Manila - All There is To Know About If You Travel or Tour Around

Whether you are a tourist or Filipino looking to visit or tour around Metro Manila, this page aims to reveal so many thoughts, facts, figures, fiction, news, places to go and learn about. Hidden treasures, secret places, night life, romance, tour, the Filipino, the Filipina, the current president, mayor, the people and all. Name it and we have it!

My Pilipinas aims to help you know about Philippines, particularly the city that best describes our country and our people and culture. Learn it all from a certified Pinoy travel enthusiast, guide and a Manilenyo.

Lookback - Brief History of Manila

Population Census of Manila
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1903 219,928 —    
1918 283,613 +1.71%
1939 623,492 +3.82%
1948 983,906 +5.20%
1960 1,138,611 +1.22%
1970 1,330,788 +1.57%
1975 1,479,116 +2.14%
1980 1,630,485 +1.97%
1990 1,601,234 −0.18%
1995 1,654,761 +0.62%
2000 1,581,082 −0.97%
2007 1,660,714 +0.68%
2010 1,652,171 −0.19%
2015 1,780,148 +1.43%

Locals often refer or call the city as Maynila, pronounced as (mai-nee-luh). You can use this when riding taxi cabs, jeepney, tricycles, pedicab, Uber or Grab car, buses or when asking for direction. The city is governed by a mayor - Joseph Ejercito Estrada, a famous celebrity actor in the early 70's. It is also often mistaken as Metro Manila or NCR but it's ok if that is so just remember they are not the same. Manila is only one of the cities included in Metropolitan Manila and the latter is a part of NCR (National Capital Region).

One of the oldest cities in the Philippines, Manila is founded on June 24, 1571, by Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi. It is composed of 16 districts namely, Binondo, Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Paco, Pandacan, Port Area, Quiapo, Sampaloc, San Andres, San Miguel, San Nicolas, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz, Santa Mesa and Tondo.

Dubbed as the 2nd most populated city in the world in 2013, Manila is the capital city of the Philippines. This is where you will find a diversity of people from all walks of life and Filipinos of different languages, culture and trade business. It is the center for all that is current about the Philippines and Pinoys (people). Current population density from NSO found below.

As of today, June 2017, total tourist arrival share ranges at 63.17% with Ninoy Aquino International Airport as the top port of entry. Second is Cebu followed respectively by Kalibo, Clark, Davao, Laoag, Palawan and Iloilo.

Note that currently, the city has so many of its top tourist spots and destination for historical places strongly influenced by Spanish colonials era as well as other nations around Europe and Asia like China and Japan.

Table 3. Population by Highly Urbanized City/Municipality: National Capital Region
(Based on the 2000, 2010, and 2015 Censuses)
Highly Urbanized City/Municipality Population (in thousands)
2000 2010 2015
City of Manila 1,581 1,652 1,780
City of Mandaluyong 278 329 386
City of Marikina 391 424 451
City of Pasig 505 670 755
Quezon City 2,174 2,762 2,936
City of San Juan 118 121 122
Caloocan City 1,178 1,489 1,584
City of Malabon 339 353 366
City of Navotas 230 249 249
City of Valenzuela 485 575 620
City of Las Pinas 473 553 589
City of Makati 471 529 583
City of Muntinlupa 379 460 505
City of Paranaque 450 588 666
Pasay City 355 393 417
Pateros 57 64 64
Taguig City 467 644 805
Malacañang Palace Photo Credits to Wikipedia

Above is a photo of where the current Philippine president, Rodrigo Roa Duterte resides. It has been the home to all previous presidents of the country except President Corazon Aquino, the first female president of the republic.

Local Laws and Rules to Watch Out For - Tourist Guide and Things to Prepare

The best place to know more about specific local municipality or city ordinance is the Manila City Hall (Gusaling Panlungsod ng Maynila). The building is easy to recognize with a big clock tower and Tondo as its most densely populated district. The current mayor is Joseph Ejercito Estrada. You can find the building right in the heart of the city near SM Manila Mall or at this address - Corner of Taft Avenue, Padre Burgos Avenue and Villegas Street, Ermita, Manila, Philippines (you can find a map below). Official service time is from 8:00AM - 5:00PM and has an unofficial hotline telephone number of (02) 527 0972 according to Wikipedia. Any latest news can be read here about Metro Manila.

Important Points of Note for Tourists:

  • best is to get a local FIlipino guide - this will cost you less and help you secure your valuables and self a good place / positioning when traveling.
  • always keep a map of Manila
  • watch out for jay walking signs
  • watch out of illegal parking areas / towing areas if you drive. Best place to park is in any Mall or parking lot which is found almost everywhere.
  • when riding the MRT / LRT, always see your destination from the map which can be found inside near top of the train doors
  • major public transportation is thru jeepney, taxi, tricycle, pedicab and Grab or Uber taxi. rent a private car if needed.
  • take note of all necessary emergency hotline numbers, location and contact person for emergency like your hotel, your guide (if you have one), fire department, police (in your area), hospitals, drug stores, market, traffic bureau, MMDA, Meralco (for electricity) and Maynilad for water supply.
  • always bring your passport, valid IDs and visa (if you have one)
  • keep an itinerary and list of your places to visit if you are touring around
  • buy a local internet-ready or wifi-ready SIM card for your mobile phone and take note of wifi hotspots in malls, public places and restaurants.
  • never throw your litter or smoke anywhere you're not familiar with
  • Filipinos are polite, courteous, honest, accommodating and easy to go along with so don't hesitate to ask if you are lost or out of your league.
  • there are currently 5 cruise ships docking in Philippine port - Celebrity Millennium (travels to Kaoshiung / Manila / Vietnam), Celebrity Constellation (Hongkong / Manila / Boracay), Europa 2 (Sandakan / Bohol / Boracay / Malcapuya / Manila / Hongkong), Seabourn Sojourn (Xiamen / Hundred Islands Pangasinan / Manila / Boracay / Coron Palawan / Puerto Princesa / Kota Kinabalu) and Crystal Symphony (Komoda Islands / Boracay / Romblon / Kota Kinabalu).

City Hall Map and Photo by the Harbor View

(full photo credits to - Wikipedia)

Awit ng Maynila (Hymn)

Tanging Lungsod naming mahal
Tampok ng Silanganan
Patungo sa kaunlaran At kaligayahan
Nasa kanya ang pangarap, Dunong, lakas, pag-unlad
Ang Maynila’y tanging Perlas Ng Bayan ngayo’t bukas
MAYNILA, O, MAYNILA Dalhin mo ang Bandila
At itanghal itong Bansa.

Top Tourist Visitors in Manila

The tourist spot visits and market has dramatically increased in the past years. From 2016-2017, below is the list of top visitors by nationality this year 2017.

Korea reached 150,685 while United States of America ranked second with 80,463 visitor arrivals, up by 12.87% from its arrivals in February 2016 of 71,290. China followed closely with 78,251 arrivals. Japan at 4th spot provided 53,957 visitors to the country with 6.13% increase while Taiwan finished 5th by supplying 20,472 visitors with a 3.28% increment versus its previous year’s arrival of 19,821 visitors.

The Australian market contributed 20,157 arrivals (+9.32%). Posting double-digit growth are Canada with 19,016 arrivals (+21.39%) and United Kingdom with 15,226 arrivals and (+15.65). Completing the top 10 markets are Singapore with 13,309 arrivals and Malaysia with 11,335 arrivals. Germany and France took the 11th and 12th spot respectively


Parks in the City and Location Where to Find Them

  1. Ayala Triangle Gardens - Bel-Air, Makati
  2. Makati Park and Garden _ West Rembo, makati
  3. Malacang Park - Pandacan
  4. Marikina River Park - Marikina
  5. Mehan Garden - Ermita
  6. Paco Park - Paco
  7. Pinaglabanan Park - San Juan
  8. Quezon Memorial Circle - Diliman, Quezon City
  9. Rizal Park (Luneta) - Ermita
  10. Arroceros Forest Park - Ermita
  11. Balara Filters Park - Diliman, Quezon City
  12. Freedom Island - Paranaque
  13. Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden - Malate
  14. Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center (formerly Wildlife) - Diliman, Quezon City
  15. Pasig Rainforest Park - Maybunga, Pasig
  16. University of the Philippines Arboretum - Diliman, Q.C.
  17. La Mesa Watershed Reservation (La Mesa Eco Park) - West Fairview
  18. Fort Santiago Park - Intramuros
  19. Liwasang Bonifacio - Ermita, Lawton
  20. Plaza Dilao - Paco
  21. Plaza Miranda - Quiapo
  22. Manila Memorial Park - Paranaque
  23. Plaza Moraga - Binondo, Divisoria
Name Area Population
Density Barangays
km2 sq mi /km2 /sq mi
Binondo 0.6611 0.2553 18,040 27,000 70,000 10
Ermita 1.5891 0.6136 10,523 6,600 17,000 13
Intramuros 0.6726 0.2597 5,935 8,800 23,000 5
Malate 2.5958 1.0022 86,196 33,000 85,000 57
Paco 2.7869 1.0760 82,466 30,000 78,000 43
Pandacan 1.66 0.64 87,405 53,000 140,000 38
Port Area 3.1528 1.2173 66,742 21,000 54,000 5
Quiapo 0.8469 0.3270 28,478 34,000 88,000 16
Sampaloc 5.1371 1.9834 265,046 52,000 130,000 192
San Andrés 1.6802 0.6487 128,499 76,000 200,000 65
San Miguel 0.9137 0.3528 17,464 19,000 49,000 12
San Nicolas 1.6385 0.6326 43,069 26,000 67,000 15
Santa Ana 1.6942 0.6541 66,656 39,000 100,000 34
Santa Cruz 3.0901 1.1931 118,903 38,000 98,000 82
Santa Mesa 2.6101 1.0078 110,073 42,000 110,000 51
Tondo 8.6513 3.3403 631,363 73,000 190,000 258

(Table Source: wikipedia)

Top 45 Tourist Spots to Visit

Depending in ones taste for fun and adventure travel, anybody can come up with so many options. Just like any other country, there are 2 types of Manila tourist spots you can visit - free and paid. Most of the best places are actually free while some may have entrance fees, environmental fees or attraction rates. If you have a guide, it is pretty easy to minimize the cost and enjoy the same level as when you spend so much money for cozy places to have fun adventure. The key here is to get yourself a very good guide. The money you save out of visiting places of interest that might be free can go to pay for the guide. Go get a local accredited guide for best results. In the meantime, below are some of the best places both free and paid to visit when you tour around Manila.

  1. Bahay Nakpil in Quiapo
  2. Rizal Park and Monument
  3. Fort Santiago and the Walled City in Intramuros
  4. Manila Bay or Baywalk
  5. Ocean Park
  6. Resorts World, City of Dreams and Solaire Resort and Casino
  7. National Museum
  8. The Old Congress Building
  9. Chines Garden\
  10. Halamanang Pilipino
  11. Japanese Garden
  12. Orchidarium
  13. Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)
  14. Folk Arts Theater
  15. BGC Taguig
  16. Venice Mall in Mc Kinley Taguig
  17. Mall of Asia
  18. Malacanang Palce
  19. Makati Business District
  20. Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, Quiapo Church Black Nazarene and Baclaran Church
  21. Paco Park
  22. Dance and Dine with Local Filipino Dishes at Zamboanga Restaurant
  23. Divisoria Market
  24. University of Santo Tomas
  25. Chinatown in Ongpin Street
  26. Chinese Cemetery, La Loma Cemetery and North Cemetery
  27. Binondo and Sta Cruz Church
  28. Bahay Tsinoy
  29. World Trade Center
  30. The Money Museum
  31. Museo Pambata
  32. PICC and Star City Amusement Park
  33. Tutuban Center Mall and168 Mall
  34. Visit and climb stairs of the Manila City Hall, SM and Palacio del Gobernador
  35. Yexel's Toy Museum
  36. Manila Central Post Office and Liwasang Bonifacio
  37. Dapitan and Suki Market
  38. Intramuros, Wack-wack and Mc Kinley Golf Course
  39. The MRT, LRT and PNR  Rail Transport System
  40. Manila Zoo and Malate Church
  41. Pasig River + Marikina Riverbank Park and Planetarium
  42. Eat Buffet at Vikings or Tramway or Yakimix Restaurant
  43. National Library in Luneta Park
  44. Visit the Mind Museum in BGC, Ayala Museum, Ateneo Art Gallery, Armed Forces Museum, Shoe Museum in Marikina, Archdiocesan Museum, Casa Manila, The Galeon and Bantayog ng Mga Bayani
  45. See Mary Giant Statue at the EDSA Shrine with Guadalupe Church

Chocolate Hills Philippines

Philippines Dance Festival

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