Attractions in the city range from colonial architecture and religious sites through to modern theme parks including Ocean Park and and Star City, offering the ideal mix of past and present. It can be overwhelming knowing where to go, so browse our list for some ideas to make your holiday perfect:
This 64-hectare stone citadel was founded by the Spanish colonists in 1571. As with many of the city's buildings, the citadel represents survival and endurance. The building has withstood natural disasters, numerous waves of colonial invaders and natural disasters. It's a good idea to arrive early and explore the building in the morning, before the temperature climbs and the crowds stream in. Intramuros houses Fort Santiago, the former military headquarters of the colonial Spanish government. The iconic front gate with a wooden relief of St. James, the patron saint of Spain, is a major national landmark. When you've finished taking in all the history Intramuros has to offer, head to the souvenir shops to pick up some special keepsakes to remind you of your time here.
Ocean Park is a world-class marine theme park with a fascinating range of sealife exhibits including sharks and rays, the jellyfish and sea lion shows, and even a Mermaid Swim Experience, where one can learn how to glide through water like these fabled creatures! Get there early to avoid missing out on anything. Ocean Park is also an excellent place for getting up close and personal with wildlife - get acquainted with (and hold!) majestic eagles at the Birds of Prey Kingdom, or handle snakes and insects at the World of Creepy Crawlies. Fair warning - this is not for the faint-hearted!
Manila is a predominantly Roman Catholic city (a religion largely derived from their time as a Spanish colony), which explains why the city is scattered with religious sites including the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, which is known locally as Quiapo Church. The basilica is the renowned home of the shrine of the Black Nazarene, a deep-coloured statue of Jesus Christ which is believed to have miraculous powers. The exterior of the Church is equally beautiful with Baroque styling and distinctive twisted columns on both floors.
Looking for fun for all ages? Star City is a 35,000 metre-squared amusement park situated next to the Cultural Centre of the Philippines. This is the country's only year-round air-conditioned amusement park, making it an ideal place to stop by if you're visiting during the warmest summer months and want to keep cool and comfortable. Rides include a double-decker carousel, stomach-churning Zyklon Loop and traditional water log ride, Jungle Splash.
The Metropolitan Museum has been delighting visits for 40 years and features an incredible selection of exhibitions including gold and pottery from the 8th to the 13th centuries, a wide range of religious art and a special exhibition focusing on the evolution of Philippine art from the early 20th century onwards.
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