5 Historical and Cultural Places to Visit in Manila

Learn about the heritage and history of Manila at these 5 places.

By Mathew S. Chan
January 14, 2015

is filled with culture and history. It has seen its fair share of adventures over the centuries, and it is teeming with wonders ready for exploration. If you take your time to discover Manila, you will find that there is a lot to see and learn. Here are 5 places you can visit to improve your knowledge of Manila.

1. Intramuros
Intramuros (or the Walled City, as it is called) is the oldest district in Manila, and it holds most of the history of the city. During the Spanish colonial period, its walls were built as protection from foreign invaders. In 2010, the Global Heritage Fund reported that Intramuros is on the verge of irreparable loss and destruction due to mismanagement, so it is best to appreciate this man-made wonder while you can.

2. National Museum of the Philippines

The National Museum is the official repository museum of the Philippines established in 1901. It is divided into four different establishments with their own different fields, namely the National Art Gallery (Philippine Arts), Museum of the Filipino People (Anthropology & Archaeology), Museum of Natural History (Natural History), and the National Planetarium (Planetary & Space Science). For instant information about our culture and arts, this is the perfect place to go for a fun-filled educational day.

3. San Sebastian Church
San Sebastian Church is a minor basilica located in Manila. It is the only all-steel church and basilica in Asia. Made in 1891, this church is a marvel of a structure that has survived many years of foreign invasion. Due to its proximity to the sea, the structure’s original steel material has deteriorated. While the church is going through constant restoration, creating a replica by destroying the original structure could be a possibility in the future, so go see it now while it is still the original building.

4. University of Sto. Tomas

University of Sto. Tomas is the largest university in Manila. It is also the oldest university in the Philippines and Asia, as well as one of the largest Catholic universities in terms of enrollment in a single campus. The campus holds a lot of the old structures as well as new ones. With the Pope visiting the University on January 18, 2015, it will be the only university to have been visited four times by three Popes.

5. Luneta Park

Luneta Park is a historical urban park located in Manila adjacent to Intramuros. It is a favorite leisure spot and is jam-packed during holidays and weekends. The most significant event to take place in the park is the execution of Jose Rizal on December 30, 1896, which eventually sparked the revolution against the Spaniards. Other significant events that happened in the park are the declaration of independence of the Philippines from the Americans as well as several political rallies of Ferdinand Marcos and Cory Aquino. 

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