Manila Sightseeing Guide - Visit notable attractions and landmarks

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The city of Manila has both Spanish and America influences on its architecture, heritage and culture. The Spanish controlled the city for over three decades and built countless buildings and churches. After the WWII destruction of the city, restoration has been slow, with only some historic structures restored.

There are a handful of museums in the city including the fascinating National Museum of the Filipino People, which displays a wealth of information about the long history of human occupation of the Philippine archipelago.

An abundance of Catholic churches can be found in Manila, which has a largely religious population. The oldest church in the city is San Agustin, which has survived the destruction of war and earthquakes over the years and is a popular tourist attraction.

Fort Santiago

Situated at the entrance of the Pasig River, Fort Santiago was the guarding seat of the Spanish during their rule of the Philippines. The fort was destroyed in WWII and then restored into the Shrine of Freedom in 1950 to honor the fallen Filipino soldiers who died for the freedom of their country. Fort Santiago is a popular attraction for both local and international tourists.

National Museum of the Filipino People

Located in Rizal Park, the National Museum of the Filipino People is a fantastic attraction that documents the history of the Philippines, which dates back to the time of the first known inhabitants who lived on the islands around 24,000 BC. There are countless artifacts and model displays of the timeline leading up to the 20th century. The museum has guided tours available or visitors can walk around at their own leisure.

San Agustin Church

San Agustin Church is the oldest church still standing in the Philippines today. The church was built between 1587 and 1606 and was the only building left after the Battle of Manila (1945) and several earthquakes. San Agustin is a popular church for weddings and ceremonies and sees thousands of visitors each week. There is a museum inside which has an array of artifacts and information about the church's history.

Manila Cathedral

Situated in Intramuros, Manila Cathedral is a spectacular structure that was built in 1951. There have been several structures built on the site but all have consequently been destroyed by natural disasters and war. The last cathedral was destroyed during WWII. Today's church has an old look with Romanesque outside walls coupled with stained glass windows.


Intramuros is an area along the mouth of the Pasig River that was settled by the Spanish during their rule of the Philippines. Intramuros is a historic part of Manila and offers tourists an array of museums, landmarks and churches to see. Taxis and local rickshaws are abundant and provide the easiest mode of transport for exploring the area.

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