Known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, historic Manila is filled with things to see and places to visit, such as parks, restaurants and shopping malls. As the capital of the Philippines, it’s also a great place to delve into the nation’s history at various museums.
Manila’s street-food markets and eclectic choice of restaurants have made it a favourite destination for foodies. You can sample traditional dishes like isaw (grilled chicken and pork intestines), Pinoy-style cheese sticks and kwek-kwek (battered quail eggs). For a typical sweet treat, head to a stand serving sorbetes – a style of ice cream made from coconut or powdered milk and cassava flour.
The oldest part of Manila is called Intramuros, which is Spanish for ‘within the walls’. Here, you’ll get a snapshot of the city under Spanish rule as you wander through this former fortress. Remnants of what was once the capital of the Spanish East Indies include the statue of King Carlos IV on Plaza de Roma, the restored Ayuntamiento building and the Puerta de Isabel II gate. You can learn more about the area’s captivating past at Fort Santiago, a 16th-century citadel featuring tranquil gardens, fountains and a museum dedicated to Philippine Revolution hero, Dr José Rizal. The district of Binondo is home to the world’s oldest Chinatown, where you can find many Chinese herbal stores and noodle houses. Architectural highlights include the wonderful Catholic church and the Buddhist temples of Seng Guan and Kuang Kong.