amazing attractions and activities in Manila

Manila Attractions and Activities Beyond Your Usual Intramuros Tour

Intramuros is almost synonymous to Manila attractions. It’s one of the first tourist spots that comes to mind when we think about places to see in the metro. And it’s not hard to understand why. Intramuros is quintessentially the old Manila—forever frozen in #ThrowbackThursday with its rustic, Spanish houses and centuries-old churches. However, beyond the walls of Intramuros await the new Manila we’ve come to love, despite its countless quirks. If you’re done with Intramuros, here are some other exciting attractions and activities in Manila:

1. Go on a Binondo food trip and or Dampa seafood tour

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When you smell Chinese spices and incense wafting through the air, you know you’ve reached the land of legit dimsum and dumplings in Manila. Known as the world’s oldest Chinatown, Binondo is a go-to stop for those spur-of-the-moment Chinese cravings—from hakaw, hopia, mami to lumpia and more. Long before Tim Ho Wan and Din Tai Fung invaded Manila, there were Wai Ying, Dong Bei and many other value for money and belly-approved hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Binondo food trip is quite easy to DIY. But if you prefer a guided and trivia-filled tour, then book with The Big Binondo Food Wok!

If fresh seafood sounds more palatable to you, a dampa or seafood market would be your best bet. This is perfect for big groups, balikbayans, and foreign friends or small groups and duos with big appetites. Can’t go wrong with buttered shrimps, baked mussels, and scallops, and salmon sinigang. Southerners can visit Seaside Macapagal in Pasay or D’ Original Dampa in Parañaque to satiate their urgent seafood needs. While Northerners can give Dampa sa Farmer’s Market in Cubao or Dampa sa Libis a go.

2. Experience the Stunning Manila Bay sunset

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Manila Bay is most famous for its glorious sunsets. As such, many locals and foreigners come to Manila Bay to witness one. And it’s pretty easy to catch on your own. Just head over to Roxas Boulevard or SM MOA by the Bay around the magic hour and get ready to snap an IG-worthy sunset. But if you want to upgrade the experience, get a buffet dinner reservation at Sofitel’s Sunset Bar. It offers arguably one of the most scenic settings for sunset viewing in the city. Bae will surely approve.

You can also get on a boat and savor the amber skies and whiskey sun together with other sunset worshippers on board. Take tons of selfies if you will. Or you can put away your phone for a second and enjoy that dreamy, fleeting moment with your companion(s). Besides, not everything should be documented and broadcasted. After feasting your eyes with the golden hour, time to feast on tasty dinner spread as you cruise along Manila Bay. Two companies that regularly offer Manila Bay sunset tours are Prestige Cruises and Sun Cruises.

3. Meet and greet with aquatic friends at Manila Ocean Park

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No need to fly to Hong Kong to see Ocean Park. The Manila Ocean Park is a state-of-the-art facility where you can watch and in some cases, interact with different sea animals—from fishes, sting rays, sharks and more. This aquatic theme park takes pride of its Oceanarium, which is Asia’s largest viewing tunnel and where you can be practically surrounded by marine life. Shows featuring sea lions, penguins and birds are also a must-see for both kids and kids at heart.

4. Get mind-blown at The Mind Museum

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If science bored you in grade school, you’d never look at it the same way again once you step inside The Mind Museum. This world-class science museum is the ultimate playground for the science geeks, history freaks and perpetually curious minds. It boasts of 250 interactive exhibits and programs discussing some of the marvels of the world, universe rather—like an atom, technology, earth, life, nature, space, etc. Explore the Mind Museum to rediscover your child-like sense of wonder that you’ve probably lost when adulting kicked in. Don’t forget to download for free The Mind Museum’s mobile app to further boost your science learning and experience.

5. Have a good laugh at comedy and improv shows

Pinoys are happy campers. We seem to find humor even in the nastiest situations. No wonder we are consistently ranked as some of the happiest people on the planet. If your day sucks and internet memes just won’t do it, watch a stand-up comedy show and get set to LOL. Make sure you have gastritis meds handy for all those kabag-inducing jokes and punch lines. And oh, some venues have open mic sessions. So if you’re an aspiring comedian yourself, give it a try and who knows this might be the break you’ve been looking for to carve out a new career path or side gig. Check out Comedy Manila for their upcoming comedy shows Comedy Manila’s website and Facebook page.

If you like pun-filled spontaneous acts, SPIT (Silly People’s Improv Theater) Manila’s improv shows are also worth seeing. Not your usual, run-of-the-mill comedy performances, improv shows have zero script and rehearsals, which is quite refreshing. More interactive, too, as the audience are encouraged to engage. Check out Spit Manila’s upcoming gigs: Spit Manila’s website and Facebook page.

6. Get drunk with Manila PubCrawl

When comedy is not enough to cure all the pains or stresses you have, you might need a little reinforcement in the form of alcohol. And party is most likely your definition of remedy. Say no more. Just join Manila PubCrawl’s bar hopping activities, where you can meet, play games and dance with party animals from around the globe, and of course, get hammered to your liver’s content. Cheers! From Boracay’s white sands to Makati’s tall skyscrapers, PubCrawl remains true to its slogan, “Turn Strangers into Friends.” No doubt, you’ll wake up the next day hungover and a few friends richer.

Main image by Rolandave Bola/ CC BY

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