When you visit Manila, the Philippines' capital, with its diversity, irrepressible vitality and a large collection of architectural and cultural landmarks, you will never pass even a single day without having something to do or somewhere to go! In addition, you will definitely love Manila’s all-heady and rich cultural mix of traditional Filipino, Malay, Chinese, Spanish, American and even Arabic influences. First of all, though, remember to take care of your budget by using coupons for Hotels.com to get attractive discounts on the flights and accommodation. And when planning the itinerary, look at our guide below on what to do in Manila and in its adjacent cities as you tour:
1. Enjoy a Tour of the Dynastic Museums
Visit the two museums, Ayala and Yuchengco, located just one block away from each other and get all the insights you would like to know about the way of life, traditions and family structures characteristic of the Filipino people. The various conglomerates filling the city of Manila are owned by powerful and influential clans whose ancient histories are inseparable from that of the city itself. The Ayala Museum was founded by the Zóbel de Ayala family while the Yuchengco Museum was established by a former U.N. ambassador.
2. Visit the Intramuros
This is a 64-hectare stone citadel built by the Spanish in the late 16th century. The architectural masterpiece has endured numerous natural disasters, extreme weather conditions, wars and successive droves of colonial invaders to stand tall as the modern metaphor for the city of Manila. You can best explore it during the early morning hours before temperatures outside it have reached unbearable levels, and then pass by the colonial-style villa Ilustrado for some heavy breakfast of buttery ensaymada and Spanish-style hot chocolate.
3. Shop at the Divisoria Market
While visiting the Philippines, and more so when you are in Manila, the Divisoria Market is one place you can’t afford to skip. This is a market where you can purchase everything from fresh produce to artifacts. The market is popular for its super bargains and you can almost get whatever you want to buy in the Philippines here at the most affordable prices. Only beware of pickpockets, especially on crowded market days!
4. Tour the Manila Contemporary
The Manila Contemporary is a slicing edge of the city of Manila's art scene and is found along Chino Roces Avenue. It consistently hosts top world-class exhibitions from both inside the Philippines and around Asia and the world. The Silverlens Exhibition Center is also located nearby and exhibits some of the most splendid photography, video and installation work that you can find anywhere in Asia.
5. Worship at the Magnificent Greenbelt Chapel
The Philippines is a predominantly Roman Catholic country (reflecting another legacy of the long Spanish colonization). Attending mass at the splendid Greenbelt Chapel in Makati will definitely be a fantastic tour for Catholic visitors. However, the prominent domed chapel also incorporates a luxury shopping complex that intriguingly brings to bed Christianity and the commercialism of modern capitalism. As you attend Mass and atone for your sins, you can also do a lot of shopping, including for various art items.
6. Finally, the Marikina Shoe Museum!
This is another place that fascinates Westerners a lot. At the Marikina Shoe Museum, you will find the footwear of the former dictator of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos’ wife and highly controversial First Lady, Imelda Marcos. The museum is located in the heart of the shoemaking district of Metro Manila, Marikina City, and is a good area to finish your tour by visiting and beholding her size-81/2 collection for yourself!
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