Philippines’ sprawling capital, Manila, is divided into 16 distinct neighborhoods locally known as districts. All of them are categorized into south districts and north districts, with the area of Pasig being the dividing line between them.
Here is a list of the most popular!
If you ask any tourist who has traveled to Manila before, they’ll be sure to tell you that Makati is the nicest, cleanest, and safest place to stay. It represents the country’s financial and business hub, with all its skyscrapers and big shopping malls. Among its top attractions you can find the Ayala Museum — which houses the Filipinas Heritage Library and hold collections documenting the country’s history — and the Greenbelt Park.
Makati has a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly to fancy. Rest assured, it definitely won’t give the culture shock that you might experience in lesser-explored districts.
This is probably the most popular of all the 16 districts, and therefore a trip to Manila cannot be complete without a visit. Intramuros (“city within walls”) is at the heart of Philippines history, being the best destination to give you a history lesson about the city’s origins. Built in 1571 by Miguel López de Legazpi during the Spanish colonization era, the district bears “the must-visit” historic places in the city such as Fort Santiago (which defended this old capital from its invaders), the UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Agustin Church, the beautiful Manila Cathedral, and the Intendencia Ruins. There is also the Rizal Park, where the Philippines national hero Jose Rizal was executed by the Spaniards.
If you are opting for authentic Filipino cuisines in a nice Filipino ambiance, Illustrado restaurant is conveniently located here to give you a proper culinary taste of the real Manila.
This is other of the most popular tourist areas in Manila, being frequently hailed as the nightlife nexus of the Philippines. Malate is one of the oldest districts in the city, and it’s continuously transforming itself as Manila’s ultimate spot for recreation and entertainment. The district is home to Philippine’s first sports stadium, the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, and the country’s premier zoological park, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden.
Another popular tourist area in Manila known best for its daytime attractions and nightlife spots. Here you will find bars, restaurants, and hotels in different price ranges. It’s also the place to find popular tourist attractions and landmarks like Rizal Park (the main national park of the Philippines) and Manila Ocean Park.
Colloquially known as the city’s Chinatown — and the oldest of its kind in the world!–, Binondo was established by the Spaniards in 1594 as a settlement for the Catholic Chinese community. Today, this district still holds its main purpose; bringing this Chinese-Spanish vibe along its streets lined with stalls and restaurants to welcome you on an unbeatable culinary expedition.