Architect's Travel Bucket List Series: Philippines (The City of Manila)

Updated: Oct 24

The capital of the Philippines; the "Pearl of the Orient," is Manila. This thriving historic city is filled with attractions. There are numerous dining alternatives as well as museums, parks, theaters, shopping malls, and other attractions.

Manila is frequently the starting point for excursions to numerous provinces that are home to picturesque islands, breathtaking beaches, and a variety of natural wonders. Manila, on the other hand, is very diverse. This lovely city provides a wide range of great adventures.


The historical and cultural legacy of the Philippines is reflected in its architecture. The most significant historical buildings in the country were influenced by the architecture of China, Spain, Austronesia and the United States.

Spanish architecture predominated since Spain colonized the Philippines during a protracted 330-year period. Cathedrals and churches were constructed all over the nation during Spanish colonial rule. This was aslo the beginning of the traditional Bahay na bató in the Philippines.

When the Philippines were governed by the US, American architecture was reflected in local architecture. The City of Manila was developed during this time, with renowned American and Filipino architects serving as the majority of the designers. Many neoclassical and art-deco buildings were started. During WWII, several of these were destroyed.

The Marcos era saw the start of modern architecture, however many structures deteriorated as a result of Martial Law. Modern architectural development picked up after 1986. Early in the twenty-first century, designs included traditional Filipino architectural elements.


Visit the National Museum of the Philippines

The National Museum of the Philippines can be of interest to you if you enjoy learning about arts, history, culture, and other things. There are many intriguing things to discover, and it is affordable. Choose from one of its four complexes, or better yet, check them all out:

The National Museum of Fine Arts

Here, you can see artwork and constructions created in both the classical and modern periods in Filipino history. Here, Juan Luna's "Spoliarium" is on display.

The rich diversity of the Philippine environment is highlighted by the National Museum of Natural History. Don't forget to take pictures in the Instagram-worthy exhibits like the skeleton of Lolong (the largest crocodile in captivity), the Tree of Life, the glass elevator, and the roof with the canopy-inspired design.

Collections of anthropological and archaeological artifacts can be found at the National Museum of Anthropology. This is where you can find the renowned "Baybayin" script that our ancestors used.

The National Planetarium uses a variety of mediums and technology to present astronomical knowledge, including lectures, full-dome digital and mobile planetarium performances, exhibitions, demonstrations, and actual celestial observations.

Visit the Lakbay Museo

The Lakbay Museo interactive museum in Pasay City has Instagram-worthy displays and interactive stations that promote the best of the Philippines. Presently, it allows visitors to experience the rich history and wonderful food of the country. It is exactly like taking a quick tour of the Philippines.

Take the opportunity to enter the museum in a jeep, a vinta, or an airplane that represent the three primary modes of transportation available in the Philippines. You will then have the opportunity to dress in authentic hand-woven patterns and materials similar to what the locals wear in the various provinces.

Go to Intramuros

Because of its historic walls, fortresses, gates, and buildings that represent Manila's illustrious history, Intramuros is regarded as the city's premier tourist attraction. The following highlights can be included in your itinerary:

  • Fort Santiago is a historical site because it served as Dr. Jose Rizal's detention facility before he was executed at Luneta. Take a photo, of course. During the Spanish American War, Filipino soldiers used the dungeons in this fort as hiding places. Explore it.

  • Manila Cathedral houses the administrative headquarters for the Manila Archdiocese and is renowned for its ornate interior decor.