Expats Guide: 10 Amazing Things You Can Do in Manila

Manila is an interesting and vibrant place to visit. The city beams with great food, friendly smiles, cheap finds and wonderful activities to try. While it may seem like it’s a small city to roam around in, there are actually a lot of places to explore and activities to try to quench your thirst for adventure. Here are 10 amazing things you can do while in the hustling and bustling city of Manila.

1) Discover the vintage charm of Intramuros.

The Spaniards colonized the Philippines for more than 350 years and because of this, several Spanish traditions are still visible in the country to this day. Known as the Spanish Old Town, Intramuros gives people a glimpse of the Philippines’ colorful history under the regime of the Spaniards. While the past was debatably a dark age in Philippine history, the beautiful structures in Intramuros might tell you otherwise. It truly is a wonderful place to go to when you are in the mood to take great photos and experience the Filipinos’ colorful past.

2) Visit the Quiapo Church.

The Quiapo Church is most notably known as the home Black Nazarene, a life-sized image of Jesus Christ on his way to his crucifixion. Black Nazarene and religious devotees flock the Church to air their desires, wishes and ailments in hopes of the Divine answering them. If you are a religious believer yourself, the Church is a stop you shouldn’t miss.

Another thing do in Quiapo is to venture outside the Church for some interesting, mystical finds. From herbal medicines to love potions, the surroundings of the Quiapo Church are an adventure in itself.

3) Grab some cheap finds at Divisoria.

If you think shopping at the street markets of Hong Kong are cheap, then you have not visited Divisoria. The go-to place for bargain hunting, Divisoria holds thousands of stalls which sell all sorts of things – from towels, umbrellas and party decorations to cheap clothes, toys and shoes. Simply put, Divisoria has everything you think you need. The best part is, you can haggle especially if you’re buying in bulk!

4) Enjoy freshly cooked seafood at Seaside Dampa.

A dampa literally translates to “hut”. But for Manilenos, a dampa pertains to a row of restaurants situated beside a wet market, ready to cook up your desired dish anytime. Feel like munching on some buttered shrimp or spicy prawns; a restaurant that is part of dampa can whip it up for you. Just purchase your desired fresh seafood, take it to a nearby restaurant and tell them how you want it cooked! Easy and delicious home cooked-style dishes that will satisfy your cravings.

5) Roam around Bonifacio Global City for some street art.

While Bonifacio Global City is most known as a CBD, what sets this apart from other central business districts is the art that is peppered throughout the place. Drive or walk around the various buildings and you’ll definitely see some interesting pieces of art along the way.

6) Go barhopping at Poblacion, Makati.

If you are looking for a night out alternative to clubs, the several bars in Poblacion should help quench your thirst for some delicious alcohol drinks. With a slew of different bars to visit, each with a vibe that is best shared with friends or out on a date, Poblacion in Makati delivers in giving you a different take on Manila’s nightlife.

7) Visit the National Museum of the Philippines in Manila.

A visit to the National Museum of the Philippines is a staple in every tourist’s travel itinerary. Situated at the heart of Manila, a visit to this museum will be able to give you a glimpse of Philippine contemporary and traditional art.

8) Check out the Filipino indie music scene in Saguijo, Makati.

Filipinos love music and there’s no question how musically talented they are. If you are in the mood to check out the local music scene, the best place to head to is Saguijo. Home of local bands, both mainstream and indie, it’s not only the music you will get to appreciate but the music-loving crowd that comes with it.

9) Go on a food trip at Binondo.

If food trips are your thing, you should go around Binondo and experience the different foods this vibrant place has to offer. From delicious Chinese restaurants to Filipino street food staples, this place is a haven for foodies everywhere.

10) Watch a cockfight.

For a different activity, why not try watching a live cockfight? Definitely guaranteed to give you an adrenaline rush, watching a cockfight with hundreds of ecstatic Filipinos should be a memorable experience.

Expats in the Philipppines

Expats in the Philipppines

Expat.com.ph is a platform that aims to help Expats living and working in the Philippines and expats-to-be. It provides free information and also encourages them to share their experiences. Let's help making life in Philippines that much more fun!

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