Manila : The Historic Capital City of the Pearl of the Orient Seas, The Philippines

The city of Manila is the capital city of the Philippines. Due to its rich history, as it was colonized by the Spaniards in the 16th century, Manila is home to fascinating sightseeing destinations that would show the city's past. On this article, we will be journeying around the city of Manila and identify ten of the best sightseeing destinations that could be found in the city.

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Manila : The Historic Capital City of the Pearl of the Orient Seas, The Philippines:table of contents

1. Intramuros

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One of the first attractions in Manila which is worth sightseeing is Intramuros. This is a historic walled area within the city of Manila which served as the seat of the government when the Philippines was still under the rule of the Spanish Empire. Furthermore, it also served as the center of education, economy, and religion of the old Manila. Construction of the walls was done in the 16th century under the leadership of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. When sightseeing around Intramuros, you will be able to witness several structures which were built during the Spanish Colonial Period including churches, houses, and forts.

2. San Agustin Church

Due to its rich Spanish influence, Manila is home to various Roman Catholic Churches. The San Agustin Church is one of the most visited churches in Manila located inside Intramuros. Consecrated in 1607, the church is under the auspices of the Order of St. Augustine, and was dedicated to St. Augustine. When sightseeing around the church, you will be able to see its stunning architecture thas might have been patterned after some temples which were built by the Augustinians in Mexico: from the symmetry of the interiors to the paintings and carvings. San Agustin Church has been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site under the collective title Baroque Churches of the Philippines.

3. Quiapo Church

The Quiapo Church, also known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene and the Parish of Saint John the Baptist, is a basilica that could be found in the city of Manila, particularly in the district of Quiapo. It is the home of the Black Nazarene, a dark statue of Jesus who is carrying the cross. Such statue is said to be miraculous. It was founded in 1586 by Fray Antonio de Nombela. The church has been constructed in the Baroque style, with its distinctive face with twisted columns on both levels.

4. Manila Cathedral

The Manila Cathedral is another Roman Catholic church found within the city. Also known as the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the Manila Cathedral was founded in 1571 by Fray Juan de Vivero. It is dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the principal patroness of the country. It also serves as the episcopal see of the Archbishop of Manila. When sightseeing around the said cathedral, you will surely marvel at its distinct architecture and its interior.

5. National Museum

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The National Museum of the Philippines is an excellent sightseeing destination in Manila. It serves an educational, cultural, and scientific institution that preserves various permanent national collections which feature the archeological, anthropological, ethnographic, visual artistry of the Philippines. It operates various museums such as the National Museum of Anthropology, the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Planetarium, and the National Museum of Natural History. Each of these structures houses prominent collections that would showcase the rich history and artistry of the Philippines. Each of the museums is worth visiting.

6. Rizal Park

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The Rizal Park, known in Filipino as Liwasang Rizal, is a historical urban park in Manila that is dedicated to Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines. Also known as Luneta Park or just Luneta, the Rizal Park is a significant site in the history of the Philippines because it was the place where Jose Rizal was executed on December 30, 1896. The monument which stands at the heart of the park is built in his honor. When sightseeing around Rizal Park, you will also see other attractions such as the Noli me Tangere Garden, the Flower Clock, Diorama of Rizal's Martyrdom, and the Gallery of Heroes, among others.

7. Baywalk

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The Baywalk is another distinct sightseeing destination that could be found along the Roxas Boulevard in Manila. It is a seaside promenade that is overlooking the majestic Manila Bay. The Baywalk stretches two kilometers long from the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the United States Embassy and just past the Manila Yacht Club. This sightseeing destination is a famous venue where locals and tourists go to especially at dusk where onlookers watch the sunset. Various cafes could also be found near Baywalk where tourists could try local cuisines.

8. Fort Santiago

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Upon entering Intramuros, you will surely witness Fort Santiago, a citadel which was first built by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, a Spanish conquistador, when he established the city of Manila. It is known in Spanish as Fuerte de Santiago and in Filipino as Moog ng Santiago. Ths fort is one of the most significant historical sites that could be found in Manila because there were a lot of lives which were lost in its prisons during the Spanish Colonial Period and the World War II. It was named after Saint James, the patron saint of Spain.

9. Paco Park

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The Paco Park is a recreational garden that could be found in Manila. Originally called as Cementerio General de Dilao, Paco Park used to be the municipal cemetery of Manila which was built by the Dominicals during the Spanish colonial era. The park is noted for its circular shape, with an inner circular fort where the original cemetery once stood. A small Roman Catholic chapel was also constructed inside the park in honor of St. Pancratius. At present, Paco Park is an excellent place for sightseeing, for weddings, receptions, and other events.

10. Casa Manila

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Casa Manila is a museum that could be found within the walls of Intramuros in Manila. It depts the colonial lifestyle during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. Casa Manila is a replica of the San Nicolas House which was once located in the Calle Jaboneros. Inside the house, you will see various furniture and artifacts that would transport you back in time when the Philippines was still under the Spanish regime. It would be remarkable sightseeing around Casa Manila.


From churches to old structures, sightseeing tourists will surely be amazed by the different attractions that could be found around the city of Manila. Be sure to take your time visiting each of the destinations so that you could experience the rich and fascinating heritage of Manila.




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