Get to know the long and dynamic history of Manila with this 2.5-hour tour of Intramuros, commonly known as "the walled city." Fillled with well-preserved relics of the past, with some dating all the way from its founding in 1571, it's the best place to learn about the country's experiences during and after foreign occupation. Meet up with your tour group at the Plaza de Roma, considered the center of this ancient city and host to various public events like bullfights during the Spanish colonial era. Learn about the unique history of the country as you explore the area with your local guide that speaks both English and Filipino. Hear fascinating stories about rajahs, conquistadors, treasure ships, as well as battles and wars as you visit a variety of local landmarks including Manila Cathedral, San Ignacio Ruins, and San Agustin Church and Monastery. Don't forget to take your souvenir photo on top of the walls before you leave the area!
Experience Manila for a day and discover its hidden charm beneath the chaos in this tour. Rise bright and early so you don't get stuck in traffic on your way to the meet up with your English speaking guide at Rizal Park. The first to cross off your list, Rizal Park (also known as Luneta Park) is an urban park along Roxas Boulevard and is pretty close to its neighboring block of Intramuros, a historic centre and one of Manila's oldest districts. You'll find here the statue of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines. Enjoy bird watching at the micro parks within the vicinity. A few more strolls into the restored park is the Planetarium, where you can watch featured shows on a digital projector. After that first round of culture, delight in Manila's hearty servings of authentic Filipino food at The Aristocrat Restaurant and Dampa. Aristocrat is known for their best-selling Filipino-style chicken barbecue while Dampa serves fresh-off-the-market seafood dishes. Next, you venture further into Manila's corners with every venue getting culturally significant than the previous – the National Museum, Cinematheque Centre Manila, Escolta, and Roxas Boulevard. The National Museum houses most of the country's artistic treasures and nowadays, with its recent restoration and low entrance fees, it's one of Manila's trending venues during the weekend. The same can be said about the Cinematheque Centre Manila with its dedication to revisit and digitize surviving Filipino films in its depository. Meanwhile, Escolta (what once was a CBD back in the day) is facing a tremendous rehabilitation and is now go-to place for local art communities and vintage merchandise. Near the end, watch the sunset along Manila Bay at Roxas Boulevard before your drop off service to SM Mall of Asia.
Touring a cemetery would seem like an unusual way to spend a free day in the city, but in the streets of Old Manila where the Chinese-Filipinos make up the largest Chinese community in Southeast Asia, you'll discover a long history of legacies left behind by affluent families and individuals that have been laid to rest in these grounds. Together with famed Filipino tour guide Ivan Man Dy, make your way around the age-old gravestones and flamboyant mausoleums as you learn all about the skeletons that lie within this 'city of the dead'. Immerse yourself in the bustling culture of the mini-community and witness the economic strength of the Chinese while you marvel at the most eclectic funerary architecture you'll ever see in your life!
Paula and Bianca were exceptional hosts during our Old Manila Crawl! We were amazed with what sights, museums, and history Manila had. An entire day was not enough to unravel everything around Manila's rich history and culture, but they were able to summarize everything well and discuss every important and vital aspect. We were taken cared of so well! We had bottled waters the moment we hopped on our car, we even had OPM(original Pinoy music) playing as we were touring around for us to live on our appreciation in every stop. Paula and Bianca were very hospitable and they really made sure we were taken cared of well, that we took our time in every location, and we understood the history behind every place and every detail we've encountered.
Expect to feast your eyes on traveling through time from Old Manila to how Manila becomes this vast melting pot of cultures through this tour. I highly recommend this tour, not only to foreigners that would like to get to know Manila's grassroots, but also to Filipinos for them to grasp a better appreciation and love for Manila.
Booked this for two guests in town. Bianca was an amazing host, and our guests specifically appreciated the way she told the story and history of the places they visited and did not just overload them with a laundry list of dates and names. They got a real appreciation for the culture of the city, and we cannot thank Bianca enough for being such a fantastic host.