The Sights of Manila, Philippines

 

From the beautiful beaches in Thailand to the untouched gorgeous greenery in Vietnam, Southeast Asia is a melting pot of countries that are all abundant in attractions, culture, and history. One of its most captivating countries is the Philippines.

 

Comprised of 7,641 islands, you must visit at least one of them in your lifetime. And if you’re not sure where to start, then let the capital city of Manila capture your heart first. Read on to find out our top three sights of the marvellous city of Manila, Philippines.

 

Go back in time at Intramuros — The Walled City

Credit: Rappler

 

Behind every name, there’s a story. And we learned that the Philippines has a deeply profound one when we visited Intramuros in Manila. Since we were intrigued by this historical fortress in the heart of a modern city, we booked a guided bamboo-bike tour around Intramuros. Here, our tour guide shared with us that the country was named after King Philip II of Spain, and this area was home to the most prominent Spaniards when they occupied the country for 333 years.

 

The Spanish influence, which started as far back as the 16th century, is certainly still strong in the country, as we were amazed by the European architecture evident in sites such as the San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the historically rich citadel Fort Santiago; and the beautifully preserved Casa Manila Museum. Also known as the Walled City, the Spaniards did a good job at protecting it, as Culture Trip reveals that it was built to be Spain’s political and military base in all of Asia.

 

See the sights in the ‘Las Vegas’ of Manila — Pasay City

Credit: Okada Manila

 

From the undeniable sophistication at Solaire and the sleek Japanese touches at Okada, to the vast premises at Resorts World Manila and the golden exteriors at City of Dreams, Pasay City is Manila’s Las Vegas because of these international casinos. This area is also known to host a number of events that rake in people from all over the world. Card Player states that the PPPoker Festival Manila was held here just last year, when teams from Malaysia, Australia, Norway, and Brazil battled their way to a $133,650 (£102,858) cash prize. Not to mention, the famous World Poker Tour (WPT) Philippines Tournament will be held at Okada this coming February for nearly 2 weeks.

 

Whether it was participating in the thrilling casino games or witnessing experienced and world-class players show off their skills, Pasay City definitely gave us a delightful dose of adventure when we came to see its bright lights. Before we forget, be sure to book a karaoke room in one of the casinos, since this favourite Filipino pastime will surely be enjoyed by everyone — whether or not you sound like the Olivier-award winning Filipina singer, Lea Salonga!

 

Explore the world’s oldest Chinatown — Binondo

Credit: Coconuts

 

Although the Spanish colonised the Philippines in 1521, Esquire notes that the Chinese came to these islands first as traders many years prior. Yet, the relations between the Spaniards and the Chinese weren’t friendly, with the former separating the latter to their own area called Binondo, which is the world’s oldest Chinatown.

 

Our tour guide in Intramuros shared this tidbit, which made us pay a visit to this Chinese community. Coming from Intramuros, we pictured Binondo to be just as preserved, but what we found that it was a lively marketplace. Moreover, what we thought would be a historical tour turned out to be a foodie adventure, as we feasted on an exquisite plate of Peking duck at President Grand Palace, and delicious dim sum at Ying Ying Tea House. Plus, did we mention that you can purchase inexpensive yet charming trinkets at almost every corner? Amidst the hustle and bustle of the district, we also got to stop by 400-year-old Binondo Church.

 

Written by Molly Owens