Manila has hot, humid weather all year round and the city’s proximity to the equator ensures that the temperature range is small, rarely dropping below 68°F (20°C) and seldom rising above 100°F (38°C). It is a little cooler between November and February and the hottest month is May, when the temperature averages 83ºF (28ºC). The most popular time to visit Manila is between January and May, when it is at its driest, but it is essentially a year-round travel destination.
Around the Area
Manila is the capital of the Philippines and is characterized by a blend of history, modernity, art, traditions, wealth and poverty. The Philippine capital has a wide range of activities for tourists, as it is packed with museums, parks, shopping malls, entertainment centers and, of course, charming landscapes. Interesting tourist destinations to visit around the area include Manila Bay, Intramuros, Rizal Park, and Chinatown. For more modern entertainment options, Manila Ocean Park, the City of Dreams, Solaire, Resorts World, and SM Mall of Asia are all a few minutes’ ride from the convention center.
- Manila Bay: Manila Bay is a natural harbor that has allowed the growth and commercial development of the capital of the Philippines, because it was one of the strategic points for the Silk Road. Today, it is a fantastic place to walk, eat and, above all, see Manila’s legendary sunset. There is a promenade facing the bay, great for a little walk and it’s full of life all day long. Moreover, it is not difficult to get there; the entrance of the bay is 19 kilometers wide and includes various neighborhoods, such as Intramuros and Malate. There are some small islands in the bay, such as Caballo or Corregidor, two islands that served as defenses during the invasions of the city. Undoubtedly, this part of the city is the ideal place to end the day and welcome the night.
- Intramuros: Intramuros is the historical center and district of Manila. Founded in 1571 by the Spaniards, it had buildings of Spanish colonial architecture, including stately homes, churches, convents, monasteries, schools, and cobbled plaza. Fortified with bastions, the wall enclosed an area of more than 60 hectares with drawbridges providing access to the outside world. Today, only several parts of Intramuros remain, as majority of the buildings were devastated during the Battle for Manila of World War II. The only building left intact after the destruction of Intramuros is the St Augustine Church, the oldest church in the Philippines and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Today, the Intramuros Visitors Center at the entrance of Fort Santiago is a good place to begin exploring the area. Walking and bamboo bike tours are often offered as ways for tourists to get a feel of the old city. Aside from the Spanish-style streets and old buildings, the area outside the Intramuros moat is a popular 18-hole golf course.
- Rizal Park: Rizal Park, still widely known as Luneta, is one of the largest parks in Manila, with almost 60 hectares of open lawns, ornamental gardens, paved walks, and wooded areas. It is located very near Intramuros, the historical center of the city, and is full of monuments, including that of Jose Rizal, after whom the park is named. Dr Jose Rizal was executed here by the Spanish colonial authorities for his fight against colonization. His remains are buried beside the Rizal Monument, which is guarded by sentries in full military regalia. There are also museums in the park and it is a frequent meeting point for many Filipinos. If you walk in the morning, you will see many people practicing tai chi or arnis and, if you walk in the afternoon, you will see people taking walks or playing music. During weekends, free outdoor concerts are generally held at the Open Air Auditorium.
- Binondo: The center of Manila’s vibrant Chinese community lies in Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world. Entrances to Chinatown are clearly marked by Goodwill Arches. Points of interest include its main street (Ongpin Street), the Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and one of the oldest streets in Manila (Escolta Street). Binondo is a good experience if you’ve never visited a Chinatown in any city, with plenty of charm and peculiarities to discover at every street corner.
- Modern Entertainment Options: In the recent years, the area around the Cultural Center of the Philippines has developed into a thriving entertainment center and night hub. This includes three luxury integrated resort and casino complexes (Resorts World Manila, Solaire, and most recently, City of Dreams Manila). These complexes, which span hectares, offer luxurious experiences in gaming, entertainment, dining, and leisure. For example, the Theatre at Solaire offers spectacular musical shows during certain seasons. A short ride away from the Philippine International Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia is a shopping mall in Bay City, Pasay, Philippines, covering a land area of 42 hectares. It is the 4th largest shopping mall in the Philippines. Its grounds contain an esplanade, a ferris wheel, a concert arena, and the Exploreum Science Center.
Being an archipelago of 7,107 islands, the Philippines offers a remarkable range of experiences for those who wish to explore the country beyond Manila. Most tourist destinations are accessible by short domestic flights from Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Suggested places to visit include:
- Bicol: Located in Southeast Luzon, Bicol is home to two of the Philippines’ iconic tourist attractions: the whale sharks of Donsol and the regal Mayon volcano. Aside from these, Bicol is home to more than 20 volcanoes, hot and cold springs, quiet beaches, limestone cliffs, and surfing locales.
- Boracay: This island in Panay is a major tourist attraction, due to its world-famous beach aptly called “White Beach” for its white sand and crystal-clear water. Since its development in the 1970s, Boracay has boasted a wide range of bars, restaurants, clubs and hotels. Beach-based sports, boating, diving, wind-surfing, and snorkelling are also offered in various parts of the island.
- Cebu: The main ‘capital’ of the Visayas region, the city of Cebu has the modern conveniences of Manila with its own set of attractions. The historical backbone of the city lies in its Filipino-Spanish heritage buildings, which include Fort San Pedro, Basilica del Santo Nino, and Magellan’s Cross. Cebu has the country’s second busiest international and domestic airport and serves as a gateway for the Visayas region.
- Palawan: Named the best island in the world for the years of 2015 to 2016, Palawan island is a tropical paradise with crystal clear waters and white shores. Additionally, Palawan the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, one of the new wonders of the world. The island is also famous for its dive spots, which include numerous World War II boat wrecks, the Apo Reef, and the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park.