The Philippines is home to stunning white-sand beaches and fascinating wildlife, a fact that is well known by travelers who visit the archipelago. In fact Bliss Saigon even explored the country’s islands and shared five of the best beaches. As amazing as it sounds though, the nation’s capital is beginning to be known as a worthy destination on its own.
Having long been in the shadows of other Southeast Asian cities and the nation’s own natural attractions, Manila has been welcoming more travelers who enter the city not as a gateway to the country’s other destinations, but as a metropolis ripe for exploration and adventure.
Here are six reasons why the cultural, economic, and educational center of the Philippines is now a great destination.
A stunning sunset bay
The West-facing Manila Bay is one of the world’s best places to view the sunset and appreciate the Golden Hour. The harbor is home to a number of different restaurants, hotels, and monuments that make for a fantastic viewing experience, while the sun paints the sky in dreamy hues of orange, purple, and pink.
Take a walk along Roxas Boulevard and witness the Manila sunset with kalesas (traditional horse-drawn carriages) or by the fountains at Plaza Rajah Sulayman, a monument to the last king of Manila.
Home of fascinating museums
When it comes to culture, Manila is home to a variety of museums and art galleries. For instance, the National Museum of the Filipino People houses pre-Hispanic artifacts, specimens of the country’s fascinating natural history, artwork by Filipino painters and sculptors, and a planetarium.
The buildings themselves are a testament to the city’s rich culture and beautiful architecture. Art-lovers will enjoy the city’s array of galleries, from the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, to the more modern Yuchengco and Ayala Museums.
The historic heart of Manila
As Spain’s only Asian colony, the Philippines offers a unique point of intersection between Spanish influence and Asian culture, which is most distinctly seen in Manila. Intramuros, a fortified city within Manila that served as the center of Spanish colonial rule, has been beautifully restored for people to explore.
Pay a visit to the imposing Fort Santiago and the beautiful San Agustin church or enjoy a stroll around the neighborhood.
Although Filipino cuisine isn’t as globally popular as those of its neighboring countries, a taste of any of the delicious meals at Manila’s world-class restaurants will make you want more.
CNN shares that a trip to the capital isn’t complete without tasting a sample of the local halo-halo, (icy dessert), coconut pie, kinilaw (Filipino poke), and fried chicken at the well-loved Max’s Restaurant.
Asia’s newest luxury hotspot
For those looking for a more luxurious experience, the capital’s up and coming Entertainment City in Pasay is quickly becoming a major player in the global luxury integrated resorts scene.
Manila is building a niche for itself as a glitzy entertainment hub with integrated resort-hotels offering everything from world-class theater experiences to luxury gaming facilities.
In this area of the city, sprawling complexes offer an incredible gaming and retail experience for travelers. One of the reasons behind the recent boom in integrated resorts is the rise of online gaming hubs, which have helped renew interest in entertainment centers in recent years. To get a better idea, Slingo’s live casino concepts emulate real-life game sessions, and allows players to roll the dice, spin the roulette wheel, or deal cards online. This kind of mechanic can now be seen all over the online gaming industry. Although, as advanced as they are, digital versions are not yet on the same level in terms of the exciting vibes present in luxurious integrated resorts. Such venues in Entertainment City have a festive atmosphere, grand décor, spacious playing areas, not to mention the presence of many other players. All of these make for a thrilling and authentic gaming hub experience.
The shopping mall capital of Asia
When in Manila, do what the locals do – when they’re not belting out hits at karaoke, they’re exploring any of the city’s expansive shopping malls. From the gargantuan Mall of Asia with its IMAX movie theaters and Olympic-sized skating rink to large-scale budget shopping centers in Binondo’s Chinatown, there’s truly something for every kind of shopper in the city. Have you been to Manila? What are your favorite things about it?