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Manila - Things to See and Do

Teeming and charmingly disjointed, Manila is the most densely populated city in the world. Divided into six legislative and 16 geographical districts, influenced by the Spanish, Chinese, British and American, and devastated by World War II, the Filipino capital suffers from an identity crisis.

Industrialisation is as evident as age-old traditions; futuristic shopping complexes overshadow ancient marketplaces; Roman Catholics outweigh followers of Asian spirituality; while modern museums attract as many visitors as 15th-century forts.

Diverse, multicultural, and cosmopolitan, Manila is rich in heritage and culture, and home to hospitable locals.



Population: Approx. 1.66 million
Area: 38.55km2
Time Zone: GMT +8
Languages: Filipino (official)
Currency: Phillipine Peso (PHP)ma
Electricity: 220V 60Hz


Manila experiences a tropical climate with high humidity levels year round. Temperatures are fairly warm throughout the year, rarely dipping below 20°C or rising above 38°C. The city is not popular with tourists between June and November, as the wet season brings typhoons and flooding.


Name: Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)
Location: On the border between Pasay City and Parañaque City in Metro Manila

Airport Transport

Hire Cars: Rentals are available with our suppliers at mate's rates. Book your car hire and save.
Taxi: Airport taxi services are located outside the Arrivals Area. A set fare can be negotiated before departing the airport. The most affordable transport option is the city taxi service, located outside the Departures Area.


Manila plates up a diverse range of local and international cuisines and vibrant nightlife and entertainment scenes. No matter the budget or desire, Manila offers a plate to please all palates.

The city’s former red light district, Ermita today showcases some of the best bars, pubs, cafes, bistros, and nightclubs that Manila has to offer. Gastronomic highlights include lechon (spit-roasted pig with liver sauce) and adobo (chicken or pork in a garlic, vinegar and soy sauce) – which is widely referred to as the national dish of the Philippines.

The Malate area is another dining hotspot, home to an exciting mix of cheap and cheerful and classy and chic eateries. The area’s casinos, discothèques, and entertainment lounges offer unique and fun dining opportunities.

Manila’s Binondo enclave (the oldest Chinatown in the world) boasts a huge range of Chinese eateries and restaurateurs. Everything traditional mami (noodle soup), tikoy (sticky rice cakes) and siapao (steamed buns), to exotic Chinese specialities like shark’s fin can be enjoyed in the area.


Shopping is a national pastime in the Philippines. The country’s love of spending a peso is most apparent in the capital Manila, where locals and visitors are spoilt for choice with an abundance of malls, markets and discount stores.

Modern shopping opportunities abound, as Manila is home to a number of ’supermalls’. SM City Manila, Robinsons Place Manila and SM City San Lazaro are three of the city’s most renowned supermalls, home to department stores, supermarkets, cinemas and food courts.

In a welcome contrast, Manila also offers a number of exciting shopping experiences for adventurous spenders. Located in San Nicolas, Divisoria is one of the city’s oldest shopping markets, and is a great place to bag a bargain. An expansive marketplace that operates into the night, the market is abuzz with around-the-clock activity, but is also a popular haunt for pickpockets – visitors are warned to keep their belongings in sight. Quiapo is another hotspot for thrifty shoppers, selling traditional Filipino arts and crafts at rock-bottom prices. Nearby, Binondo is home to Manila’s Chinatown and the centre of trade for Filipino-Chinese merchants, selling exotic ingredients and unusual medicines – such as dried snake, deer horn, and bird’s nest – among talismans, good luck charms, and other peculiarities.