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15 Places to Go Visit in Metro Manila, Philippines
Manila is the capital city of the Philippines and one of two main places that you are likely to visit when you are traveling to this part of the world. The term “metropolitan Manila” or simply “metro Manila” refers to the city itself as more than one dozen other small cities and suburbs that surround the main city and make up the larger metropolitan area. Depending on which areas are included, this region includes anywhere from eleven million to nearly twenty million people (some sources distinguish Metro Manila as a smaller area than the larger surrounding “greater Manila” which accounts for the difference in population between sources. Whatever the case, this is a large area and one of the most thriving portions of the Philippines so you can bet that there are a lot of things to see and places to visit when you travel here.
For the traveler who wants to know the “must-see” things in this area, here are 15 hot spots to hit up when you visit Metro Manila for the first time:
1. Rizal Park. This historic park has been the site of some very important moment’s in Manila’s past and is a great place to start if you really want to learn about the history of the area. Memorial plaques and monuments will give you this type of education throughout the park. There are also more leisurely things to enjoy here including the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, the Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion and a chess plaza. In fact, if there’s only one thing that you get to experience during your stay in Metro Manila, you’ll want it to be this park because there is simply so much to see and do in this one area.
2. Nayong Pilipino. For a more modern “park”, you may want to check out this theme park which draws tourists from around the world. Various historical points of interest and cultural celebrations can be experienced here at this all-ages adventure area.
3. Manila Ocean Park. Those people who are fans of Sea World in the United States may find that they also enjoy this oceanarium in Metro Manila. There is also a boutique mall here and some other things to do while you’re visiting.
4. Intramuros. Visitors who are truly interested in the history of the region will want to make sure to check out this district which is the oldest district of Manila. It’s a “walled city” which harkens back to the days when fortresses were required to keep the people of an area safe from outsiders. Just exploring the old architecture (particularly the churches) here can really help you to gain a great understanding of what this region was like years ago. Various forts, statutes and monuments can also be enjoyed here.
5. Manila Cathedral. Those people who are interested in the religious history of the area will specifically want to check out this cathedral which was first established as a church in Manila way back in the sixteenth century.
6. Fort Bonifacio. This is a section of a city in Metro Manila where you can learn more about the military history of the Philippines. Various landmarks are located throughout the district with the main place to visit being the Heritage Park memorial park. Memorial cemeteries can also be visited here.
7. Villa Escudero Plantation. This historic coconut plantation located South of Manila is reportedly an amazing place to experience. It combines a museum tour / history lesson with an astoundingly beautiful natural setting to give you a terrific overview of the beauty of days past in this area. Note that their website is down as of the writing of this report.
8. Manila Zoo. Many people have expressed some sense of disappointment with the Manila Zoo as compared to some of the other great zoos around the world. However, it’s something that other visitors think is worth checking out because of the fact that it is the oldest zoo in Asia.
9. Walk along the Roxas Boulevard Baywalk. There will be times during your stay when you don’t necessarily want to “do” anything but you do want to continue to experience Metro Manila. For those downtimes, a walk along the Baywalk is ideal. It’s particularly known as a great place for watching the sun set into the Manila Bay but you can also just people watch and enjoy the scenery here.
10. Pasig River Ferry. Another really relaxing way to take in the sights and other senses of Metro Manila is to indulge in a tourist-y ferry ride.
11. Photograph Taal Volcano. This active volcano has caused a lot of devastation to the area surrounding Manila in the not-so-distant past. However, when it’s not erupting, it’s a beautiful “mountain” located on VolcanoIsland in LakeTaal. The scenic beauty is worth taking photos of while you’re enjoying a stay in Metro Manila. There are nearby resorts and outdoor activities in this area.
12. The malls. Even if shopping isn’t your thing, it’s worth it to check out at least one of the three major malls in Metro Manila because they’re history-making in their size and development. These three malls (SM Mall of Asia, SM City North Edsa and SM Megamall) are all on the list of the world’s largest malls, making them historic attractions as well as intriguing sightseeing opportunities.
13. Manila wet markets. For a more traditional shopping experience than what you’ll get at the malls, you’ll want to make it a point to visit one of Manila’s “wet markets”. These are open-air food markets where you can purchase fresh local foods from the people who live in the area. It’s a great cultural experience and one travelers should take the opportunity to enjoy while they are in the area.
14. The skyscrapers. Some people want to make sure to visit the tallest buildings in the places where the travel to and there are definitely some worth seeing in Metro Manila. Two of the ones that you’ll want to go take pictures of while you’re in the area are PBCom Tower and G.T. International.
15. Experience the nightlife of Makati. There are many places throughout Metro Manila where you can experience the bar and nightclub scene but this district within the city of Manila is the most well-known. If this type of thing is something that you like to take advantage of when traveling then that’s the district that you want to do it in.
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