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Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is a melting pot of various cultures. During your visit, it would be hard for you to miss the Malay, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and American influences in this colourful city. From flamboyant jeepneys to vibrant karaoke bars, Manila is teeming with life.
Steeped in history, Manila was a colonial outpost of Spain for nearly four centuries, and later, the United States. Today, it is one of Asia’s fastest-growing metropolises, with modern buildings redefining its skyline.
Book a flight to Manila with Qatar Airways and discover an intriguing, and diverse city formed from a series of traditional towns. From the modern retail and dining space of Makati to the long-established Chinatown area, a flight to Manila is your portal to parallel worlds existing side by side.
Many of Manila’s most popular attractions can be found in the bay area. The Malacañang Palace is the official home of the president of the Philippines and was built in the 18th century. The palace includes public gardens and a museum to explore. Chinatown is a popular place to visit during a trip to Manila, and is one of the largest of its kind in the world. There, you’ll find all manner of Chinese foods and goods.
There are also several large museums in Manila. The National Museum of the Philippines contains a diverse range of collections covering archaeology, culture, zoology, the arts and other subjects. To get a better understanding of the nation’s history, head to the Museum of Philippine Political History, or discover the country’s great artists at the National Art Gallery.
If you want to see nature at its finest, Manila Bay is the best spot to view the sunset and its fascinating kaleidoscope of colour.
There are a wide range of guided tours to embark on during your trip to Manila, covering the city’s history, skyscrapers and other themes.
Head to the Rizal Park (locally known as Luneta), if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Covering 60 hectares of gardens, the park is named after the Philippine national hero Jose Rizal. Within the park complex is the Manila Ocean Park, an 8,000-sqm oceanarium.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to dive head first into Filipino culture, then join in the festivities at one of Manila’s many annual events, such as the Chinese New Year Welcoming Festival, the Santacruzan Festival or the Manila Summer Sea Sports Festival.
Like Manila itself, Filipino cuisine is very much the sum of its parts. Its dishes have been inspired by a variety of influences from three continents, and contains elements of Spanish, Asian and American cuisine. One day you could be eating paella, then noodles, then American-style burger patties next. But it would be worth your while to try local fares, such as adobo, a kind of braised chicken.
Many restaurants can be found in the commercial district of Makati, as well as in several shopping malls throughout Manila.
During your travel to Manila, you’ll undoubtedly come across an array of traditional markets. One of the largest is Divisoria, which is frequented by locals more than tourists, but has plenty to offer anyone wanting to discover the real Manila. Other locations include those at Greenhills Shopping Centre and St. Francis Square.
For a more familiar shopping experience, visit the SM Mall of Asia, one of the largest indoor shopping complexes in the world.
Essential facts about Manila (MNL)
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip