Manila offers a variety of things to see and do. It's heaven for art enthusiasts, with a wealth of top-rate galleries to explore, such as Silverlens, Tin-aw and the ranch-style Pinto Art Gallery, complete with its own chapel. Join a tour of the Coconut Palace, commissioned by Imelda Marcos herself, or walk the historic Intramuros district in the company of an expert guide.
This historic site in Manila is also its oldest district and a definite attraction for those who want to see a glimpse of the city’s rich Spanish heritage. Constructed as early as the 16th century, this famous walled city is still a sight to behold, with its cobbled streets, old-world buildings, and stone ruins. Attractions like the Manila Cathedral, Fort Santiago, and Casa Manila can also be found in Intramuros, so make sure to allot enough time to explore everything.
The National Museum is one of the Philippines’ finest museums and an outstanding place to admire the country’s rich artistic heritage and long history. The museum houses several fascinating collections, ranging from fine and modern art to national treasures and historical artefacts. One of the many highlights for visitors is the massive oil painting by Juan Luna called ‘Spoliarium’. Expect to spend more than a few hours inside this museum if you want to see everything it has to offer.
Located inside Fort Santiago in Intramuros, the Rizal Shrine is a landmark dedicated to Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero who was instrumental to the Philippines’ independence from Spain. The main highlight is the building-turned-museum where Rizal stayed just before his execution. This building contains memorabilia from various points of his life as well as details on his role in the country’s independence.
The Metropolitan Museum of Manila is a superb place to observe the development of local art throughout the Philippines’ history. Exhibiting works from pre-colonial times up to the modern era, the museum showcases a wide range of pieces, including paintings, sculptures, relics and historical artefacts. Its gallery of gold pieces and pottery, in particular, is a standout attraction and recognised as one of the best galleries of such materials available. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday, from 10am till 5:30pm. Its gallery of gold and pottery, however, is only open on weekdays.
The Cultural Centre of the Philippines is the country’s premier destination for arts and cultural shows of all kinds. It features theatres, exhibition halls, and galleries that regularly run a variety of artistic work. Catch anything from art exhibitions, film festivals, musicals, symphony concerts, and dance showcases inside. The centre is a historic building in its own right, built in 1969 and displaying an older style of architecture and design. Make sure to browse through its calendar of activities in advance, so you can time your visit with an event you like.