Only stopping over in Manila on the way to the beautiful islands or extending a business trip into the weekend? Welcome to Perfect Day: Manila Itinerary – my suggestions how you can make the most out of one day in Manila, The Gateway to Paradise and see the top tourist sights and attractions, find fun things to do and see and have more fun in the Philippines!
If you don’t have a lot of time, Sunday is the best day to see Manila – there is very little traffic and you can get to all the sights you want to see easily! Start your day at the Greenbelt Mall. At the excellent Ayala Museum, you can get a short introduction into Filipino history! If there is any shopping you need to do, Greenbelt is the place – there are hundreds of stores with anything you might need. If you need a coffee to recharge you, there are plenty of choices located all around the green park in the center!
From Greenbelt, hop into an uber or taxi and head to Barbara’s in Intramuros, the old, colonial heart of Manila. You can enjoy a traditional lunch in the nicely restored building and listen to some live music while gathering strength for some sight seeing! Walk across the street to San Agustin Church and visit the attached museum. You’ll find religous art, a model of the complex and get a great look into the most beautiful church in Manila from the upper floor! Leaving San Agustin, turn left on the road and head towards Manila Cathedral – it’s a huge church and a favorite for weddings, so you might get lucky! Check out the recently restored interior with the beautiful colored glass windows! The Cathedral has a history of more than 500 years and is in its 7th iteration – you can watch a 7 minute movie in the little store outside the Cathedral to find out more about it! From the Cathedral it is a short walk to Fort Santiago, the old fortress protecting the city during Spanish colonial times. You can walk along the walls of the fortress, overlooking the Pasig river and learn about the national hero at the Rizal shrine inside the Fort.
Depending on how much energy you have left, you can go for a stroll along the walls or hop into a horse drawn carriage and head to the Bayleaf Hotel! Make your way to the rooftop for the Skydeck Viewbar. After this packed day of walking and sightseeing, you have earned some drinks and dinner with some of the best views of Manila – you can enjoy the sunset over Manila Bay and 360 views over the city. If your legs are sore, get pampered with a massage to sooth away all the walking! Depending on timing, you can enjoy it at the Bayleaf, your own hotel or one of the locations of The Spa. Massages are inexpensive in Manila and you’ll sleep great after this!
If this sounds like too much running around – or you are in Manila on a weekday with horrible traffic, you can cut the program in half and take it slowly: enjoy a day at the Ayala Museum, the mall and many restaurants at Greenbelt, finish with The Spa. Or head to Intramuros and take your time with the different sights! In either case, you’ll have a Perfect Day – Manila!