To some people, Manila is one of the most Americanized cities in Southeast Asia cities. However, it still retains enough history, culture, and traditions to make it remarkably unique. The capital of the Philippines is a charming and dynamic cosmopolitan region which consists of five municipalities and a dozen cities to make up the metropolitan Manila area.
Unfortunately, the city suffered bombing damage during the Second World War and has also lived through several natural disasters throughout the years. This has resulted in the architecture being a very interesting eclectic mix. You’ll find brand new shopping malls sitting next to decades-old houses and street-vendors selling local food outside of the city’s fabulous five-star hotels. It’s definitely an excellent location to visit if you want to see the old world live in harmony with the new one. The people are very friendly and exude a great deal of spirit and charm.
Manila was originally colonized first by Spain, and then America, and you can see a variety of influences from these two nations, especially when it comes to architecture, entertainment, and even shopping. Even though a lot of historical attractions were wiped out in the war there is planet of reminders of Manila’s rich economic, religious, social, and political history, especially alongside the beautiful Manila Bay.
There are numerous manmade attractions in the area as well as an abundance of natural beauty. These are just a few of the many popular sites to visit while in the Manila area.
Manila’s Chinatown district was born way back in 1594, which makes it the oldest Chinatown in the world outside of China. It was established when Spain gave the land to the city’s Chinese population and allowed them to govern themselves. It’s filled with wholesale stores that sell just about anything you can imagine. The traditional food is also as great as you’d expect it to be and the Bahay Tsinoy Museum is the best spot to learn about the history of the area.
2. The City Marikina Shoe Museum
There aren’t too many shoe museums around the world, but this is one of the best of them. It’s located in a 19th-century rice mill and tells the history of the city’s shoe industry. You’ll be able to see the 1,500 pairs of shoes that Imelda Marcos used to own and other historical exhibits that used to belong to former Philippine presidents as well as their first ladies.
3. Fort Santiago
This fort was built under Spain’s colonial rule, but it was destroyed in the Second World War. It was restored and is known as the Shrine of Freedom. British forces occupied it for two years during the 18th century and after the Spanish surrendered the Philippines to America in 1898 it was used by the U.S. It tells the story of the nation’s fascinating colonial history.
4. Manila Bay
If you head down Roxas Boulevard in Manila, you’ll see some breathtaking images of the sun when it sets over the sea. All sorts of people visit Manila Bay such as couples and families as it’s a very idyllic spot and the perfect location to wind down the day. There are plenty of beaches and open-air cafes along the sensational waterfront where you can watch the people and world go by.
5. The Manila Zoo
This spectacular zoo opened its doors back in 1959. It’s one of Asia’s oldest zoos and features over 800 animals. One of the favorites with visitors is an elephant named Mali, which has been there for more than 20 years after arriving as an orphaned baby. You’ll also see local crocodiles and Bengal tigers. It’s both a lot of fun and quite educational.