Apartments and condos are the most popular vacation rental offerings in and around Manila. Well beyond the traditional hotel stay, your vacation rental provides the space, privacy and kitchen facilities for a comfortable, budget-easing trip (no need to eat every meal out on the town!) And you’ll discover the Manila Light Rail System is the quick and easy way to explore the National Capital Region.
Sixteenth Century Fort Santiago is Manila’s prominent historic attraction and is part of the walled city of Intramuros (one of sixteen cities that comprise Metro Manila). Intramuros is ‘old’ Manila with appealing museums, ruins and the dominant Manila Cathedral. Though a somber historic reminder, the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial is a beautifully maintained site that vividly underscores the cost of freedom. A guided day trip to the Island of Corregidor serves the same purpose, as the site of two important World War II battles – the fall in 1942 to the Imperial Japanese Army and the recapture in 1945 by American and Filipino forces.
Several churches are worth visiting – combine shopping and a visit to Quiapo Church. The church is renowned for its Black Nazarene statue, said to deliver miracles if touched. Surrounded by street vendors, you’ll have the opportunity to bargain for cameras, clothing, purses and more. The 17th Century San Agustin Church is the Philippines’ oldest stone church and includes courtyard gardens and a museum. Commissioned by Imelda Marcos, the opulent Coconut Palace makes a stunning cultural attraction, complete with grand furnishings, butterfly garden and a striking view of Manila Bay.
For a relaxing outdoor day, make a visit to family-friendly Rizal Park, where playgrounds, carriage rides, fountains and restaurants provide plenty of entertainment. Another day, enjoy a glass of wine on your balcony, and then wander along Baywalk for a lovely view of Manila’s celebrated sunsets. Head to Club Intramuros Golf Course for a challenging round in a gorgeous, historic location.
The Remedios Circle area around Malate delivers a bohemian mix of upscale and low-cost dining and entertainment. Try the Casa Armas for paella, guitar music and a genuine Spanish feel. Go to the Glorietta Greenbelt area for Makati City nightlife – bars, restaurants and a tempting range of local to international cuisine, many overlooking the center’s gardens.
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