Manila Travel Tips, Philippines

Manila Bay at nightManila Bay at night
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authorshipVanessa David
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Metropolitan Manila is the biggest metropolitan area in the Philippines. Composed of 16 distinct cities, it has a population of 12 million people. The biggest city in Metro Manila is Quezon City, with a population of 2.6 million, and the City of Manila, with 1.6 million inhabitants. The other cities within Metro Manila are Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Pasay, Pasig, Parañaque, San Juan, Taguig, Valenzuela and the municipality of Pateros.

Together, Metro Manila has a total of 11.5 million inhabitants, and accounts for one third of the GDP of the Philippines. If combined with the adjacent provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, then whole area has around 20 million inhabitants.

Makati City, Metro ManilaMakati City, Metro Manila
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Manila was established by the Spanish on 24 June, 1571. In the late 19th century, the Province of Manila was created with Intramuros as the capital. Intramuros, which means the "City within the Walls", is today the oldest district of the City of Manila. In 1901, the City of Manila was established, with Intramuros being one of its districts. In 1945, as the Second World War was at the horizon, the City of Greater Manila was created, merging the city and municipal governments of Manila, Quezon City, and a few other municipalities.

President Ferdinand Marcos created the Metropolitan Manila Area in 1975, with the Metropolitan Manila Commission as the administrative body. He appointed his wife Imelda Marcos as its governor. In 1986 President Corazon Aquino changed the structure of the Commission and renamed it the Metropolitan Manila Authority. The mayors of the cities in Metro Manila elect among themselves as chair of the agency.

Terminal 3, Ninoy Aquino International AirportTerminal 3, Ninoy Aquino International Airport
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authorshipEternal dragon
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In 1995, the Metro Manila Authority became the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and the chair of the agency is thereafter appointed by the President without a concurrent elected position as mayor.

Metro Manila is located on a isthmus between Manila Bay to the west and Laguna de Bay to the southeast. The Pasig River connects these two bodies of water, dividing Metro Manila into two parts.

Metro Manila experiences a tropical climate with temperature that is quite uniform throughout the year. Hottest months are from April and July, with the average high temperature at around 34°C, (93°F) while the coldest months are January to March, with the average low at around 21°C (70°F).

The heaviest rain fall in the Metro Manila area in the months of August to September, averaging above 422 mm (16.6 inches). The driest month is March, with only 13 mm (0.51 inches) of precipitation.

Robinsons Place Manila Shopping MallRobinsons Place Manila Shopping Mall
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authorshipMike Gonzalez
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Travel to Metro Manila

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) is the airport serving Metro Manila. It has three terminals. Terminal 1 is the main international terminal serving most international carriers. Terminal 2 is used by Philippines Airlines while the newly opened Terminal 3 is used by Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines. In addition, the old airport terminal, now called the Manila Domestic Passenger Terminal, is used by a few domestic carriers such as Zest Air, Interisland Airlines and Southeast Asian Airlines.

You can transfer between terminals by shuttle bus. There's one every 15 minutes and the fare is ₱20. It may take 20 minutes to shuttle between terminals, so make sure you provide ample connection time.

Entrance to Intramuros, ManilaEntrance to Intramuros, Manila
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Airport departure tax has to be paid in cash at the terminals. It is ₱750 for an international flight and ₱200 for a domestic flight.

You can take the taxi to reach downtown. The rates are fixed according to your destination. Buy a coupon at the taxi counter and then join the queue for the taxi. It costs ₱500-600 for a trip to Metro Manila.

Travel within Metro Manila

The MRT in Manila is the first in Southeast Asia. It is relatively cheap and fast, if somewhat limited, and can get rather congested during rush hours. Taxis are quite affordable. Flag fall at ₱30. Insist on using the meter. The jeepneys are the cheapest form of transport, but you should stay away from it especially at night, due to the high crime rate in the city.

Pagsanjan Falls, PhilippinesPagsanjan Falls, Philippines
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authorshipAngelo Juan Ramos
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Cities of Metro Manila

  1. City of Manila - national capital
  2. Caloocan City
  3. Las Piñas City
  4. Makati City
  5. Malabon City
  6. Mandaluyong City
  7. Marikina City
  8. Muntinlupa City
  9. Navotas City
  10. Pasay City
  11. Pasig City
  12. Parañaque City
  13. Quezon City
  14. San Juan City
  15. Taguig City
  16. Valenzuela City
  17. Municipality of Pateros

San Agustin, ManilaSan Agustin, Manila
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authorshipAnyo Niminus
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Places of Interest in Metro Manila

  1. Intramuros
    Oldest district of the City of Manila, with most of its historical buildings.
  2. Fort Santiago
    Defense fortress built by the Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi.
  3. Rizal Museum
    Museum within Fort Santiago housing the memorabilia of Dr. José Rizal, the Philippine national hero who was executed in 1896.
  4. Manila Cathedral
    Cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila.
  5. San Agustin Church
    Roman Catholic church under the auspices of the Order of St Augustine, a World Heritage Site.
  6. Acuraio de Manila
    Manila Aquarium, located at Puerta Real, at the southern entrance to Intramuros.
  7. Bahay Tsinoy
    Museum of the Chinese people in the Philippines.
  8. Liwasang Bonifacio (Freedom Park)
    Public square with statue of Andres Bonifacio, a revolutionary leader.
  9. Rizal Park
    Public park bounded by Roxas Boulevard, venue for Independence Day parades.
  10. Rizal Monument
    Memorial to the Philippine national hero.
  11. Manila Hotel
    Historic hotel which served as General Douglas MacArthur's former headquarters.
  12. Manila City Museum (Museo ng Maynila)
    Museum chronicling the historical development of Manila
  13. National Museum of the Filipino People
    Museum housed in the Greek-style Department of Finance building.
  14. National Museum
    Museum housed in the Old Congress Building.
  15. Museo Pambata (Children's Museum)
    Museum offering entertaining exhibits and activities to children.
  16. Malate Church
    Church dedicated to Our Lady of Remedies, patron saint of women in childbirth.
  17. Metropolitan Museum of Manila
    Museum housing collection of pre-Hispanic gold artifacts and old masters.
  18. Money Museum
    Museum within the Central Bank of the Philippines, with collection of Philippine currency and those of other countries of the world.
  19. Manila Zoological and Botanical Gardens
    One of the oldest zoos in Asia opened in 1959.
  20. Cultural Center of the Philippines
    Also called the CCP Complex, center established in 1969 to promote and preserve Filipino arts and culture.
  21. GSIS Museo ng Sining
    Museum showcasing works by Filipino painters such as Fernando Amorsolo and Hernando Ocampo.
  22. Coconut Palace
    Former Marcos guesthouse.
  23. Star City
    Amusement park in Manila.
  24. World Trade Center
    Facility for exhibitions, conventions and concert venue.
  25. Redemptorist Church
    The National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, one of the largest churches in the Philippines.
  26. Makati City
    City within Metro Manila which is the major financial, commercial and economic hub of the Philippines.
  27. Ayala Avenue
    The financial hub of Makati, with tall skyscrapers and gated communities of the affluent.
  28. Ayala Museum Galleries
    Museum housing Philippine art from various historical periods.
  29. Manila American Memorial Cemetery
    Resting place of over 17,200 Allied soldiers.
  30. Ortigas Center
    Another business district of Metro Makati.
  31. Quezon City
    The largest city in Metro Manila.
  32. Quezon Memorial Circle
    27-hectare greenery with orchid farm, Manila Seedling Bank and Ninoy Aquino Parks.
  33. Chinatown
    Chinese enclave with Chinese shops and restaurants.
  34. Quiapo Church
    One of the most popular Roman Catholic churches in the Philippines.
  35. Bahay Nakpil Bautista
    A stone house that was home to four Filipino freedom fighters.
  36. San Sebastian Church
    Reputedly the only prefabricated steel church in the world.
  37. Malacañang Palace
    Office-cum-residence of most Philippine presidents and previous rulers, now housing the Malacañang Museum.

Malate Church, Metro ManilaMalate Church, Metro Manila
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Sights around Manila

  1. Corregidor Island
    Small rocky island at the entrance of Manila Bay.
  2. San Jose Church in Las Piñas
    Church with the world's only bamboo organ.
  3. Cavite City
    City on a hook-shaped peninsula in Manila Bay.
  4. Tagaytay Ridge
    Site for viewing the Taal volcano and its massive crater lake.
  5. Tagaytay City
    Highland city at an altitude of 600 meters, center for growing pineapples, papaya and other tropical fruits.
  6. Taal Volcano
    One of the smallest and most active volcanoes in the world.
  7. Taal City
    Culturally preserved site of the Spanish colonial era with the Basilica of St Martin de Tours, one of the largest Catholic churches in Asia.
  8. Calamba
    Birthplace of Jose Rizal.
  9. Riceworld Museum
    Museum showcasing the history and science of rice cultivation.
  10. Nagcarlan
    Site of a fascinating underground cemetery.
  11. Pagsanjan Falls
    Torrential waterfall along the Magdapio River.
  12. Lake Caliraya
    Reservoir dug by the Americans in the 1930's.

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