Tourist Spots in the Philippines

10 Instagram-worthy Places to Visit in Manila

When you hear the city of Manila, you usually imagine a city filled with traffic, smog and the hustle of everyday life. However, did you know that Manila can be one of the most beautiful cities in the country despite its fast-paced image?

Check out our list of 10 Instagrammable places to visit in the capital.

1. UST Campus

university_of_santo_tomas

The UST Campus along España Blvd dates back to more than 400 years. The campus stretches out to around 21.5 hectares, and presents several opportunities for great shots with historical and newer buildings in the background.

You can also go for landscape shots as the UST campus has lush vegetation that is usually where you can find students studying, eating and more.

  • Location: Espana Boulevard, Sampaloc (View Map)
  • Fee(s): FREE
  • Operation hours: Open daily
  • Best for: Chill people
  • Highlight(s): Taking a selfie in front of the main building.
  • Contact details:
    Phone number: (02) 406-1611
    Website: www.ust.edu.ph
    Facebook: @UST1611official

2. Intramuros

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The Intramuros compound has a rich history surviving Spanish colonial times in the Philippines, as well as a great many battles.

Go around the walled city and check out Bahay Tsinoy, Fort Santiago – check out dungeons, the old theater and the gardens, also don’t forget to visit The Manila Collectible, Rizal Shrine and the Rizaliana Furniture Exhibit.

If you’re in the mood to check out the other museums, you should visit the San Agustin museum which houses a lot of religiously themed art, the Bagumbayan Light and Sound Museum – which showcases the life of Rizal, from birth to execution.

  • Location: Intramuros City (View Map)
  • Fee(s): FREE, but some exhibits have entrance fee
  • Operation hours: Open daily, but the exhibits have their respective operating times.
  • Best for: Historical lovers, museum lovers, arts & culture enthusiasts
  • Highlight(s): Walking down the streets of the historic walled city.
  • Contact details:
    Phone number: (02) 527-2961 (Intramuros Visitors Center)
    Website: www.intramuros.gov.ph
    Facebook: @OfficialIntramurosAdministration

3. Manila Bay

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The famous Manila Bay along Roxas Boulevard is a destination for both tourists and the locals alike. Apart from the magnificent view that it gives during sunsets, it’s a nice place to take a leisurely walk in and enjoy the Manila view without the traffic.

Enjoy the gentle breeze that rolls in as the water cascades against the rocks, watch families spend their days bonding and laughing , and of course enjoy the magnificent view that you have.

  • Location: Along Roxas Boulevard (View Map)
  • Best for: Seaside and sunset views
  • Highlight(s): Getting a frontseat view of the world-famous golden Manila Bay sunset.
  • Contact details:
    Phone number: (02) 759-8288
    Website: www.themanilabay.denr.gov.ph

4. The Metropolitan Theatre

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The Metropolitan Theater was designed and inaugurated in 1931, and for several years, was the symbol for Philippine arts. During World War 2, the MET was partially destroyed and left unused.

It is currently being renovated so that it can be brought back to its former grandeur but even in its dilapidated state, the MET remains hauntingly beautiful.

You may want to take a few snaps now before scaffolding completely takes over the structure.

  • Location: Antonio Villegas Street, Ermita (View Map)
  • Best for: History buffs, museum lovers, arts & culture enthusiasts
  • Highlight(s): Snapping a shot of the famous Grand Dame of Manila before its METamorphosis!
  • Contact details:
    Facebook: @metropolitantheatermanila1931

5. Manila Central Post Office

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The Manila Central Post Office is a marvel to behold. This imposing edifice boasts of neoclassical architecture. It was designed by Juan M. Arellano and Tomas Mapua. Although it was damaged in 1926, it was restored to its former glory twenty years later.

Its 16 pillars is what makes its iconic and is why the structure is often pictured for postcards. Wander in and check out the semicircular wings and domes that comprise this colossal building.

The Manila Central Post Office serves as the head office of the Philippine Postal Corporation.

  • Location: Liwasang Bonifacio (View Map)
  • Fee(s): FREE
  • Operation hours: 8am-5pm (Mondays to Fridays)
  • Best for: Art deco fans
  • Highlight(s): Seeing the awesome architectural design of the Manila Post Office with your own eyes.
  • Contact details:
    Website: www.phlpost.gov.ph

6. Divisoria

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Divisoria is a shopper’s haven – sure, you could go to the mall and enjoy shopping in an air-conditioned facility, but nothing beats the prices at Divisoria.

You can buy anything from clothes, fashion accessories, shoes, children’s toys, food, and more, while the hustle and bustle of people, and haggling of prices add to the chaotic atmosphere.

The busyness of it all has oftentimes been used as a backdrop for several fashion shoots and would serve well for you, too!

  • Location: Tondo (View Map)
  • Operation hours: Open daily
  • Best for: Bargain hunters
  • Highlight(s): Finding very cheap stuff for gifts and collection of necessities.

7. Casino Español de Manila

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Casino Español de Manila is one of the oldest clubs established in the Philippines. Once exclusive for the Spaniards as a venue for their social and recreational activities, they later extended membership to Filipinos as a means to strengthen ties. Previously exclusive for club members, it now opens its doors to guests and visitors.

The club has a “Filipino-California-Spanish” style and arched verandas surrounding a courtyard.

If it was elegant enough to welcome the King Juan Carlos de Borbon of Spain in 1962, and Queen Sofia in 2000, then it’s elegant enough for you to take a snap or two within their operational hours.

  • Location: 855 Teodoro M. Kalaw Street, Ermita (View Map)
  • Operation hours: 8am-10pm (Mondays to Sundays)
  • Highlight(s): Enjoy a fine meal where a royalty once dined.
  • Contact details:
    Phone number: (02) 525-7604, 524-5508
    Facebook: @casinoespanol

8. Paco Park

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Once a municipal cemetery built by the Dominicans, Paco Park is currently a park full of luscious greens and vibrant flora. In fact, the park is so beautiful it’s played host to several wedding and engagement shoots.

The park is quiet and relaxing, and is truly a breathtaking reprieve from the concrete jungle surrounding it.

  • Location: General Luna Street and at the east end of Padre Faura Street in Paco (View Map)
  • Fee(s): P10
  • Operation hours: 8am-5pm (Tuesdays to Sundays)
  • Best for: Weddings and receptions for its garden-like settings
  • Contact details:
    Phone number: (02) 525-7853, 524-2022 loc. 119 (St. Pancratius Chapel – Paco Park Chapel)
    Facebook: @PacoPark

9. Binondo

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Escolta Street in the district of Binondo is an artist’s hub. There are a couple of groups that hold drawing lectures, workshops and sketch walks – all for good reason: there are several neoclassical buildings that line up the street that are as majestic now, as they may have been back then.

The Roman-Santos building, the Regina and First United buildings, the Capitol Theater, the BPI Escolta building and more are all Instagram-worthy and are sure to enrich you historically, as much as it will aesthetically for your IG feed.

  • Location: Binondo (View Map)
  • Best for: Food crawls, History lovers
  • Highlight(s): Explore the first Chinatown in the world and get to know its cultural and historical identity.

10. Rizal Park

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Luneta Park or Rizal Park comprises of sprawling pathways, historical relics and tributes, luscious flora and lots of fun for the entire family.

It’s comprised of 58 hectares of history and is home to the country’s most renowned landmark that commemorates our national hero, Jose Rizal.

A couple of meters away is the actual place where he was executed. In this area, you’ll also find the tallest flagpole in the country, and Kilometer Zero the marker where all distances to and fro cities in the Philippines are measured.

We highly suggest you snap a photo of the Rizal monument, the markers of the execution sites of Rizal and GOMBURZA, the Statue of the Sentinel of Freedom, the relief map of the Philippines on the man made lake and of course, other featured artworks of featured Philippine artists.

  • Location: Roxas Boulevard, Ermita (View Map)
  • Operation hours: Open daily
  • Best for: History, museum lovers, arts & culture enthusiasts
  • Highlight(s): See the most famous monument in the Philippines.

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