Sprawling around Manila Bay, Metro Manila is the pulsing heart of the Philippines and its National Capital Region. Historic districts and cultural museums juxtapose against modern shopping malls in what is the most populous region in the country.
Things to do
Explore the historic walled city of Intramuros, clustered with atmospheric Spanish colonial churches and mansions. Wander along the walls of Fort Santiago and admire the ornate interior of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed San Agustín Church.
Step inside the Philippines’ oldest existing museum at the University of Santo Tomas, which exhibits tribal instruments, colonial-era artefacts and the chair that Pope John Paul II sat on when visiting Manila. For a more interactive experience, delve into the world of science at the Mind Museum, where you can browse fascinating exhibits on the earth, universe and technology.
Metro Manila is dotted with mega shopping malls complete with cinemas, hotels and ice-skating rinks. Embark on a shopping spree in the interconnected malls of Makati’s Ayala Center or get lost in the gargantuan SM Mall of Asia.
Stroll through the historic Rizal Park, a favourite spot for locals to picnic and relax. It’s lined with leafy walking trails, children’s play areas and a soaring revolutionary monument honouring the Philippines’ national hero Jose Rizal.
Ninoy Aquino International Airport is 30 minutes’ drive south of the historic Intramuros district. Light rail lines traverse Metro Manila and are one of the most efficient ways of getting around, together with buses and colourful jeepneys.