Things to do in Manila
In Manila, they love their Roman Catholic religion and they also love their shopping. Greenbelt makes a perfect fusion of the two – a luxury shopping complex housed in a domed church. Commercialism and Christianity might make for interesting bedfellows but Greenbelt is definitely worth a look around for high-end and local fashion designer talent – on the top floor you’ll find the country’s home-grown labels. If you’re after a cheap thrill, Divisoria is the place for bargain and wholesale shopping.
Surprisingly, college basketball is a big deal here – so much so, even the ‘New York Times’ has picked up on the trend and wrote an article about the competition that really heats up! Catch an Ateneo-Lasalle game and if you’re in for some serious b-ball!
Filipinos also have a growing reputation for their musical talents – Manila is the epicentre of the country’s live music scene. So get amongst it – see a live band or join the locals for some raucous videoke.
Continuing on the cultural tip, head to Yuchengco Museum and check out the strange but equally fascinating collection of portraits of the lovers and mistresses of Filipino national hero José Rizal (presumably quite the ladies' man). But the bizarre exhibitions don’t stop there, you can even check out the shoe fetish of the Philippines' controversial former First Lady, Imelda Marcos. Her lavish 3,000-plus shoe collection is on display both at the National Museum of the Philippines and at a show museum in Marikina. For our top places to go in Manila, read on.
The oldest church in the Philippines is a Baroque masterpiece that has withstood natural and manmade disasters. Completed in 1606, it’s a popular place to get hitched or just marvel at the interior.
The last vestiges of Spanish colonial times can be found in the Intramuros neighbourhood of Manila. With elements dating back to the 16th century, what wasn’t destroyed in World War II can still be seen today.
For mega malls, they don’t come much bigger than Mall of Asia – the world’s fourth largest shopping mall. There’s an ice-skating rink, IMAX theatre and cinemas, oh – and heaps of stores too!
The Chinatown of Manila and the world’s oldest Chinatown to boot, Binondo is the area to indulge in tasty cuisine, go market shopping and observe the city’s Chinese traditions and heritage.
If there’s a gathering going down in Manila, chances are it’ll be at Rizal Park – the city’s number one meeting place. With a bloody colonial history, the statue-festooned green space is now the spot to chill out and relax in.