Discover Manila, the Most Underrated City in The Philippines

Photo by Andrey Andreyev on Unsplash

Manila is the capital of The Philippines, a country that is made up of over 7,000 islands. Manila is a bayside city and was first conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century, so much of that history influence combines with the inherent Asian culture to create a stunning, modern city. Whether you want to learn about the background of the city, enjoy some of the best shopping in Asia, or walk along and Bay and enjoy the view, Manila has so much beauty and excitement to offer to tourists, you really can’t miss out on seeing it for yourself.

What to Do

The Intramuros is probably one of the most famous sites in the city. It is a walled part of the city that was built during Spanish colonization and is located in the oldest district of Manila. There are about 3 miles worth of stone walls that enclose the area, and within are some really beautiful remnants of the Spanish imposition. One of these is Fort Santiago, a citadel that not only holds much history but is currently enjoyed by the residents of Manila for picnics and enjoying the Intramuros.

Binondo is one of the other most famous areas in Manila and is actually the oldest Chinatown in the world, established right after the Spanish arrived for the Chinese residents to reside. Even centuries later, it is still one of the most popular shopping streets and is the best place to find incredible Chinese restaurants, as well as famous Chinese street foods like century eggs and dumplings.

There are tons of museums in the city that cover all types of topics. If you want to learn about the city and the country throughout an anthropological lens, visit the National Museum of Anthropology. If contemporary art is more your style, head over to Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. If you’re looking to delve deeper into the history of the ethnic Chinese in the context of the country, go to the Bahay Tsinoy located in the walled city.

What to Eat

Filipino food has the perfect blend of Spanish influence with native Filipino flavors. One restaurant that combines both of these factors so well is the restaurant Abe. Considered the best restaurant in the city, you can’t afford to miss out on the traditional dishes they do.

Locavore is another restaurant you have to visit. What this restaurant does that many places don’t is they use French techniques to cook native Filipino ingredients. The results are super flavorful, inventive, and sometimes even traditional dishes that will absolutely satisfy.

Part of being in Manila is not just eating in nice restaurants, it’s about experiencing a plethora of street food. One good place to find it is at Quiapo Market. This is a real local place, so it’s perfect to get Filipino delicacies like balut if you can stomach it.

Another good market to check out for street food is Conception Public Market. There you will find everything from traditional fried seafood dishes to sweet desserts.