establishments. Upscale facilities, like hotels, however, accept only certain cards and cash.

Stored Value Cards

Using the Beep card is a convenient way to pay fares in trains and selected buses. Also, it is accepted for other retail transactions in some convenience stores in Manila.

Beep cards are sold at train stations, point-to-point bus terminals, select online channels, and partner convenience shops. The physical e-card costs PHP 30.00 or USD 0.54, without load, and is rechargeable at the rail stations’ customer service counters, and vending machines.

Ways of Getting to Manila

The Philippines is an archipelagic country of 7,641 islands, which includes the largest island, Luzon, where Manila is located. It is encircled by vast bodies of water and is only reachable via air and sea. Air travel is the fastest route to reach the Philippines from various parts of the world.

Manila is situated in the westward portion of Metro Manila. The capital shares borders with Navotas, Caloocan, and Quezon City, from the north, and Mandaluyong and San Juan from the east. Pasay and Makati, on the other hand, surround Manila from the south, while Manila Bay fronts Manila from the West.

By Air

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport, or NAIA, situated between Pasay and Parañaque is the primary gateway and the closest airport to Manila. Additionally, it is also accessible from Clark International Airport in Angeles for arrivals via flight.

Pasay to Manila

Manila is around 9 kilometers from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, or approximately an hour’s journey. At present, there are no rail transits that link the airport and downtown Manila. Thus, embark on a shuttle service to reach Pasay Bus Terminal or Cubao and make additional transfers. Instead, hop on the pricier taxis, which head directly to point of interest.

Pampanga to Manila

Arrivals from the Clark International Airport in Angeles, Pampanga may choose to board the Genesis Point-to-Point Bus Service. The entire trip takes roughly three hours to reach TriNoma in Quezon City, and a single-journey ticket is PHP 280.00, or USD 5.04.

From Quezon City, board on various transport forms to reach Manila in less than an hour.

By Water

Set sail on a luxurious yet pleasurable and more relaxed cruise trip. Numerous cruise lines offer a leisurely voyage to Manila and some other destinations in the Philippines.

Getting Around Manila

Manila’s transportation system is among the worst, in contrast to the dependable transport networks of Hong Kong. It ranked 58th among the 60 cities based on the ‘2022 Urban Mobility Readiness Index.’

Among the factors contributing to Manila’s poor transportation system are below par roads, lack and deteriorating transport infrastructure, and a dearth of accessible routes. As such, getting around Manila can be difficult, even with the several transit options available on the metro’s congested highways.

However, Metro Manila’s public transportation system is currently undergoing upgrades. The construction of additional rail lines, including the metro’s first subway, and the skyways are a few significant developments. Also, the jeepney modernization is underway, while a number of water buses are now in service.

Manila Travel Guide Reminder: Trains, buses, and jeepneys are overfull during the rush hours. Hence, the busiest time is between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on weekdays.

Train

Manila is among the most heavily-trafficked cities in the world. Thus, embarking on a train ride is an alternative to get rid of the congested thoroughfares.

Light Rail Transit

As of this writing, Metro Manila has two light rail transits in service: the LRT Line 1 and LRT Line 2. However, the former line has extensive coverage within Manila. The LRT 1 runs parallel between Baclaran Station in Pasay, a dozen station in Manila, and FPJ Station in Quezon City.

Manila’s main tourist sites, such as Luneta Park, are a stone’s throw from the LRT Line 1 stations. Typically, the hours of operation are between 4:30 a.m. and 10:15 p.m., daily. The minimum fee, on the other hand, is PHP 13.00 or USD 0.23.

PNR Commuter Line

The PNR Metro Commuter Line, inaugurated in 1970, is a passenger train service under the Philippine National Railways. Two lines are presently in operation: the Metro North and Metro South lines, which link Metro Manila and Laguna. Moreover, it is interconnected to some stations on LRT lines 1 and 2 and the Metro Rail Transit, serving the region’s main thoroughfare.

Operating hours are usually between 5:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., daily. Whereas the PHP 15.00 or USD 0.27 minimum fare applies.

Bus

City buses are an alternative option in places where rail service is not available. Metro Manila buses has a number of routes, which links the cities of the region as well as their neighboring provinces.

Public Bus

Metro Manila’s public buses are classified as air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned. The air-conditioned buses provide greater comfort than ordinary buses, but the fare is slightly higher.

Bus routes in several cities, such as Osaka, are displayed in numbers or codes. While in Manila, the exact names of destinations are displayed on the buses’ signboards.

As of October 2023, the minimum fare is PHP 15.00 or USD 0.27. Senior citizens, students, and persons with disabilities are entitled a fare discount.

Manila Travel Guide Reminder: How do I get on and get off the bus in Manila? Most buses in Manila has single door. Enter at the front door and grab an available seat.

Then wait until the bus conductor collects your fare aboard. As you get closer your destination, go up close to the front door and get off the bus as soon as it stops.

Tourist Bus

A recent addition to Manila’s transportation network is the Metro Manila Hop-On Hop-Off Tourist Bus, or simply the Metro Manila HOHO. The escorted tour offers sightseers a hassle-free touring experience, much like Singapore, which also provides this excursion service.

Sightseers can tailor-make their itineraries with the Metro Manila HOHO service based on their preferences. It passes through several well-liked tourist sites, such as Binondo and Intramuros, as excursionists relish the cozy seats aboard.

Van

Colloquially referred to as ‘FX,’ vans are a white-colored utility vehicle express that is designed to carry 14 to 18 passengers. It is equipped with air-conditioning and has become one of the most preferred transportation options for the commuting public.

Passenger vans follow a predetermined route and fetch passengers en route. The fares, on the other hand, vary according to the distance traveled.

Taxi

Although more expensive than other transports available in Manila, taxis are a convenient and quicker method to reach your destination. For certain reasons, it is also an alternate means of transportation.

For commuters who are traveling in a group or with excessive baggage, the city cabs are well-recommended. In addition, a great number of taxis are stationed nearly everywhere and are available around the clock.

Airport Taxi

Given their reliability and condition, airport taxis are without a doubt the priciest taxi service in Metro Manila. This metered and yellow-colored utility vehicle is meant to transfer passengers from the airport to their intended destination.

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport has taxi stands outside each of its 4 terminals, which are in the airport’s departure and arrival zones. Flag down rate, which is PHP 75.00 or USD 1.35, is nearly twice as much as the cost of a standard cab. There is a fee of PHP 4.00 or USD 0.072 for every additional 300 meters or each two minutes of waiting time.

Coupon Taxi

A coupon taxi is another alternative transport service between the airport and a desired location. As the name implies, this taxi service hands out a dispatch slips to their passengers, which indicates the service’s predetermined fare.

Just like the airport cab, coupon taxis wait in line each of the airport arrival curb sides. Also, it is recognized through the designated kiosk situated close to the taxi stands.

Regular Taxi

A regular taxi is the most common service of its kind in Metro Manila. These metered taxis are painted white with markings that indicate the operator’s name and the vehicle identification number.

Countless taxis are in operation across the metro and are parked in side streets, close to malls, and at the airport. At present, the flag down fee is set at PHP 45.00 or USD 8.02 and charge an additional PHP 13.50 or USD 0.24 for each succeeding kilometers. Additionally, PHP 2.00 or USD 0.036 is charge for every minute of waiting.

Manila Travel Guide Tip: A number of commuters in Metro Manila disfavor the use of regular cabs for various reasons. Poor maintained vehicles, fraud, and picky cab drivers are among the factors why commuters prefer a ride-hailing service, like Grabcars.

Ferry

In response to Manila’s gridlocked traffic, the Pasig River Ferry Service was launched in 2007 as an alternative form of transportation. The waterborne passenger transit cruises through the Pasig River and passes by four cities: Pasig, Makati, Mandaluyong, and Manila.

At present, the ferry service has 11 stations in service, which links Pinagbuhatan and Escolta. Escolta, an old shopping street in Manila, is among the historically important sites that are close to the ferry station.

The Pasig River Ferry Service is open from Monday through Saturday between 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. At the time of writing, the ferry service offers free rides.

Jeepney

Once known as the ‘King of the Road,’ the Philippine jeepney is the most widely used form of transport. In addition, it is among the nation’s iconic symbols.

Jeepney, a combination of ‘jeep’ and ‘jitney,’ has originated from scraps of U.S. military jeeps after the World War II. It then evolved into a passenger vehicle encased in sheet metal and steel with eye-catching graphic designs. With two extended parallel benches facing one another, this open-air utility vehicle can hold up to eighteen passengers.

Aside from the traditional jeepneys, numerous of modern, or electronic jeepneys, are also in operation today. They are cheap transit option, which follow a particular route. The minimum fare for traditional and modern jeepneys is PHP 13.00 or USD 0.23 and PHP 15.00 or USD 0.27, respectively.

On the other hand, for every succeeding 4 kilometers, an additional PHP 1.80 or USD 0.032 is charged for conventional jeepneys. While the modern jeepneys cost PHP 2.20 or USD 0.040 for each 4 kilometers traveled.

Manila Travel Guide Reminder: How do I get on and get off the jeepney in Manila? For conventional jeepneys, embark at the rear door and grab a seat. Relay your fare down to the passengers ahead of you until it reaches the driver in front. As you near your location, utter, ‘Para!,’ or ‘Stop!.’ Then disembark as soon as it stops.

Trike

A trike is a motorized, or peddle-powered, three-wheeled utility vehicle with a roofed sidecar or passenger seats. Much like the auto rickshaw of Bangkok, Manila has its own variations, such as tricycle, electronic trike, and ‘pedicab.’

Trikes in Manila fit 2 to 7 passengers and can be hailed for short-distance locations. It is a cheap mode of transportation. Thus, it charges a minimum fare of PHP 16.00 or USD 0.29 for the first kilometer and PHP 5.00 or USD 0.090 for the succeeding 500 meters traveled. The e-trike’s flat fee, on the other hand, is set at PHP 20.00 or USD 0.36.

Carriage

Kalesa, karitela, or tartanilla are two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage and was first introduced in the 1700s. Under Spanish colonial rule, it acted as the primary method of transportation and is now mainly utilized for tourism.

This visually appealing traditional transport is found along Manila’s main thoroughfares and the streets of Intramuros and Luneta. It is a delightful means to get around the city with its canopied seats that can fit up to 6 passengers. A 30-minute ride costs PHP 500,00 or USD 8.99.

Areas to Stay in Manila

Manila’s tourism has suffered considerably over the years due to bad reputation. Thus, the city has solely served as a transit zone for tourists, traveling to Bohol, Coron, and other island destinations in the Philippines.

Manila is undertaking major rehabilitations to boost its tourism sector, which has resulted in a rise in tourists. A multitude of lodging options, like chains of budget hotels and condotels, have made rooms available for more visitors.

The city of Manila occupies a land area of 42.34 square kilometers and is separated into 16 administrative districts. In addition to its wealth of tourist spots, Quiapo, Binondo, Intramuros, Ermita, and Malate are among the areas with the highest concentration of lodging facilities.

Quiapo

Positioned in the heart of Manila, Quiapo is home to one of the city’s most revered Catholic churches, the Quiapo Church. The minor basilica holds the Black Nazarene, which draws hordes of devotees across the Philippines.

Retail establishments and independent vendors flock around Quiapo Church, which makes this area a haven for deal hunters and cheap eats.

Binondo

Referred to as Chinatown, Binondo is the hub of trade and commerce in Manila. The vibrant area has diverse enterprises run by Filipino-Chinese merchants.

Aside from the variety of retail shops lining up along the lively streets, Binondo is also a place to indulge in gastronomic treats. Thus, many restaurants in Chinatown serve distinct tastes of both Filipino and Chinese cuisines.

Intramuros

Next to Binondo, Intramuros is the second-smallest administrative district in Manila. It is home to a plenteous Spanish-colonial buildings clustered in a less than square kilometers aged-old walled city.

Contrary to the city’s abundance of historical and culturally important landmarks, Intramuros also hosts a few lodging options. Hence, make an early reservation to Bayleaf Intramuros to draw closer to Manila’s centuries-old district.

Ermita

Lies southeast of Intramuros, Ermita serves as the seat of government in Manila, where the Manila City Hall is situated. The neighborhood boasts a myriad tourist spots and attractions, including several museums, and the Rizal Park.

Ermita has an extensive selection of hotels and inns, and most of these lodging facilities are along Roxas Boulevard. For a taste of heritage hospitality, reserve a room at the Philippines’ oldest hotel, The Manila Hotel.

Malate

The district of Malate, located southward of Ermita, is an infamous spot for nightlife. Along with Ermita, it is also referred to as Manila’s ‘Red Light District,’ brimming with nightclubs and bars.

Manila Travel Guide Tip: A broad range of accommodation options are available in nearby cities, including Parañaque, Pasay, Makati, Taguig, Mandaluyong, Pasig, and Quezon City. In contrast to Manila’s wealth of historical sites, these central business districts are filled with towering buildings and sizable malls.

Internet in Manila

The Philippines has significantly improved the efficiency and usability of the country’s internet-based infrastructures. In Manila, free internet access is available in hotels, shopping malls, cafés, etc.

Power Adaptor in Manila

Manila operates on a 220 V supply voltage with a frequency of 60 Hz and commonly uses a type of power adaptor:

  • A or has two flat parallel pins

Manila Travel Guide Itinerary

Manila Travel Guide Highlights: Sights and Attractions in Manila
Highlights: National Museum of Natural History, Rizal Park, Intramuros, and Binondo

Day 1 - Ermita

Manila Travel Guide Reminder: It takes about 860 meters to walk from point A to point B

Flight to Manila
07:10 am – 08:10 am Arrival at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, clear (immigration) and customs checkpoint, and proceed to airport’s taxi stands.
08:10 am – 09:00 am Head to Ermita

  • From Ninoy Aquino International Airport
  • Take a taxi or grabcar
  • Alight at accommodation

09:00 am – 10:30 am Confirm reservation and check-in at the Manila Prince Hotel, and have breakfast

Manila Travel Guide Tip: Alternatively, stay in a hostel. A hostel is an inexpensive lodging facility that provides basic amenities, such as bunk beds and shared bathrooms. Thus, if you are on a tight budget, book a hostel in Manila.

10:30 am – 10:40 am Walk toward National Museum of Natural History
10:40 am – 12:25 pm Explore the National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History is a six-story museum that exhibits a vast collection of floras, faunas, and geological samples. Erected in 1941, the restored neoclassical style edifice house the former agriculture, commerce, and tourism departments.

In 2017, the building was inaugurated as the permanent museum for natural history. Its main draw is the ‘tree of life’ framework that stands tall at the museum’s central hall.

The National Museum of Natural History is open from Tuesday until Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Access is free for both local and foreign visitors.

12:25 pm – 01:25 pm Have lunch
01:25 pm – 01:30 pm Walk toward Rizal Park
01:30 pm – 03:15 pm Explore Rizal Park

Rizal Park

Situated at the eastern seaboard of Manila Bay, Rizal Park, or Luneta, is a 58-hectare urban park and among the largest in Asia. The public park has wide lawn spaces and paved pathways, and features botanical gardens, a musical fountain, and an open air auditorium.

It’s most recognizable landmark, the Rizal Monument, was inaugurated in 1913 to honor the valor of the Philippines’ national hero, Jose Rizal.

03:15 pm – 03:20 pm Walk toward National Museum of Anthropology
03:20 pm – 05:05 pm Explore the National Museum of Anthropology

National Museum of Anthropology

Located next to National Museum of Natural History is a neoclassical-inspired building that houses the National Museum of Anthropology. It is a five-story building that holds a collection of archaeological and ethnological artifacts.

The National Museum of Anthropology is open to the public from Tuesday through Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. up until 6:00 p.m. Admission is free for both local and foreign visitors.

05:05 pm – 05:10 pm Walk toward National Museum of Fine Arts
05:10 pm – 07:00 pm Explore the National Museum of Fine Arts

National Museum of Fine Arts

The National Museum of Fine Arts is an art museum that showcases exquisite works of celebrated Filipino visual artists. It houses a wealth of paintings, sculptures, and other forms of artworks.

Juan Luna’s world-renowned work of art is one of the pieces on exhibit in the fine arts museum. ‘Spoliarium,’ a realist piece of art, bagged the grand prize at the ‘Exposicion de Bellas Artes’ in Madrid in 1884.

The National Museum of Fine Arts is open from Tuesday until Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The entrance is free for local and foreign visitors.

07:00 pm – 07:10 pm Head to LRT U.N. Station

  • From National Museum of Fine Arts
  • Walk toward Taft Avenue
  • Take a jeepney, trike, van, or bus towards Taft, Buendia, MOA etc.
  • Alight at LRT U.N. Station

07:10 pm – 09:00 pm Have dinner and walk toward accommodation
09:00 pm – 10:00 pm Prepare for sleep
10:00 pm Sleep

Day 2 - Intramuros, Binondo, & Quiapo

Manila Travel Guide Reminder: It takes around 1.5 kilometers to walk from point A to point B. Otherwise, hail a pedicab or a taxi to get from one place to another.

06:00 am – 08:00 am Wake up, prepare for the tour, and have breakfast
08:00 am – 08:30 am Head to Intramuros

  • From accommodation
  • Walk toward LRT U.N. Station
  • Take a jeepney, trike, van, or bus towards Quiapo, Espana, Fairview etc.
  • Alight at Manila City Hall or Bonifacio Shrine
  • Walk toward Intramuros through Lagusnilad Underpass

Manila Travel Guide Trivia: The aerial view of Manila City Hall resembles a coffin.

08:30 am – 01:30 pm Explore Intramuros and have lunch

Intramuros

Established in 1571, Intramuros, or ‘within the walls’ in Spanish, is a fortified city of 0.67 square kilometers. The centuries-old settlement was constructed to fence the city from outside aggression.

During the Spanish dominion, it served as the seat of power, religion, and education. Thus, Spanish colonial architecture is evident in the walled city, where structures are laid out in grid patterns.

The compact district is home to a wealth of tourist attractions, including Manila Cathedral, Casa Manila MuseumBaluarte de San Diego, and Fort Santiago. Amidst the age-old district lies the country’s oldest Catholic church, San Agustin Church.

A Must-Eat in Manila: Tinolang Manok is a traditional Filipino comfort food and one of the most well-liked soup recipes. The chicken soup dish is spiced with onions, garlic, and ginger, and simmered in slices of unripe papaya and green leafies, such as malunggay.

Tinolang Manok was mentioned in the highly influential novel of Dr. Jose Rizal, ‘Noli Me Tangere.’

Want to explore Intramuros in a more enjoyable way? Join a bambike tour or electric chariot tour. Instead, embark on a walking tour around Intramuros and experience a slice of Europe in the heart of Manila. Reserve a slot now!

01:30 pm – 01:50 pm Head to Binondo

  • From Fort Santiago
  • Walk towards Binondo via Magallanes Drive or Riverside Drive, Jones Bridge, and Quintin Paredes Road

01:50 pm – 05:00 pm Explore Binondo and have snacks

Binondo

Binondo, established in 1594, is the world’s oldest Chinatown. Also, the Chinese enclave is Manila’s smallest administrative district, at 0.26 square miles.

This close-packed yet vibrant area is filled with establishments, while most shops are aligned along the vibrant Ongpin Street. It draws hordes of foodies and shoppers for its wide array of Chinese restaurants and specialty shops, selling charms and gold jewelry pieces.

Binondo is also home to several churches. The Binondo Church, situated near the Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz, is a Catholic church built to serve the growing population of Christian-converted Chinese.

Adjacent to Chinatown’s ‘Arch of Goodwill’ lies Escolta, which is among the oldest streets in Manila. Since its founding in 1594, it has thrived as a foremost commercial district, home to neoclassical, beaux art, and art deco buildings.

05:00 pm – 05:10 pm Head to Quiapo

  • From Escolta Street
  • Walk towards Quiapo via Carriedo Street and F.R. Hidalgo Street

05:10 pm – 08:00 pm Explore Quiapo, have dinner, and grab souvenirs

Quiapo

The thriving district of Quiapo is situated at the heart of Manila, thus referred to as downtown Manila. Its main draw, the Quiapo Church, is frequented by Black Nazarene devotees.

Surrounding Quiapo’s notable monument are retail establishments, food stands, and stalls, which flood the immediate vicinity. Hence, it is a great place for endless bargain hunting and food crawling.

Manila Travel Guide Reminder: Be mindful! Fraud and theft are a common occurrence in Quiapo.

08:00 pm – 08:30 pm Head to accommodation

  • From Quiapo Church
  • Walk toward LRT Carriedo Station
  • Take the LRT 1 toward Baclaran Station
  • Alight at LRT U.N. Station
  • Walk toward accommodation

08:30 pm – 09:30 pm Prepare for sleep
09:30 pm Sleep

Manila Travel Guide Tip: Is your two days in Manila not enough? Well, give yourself an extra day to discover other interesting places within and outside the city.

  • Plunge into the wonders of the marine world. Explore Manila Ocean Park and see at close range diverse marine and avian species.
  • Do you like visiting amusement parks? Buckle up your seat belts and embark on a variety of fun and thrilling rides at the SM by the Bay Amusement Park
  • Make a quick excursion to Rizal’s Treasure Mountain and expect calming vistas of the surrounding scenery and sea of clouds.
  • Tagaytay, anyone? See the unhindered views of Taal Volcano and the lake that encircles the world’s smallest volcano.
  • Fall in love with Pagsanjan Falls. Take a boat ride to discover Laguna’s hidden treasure.
  • Detour to Villa Escudero Plantation and Resort to experience the richness of Filipino culture.

Day 3 - Manila Departure

04:30 am – 06:15 am Wake up, Prepare for departure, have breakfast, and early hotel check out
06:15 am – 07:05 am Head to Ninoy Aquino International Airport

  • From accommodation
  • Take a taxi or grabcar
  • Alight at Ninoy Aquino International Airport

07:05 am – 10:05 am Arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, check in, clear (immigration) and customs checkpoint, prepare for departure, and boarding
10:05 am Departure from Manila

Manila Travel Guide Tip: Where to next? Fasten your seat belt and we are heading to the beautiful island of Siargao.

Budget for Manila Trip

Here’s an estimated budget, PHP 6,646.00, for two days and two nights in Manila. However, cost may still vary depending on your travel lifestyle. For more thrift tips, consider several ways to save money for your next trip.

Below is the Manila travel guide budget for your reference. Note: The round-trip flight is not yet included.

Pre-Departure

  • 2D2N accommodation with free breakfasts, PHP 5,000.00
  • Casa Manila Museum admission ticket, PHP 75.00
  • Fort Santiago entry ticket, PHP 75.00

1st Day

  • Ninoy Aquino International Airport to hotel via taxi, PHP 350.00
  • Breakfast, PHP 150.00
  • Lunch, PHP 150.00
  • National Museum of Fine Arts to LRT U.N. Station via jeepney, PHP 13.00
  • Dinner, PHP 150.00

2nd Day

  • LRT U.N. Station to Manila City Hall via jeepney, PHP 13.00
  • Lunch, PHP 150.00
  • Dinner, PHP 150.00
  • LRT Carriedo Station to LRT U.N. Station via train – single-journey ticket, PHP 20.00

3rd Day

  • Hotel to Ninoy Aquino International Airport via taxi, PHP 350.00

Manila Travel Guide Resources

To help you with your travel plans, I’ve gathered a checklist of carefully chosen travel resources. These are the trusted online marketplaces that I highly endorse because of their excellent deals.

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Looking for an easy-peasy solution to process your visa application and other travel docs, consult iVisa!

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SafetyWing covered you with their travel medical and health insurance solutions while away from home. 

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The sky is the limit with Skyscanner if you are looking for better and cheaper flight options for your next trip.

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Make a reservation to one of the most extensive hotels booking services – Agoda. It offers unmatched hotel deals!

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Explore the world with HostelWorld! Book a hostel and share a space with newfound buddies. 

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Drive your way to undiscovered places! Book a car via Discover Cars and experience hassle-free road trips. 

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Want to visit your favorite theme park or museum? For discounted attraction tickets and tours, look for Klook!

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For transfers from point A to point B, go for 12Go! It has extensive coverage of ground transports and ferries, too.

Manila Travel Guide Question: What is the oldest church in the Philippines?

Please drop your answers or messages in the comment section. Thank you, and see you on the road!

traveledictorian-blogger

About the Author

J. Sac is the author of ‘Manila Travel Guide: An Excellent Guide to the World.’ He is also the founder of Traveledictorian – a travel blog that publishes well-thought-out travel content. 

His passion for writing, photography, and travel fueled him to explore Asia and the rest of the world. He also plans to undertake humanitarian work in his travels. Read his inspiring story and follow him on social media!

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