Manila is the capital city of the Philippines and is second in population only to Quezon City, while Metro Manila is the seat of the government of the Philippines. Metro Manila is made up of sixteen cities that have a combined population of over 20 million making it the most densely populated city in the world and one of the most populous metro cities in the entire world.
There are many attractions throughout Manila including San Agustin Church which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 45 different cultural landmarks, the resort complex of Resorts World Manila and Manila Ocean Park.
Numerous shopping malls cover Metro Manila which has 3 of the worlds 10 largest shopping malls and is known as one of Asia’s top shopping hubs. In addition to the malls, there are many large shopping districts such as Ortigas Center, Bonifacio Global City and in the area’s trendiest city, Makati, one can shop at the upscale Glorietta and Greenbelt shopping complexes.
Manila can be very chaotic as could be expected of the world’s densest metropolis. New developments rise from the ground into the skys almost daily swallowing up rice fields and small communities in the growth.
While many people pass through Manila on their way to more tranquil parts of the country, the Philippines’ capital itself has many worthy tourist spots.
Metro Manila Cities
Quezon City is both Metro Manila’s and the Philippines’ most populous and most wealthy city. The Philippines’ national university, The University of the Philippines Diliman and Ateneo de Manila University are based in Quezon City.
Manila City – the capital of the Philippines attracts over 1 million tourists each year. The National Museum of the Philippines, the Manila Zoo, Rizal Park and the walled city of Intramuros are some of the top draws to Manila.
Caloocan Caloocan lies directly north of the City of Manila and west of Quezon City and is Metro Manila’s third most populous city.
Makati is the high class and wealthy financial center of the Philippines. Most of the country’s largest skyscrapers are located here along with upscale shopping districts.
The other cities that make up Metro Manila are Pasig, Taguig, Pananaque, Valenzuela, Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, Marikina, Pasay, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Navotas and San Juan.
Manila Tourist Attractions
Manila Ocean Park – This park has a spectacular view of the bay. It’s oceanarium has several species of sharks, many marine animals which are found around the Philippines, 8 tanks of freshwater fish and a large number of stingrays. The park has a sea lion show, penguin exhibit, an area for visitors to go snorkeling and diving, a marine-themed mall with 25 different restaurants, the Concourse Plaza which holds performances, product launches and concerts and the Philippines tallest musical fountain which shoots water 120 feet into the air behind live performances.
Corregidor Island – This island is a must see when visiting Manila. It is the largest of 5 island between Cavite and It is nicknamed “the Rock” because during World War II, it acted as a major stonghold for the Philippines Allies. It was the last stand against the Japanese and today is a well preserved battle site. The tour is comfortable and well organized and certainly worth looking into as a day trip.
Intramuros – This is the wall citied that sits right in the heart of Manila which was the seat of power during the Spanish era. A tour of Intramuros gives one insight into the history of the Philippines. The execution of one of the Philippines’ most famous heroes, Jose Rizal, took place right there at the old Fort Santiago.
San Agustin Church – Located within the walled city of Intramuros is one of the oldest church from the Spanish era. It is designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Taal Volcano – This volcano is situated about 37 miles(60 kilometers) south of the capital. No major eruprions have affected the surrounding villags and areas since 1965. It is located in the nearby Cavite area.
Rizal Park – With 53 hectares of land, Rizal park is the largest urban park area in all of Asia. The park is a sanctuary where one can walk around and experience serenity and peace. There are world class sculptures, beautiful gardens and art exhibits.
Malacanang Palace & Museum – This is the official home and workplace of the president of the Philippines. There is a museum which can be toured where you can see relics from pass presidents of the country.