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Manila, Philippines: Southeast Asia’s Entertainment Hub
For many, a visit to Manila involves enjoying some Vegas-style entertainment in a tropical destination. This is largely because the city is full of casinos and features an outstanding nightlife, so guests will never run out of things to do, no matter the time of day or night.
In any given year, this city will have more than three million people visit. Close to one third of these people only visit for a single night, as they are looking to get away and enjoy their night in this busy and often chaotic city. Manila seamlessly blends the old and the new, as visitors can spend time in modern accommodations before venturing out to find some historic sites to experience some culture.
Numerous historic buildings can be found throughout Manila, starting with Intramuros, which is a fortified complex that is home to numerous structures from the 1500s. This fort was constructed in a strategic location, as it is not only near Manila Bay, but also right along the Pasig River. Buildings inside this complex include Fort Santiago, the Intendencia Ruins, and the Manila Cathedral. There are modern elements inside the complex, as restaurants and universities are located there, and there are plenty of hotels in the area.
Another building that sits inside Intramuros is the San Agustin Church, which is an attraction in its own right. This building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was completed in 1607 and has survived numerous attacks and wars throughout its lifetime. Major earthquakes have also hit the area over the years, but the church remains as strong as ever.
Bays and Beaches
Since Manila sits right on the ocean, plenty of beaches can be found throughout the area. Similarly to how those living in New York City might escape to Nassau county, those in Philadelphia might head to Wildwood Crest for the weekend, or Phoenix residents can drive to their Puerto Penasco condos, Manila offers plenty of oceanfront areas that are away from the crowds. Beaches like Dipaculao Beach, Potipot Island, Talisayin Cove, and Lukang Beach are close to many Manila hotels, while providing a quiet getaway from the noise of the city.
Manila Bay is a beautiful area on the ocean that features scenic sunsets, wonderful sea views, and a plethora of bars and restaurants to enjoy. While this isn’t an area that is acceptable for swimming, there is plenty to do on the Bay and it is very easy to find a hotel in the surrounding area, as well.
A Shopper’s Paradise
Visitors to Manila will be absolutely blown away by the sheer quantity of shopping that is found in the city. This is because Manila is home to some of the world’s largest shopping malls. SM Megamall is the fourth largest in the entire world and the largest in the Philippines, with a total floor area of 542,000 square metres, while SM City North EDSA is the country’s second largest mall and the fifth largest in the world. SM Mall of Asia and Robinsons Place Manila are other major shopping venues that are easily accessible from hotels in the city.
Another shopping and entertainment district, Resorts World Manila, can be found right by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. This complex integrates nightlife, a major shopping mall, hotel options, and casinos into one, making it a popular destination for those who don’t wish to venture too far into the city.
Although Manila has a reputation as being more of an adult playground, there is plenty for families to do in the city. Star City is one of the city’s most popular amusement park, as it attracts 1.5 million people per year and features more than 30 rides. Most of the attractions are air conditioned and covered, which could be one reason for the park’s popularity, and there are hotels nearby.
Another popular attraction is the Enchanted Kingdom, which is a theme park that features 30 different rides and attracts more than 1.8 million people annually. The park is set up in a similar fashion to Disneyland, but uses its own characters, so that no royalties have to be paid.
Experiencing the true culture of Manila is easily possible when attending one of the city’s annual events. The Feast of the Black Nazarene is the city’s largest religious festival and is held on January 9th of every year. This festival recreates the arrival of the Black Nazarene statue, a sacred item in the country, into the Philippines from Mexico. Keep in mind that getting to and from hotels in the city can be difficult on this day.
The Cinemanila International Film Festival is the city’s largest international film festival and it often attracts stars from all over the world. While the festival is largely focused on highlighting films that have been created in the Philippines, it does give recognition to contributors from outside of the country, particularly those with Filipino roots.