Manila, Philippines: Your Itinerary, Budget and Tips

A day trip is enough to see the marvelous wonders of this city… However, I have alternatives..  I always tell my foreign friends that the beauty of the Philippines is on its outskirts.  So what’s in Manila is only few of the good places you can visit in the Philippines…

To learn about the historic background of Manila, Click here. 

Click the links to see my posts about them

.so, anyway, here we go…

Click the links to see my blog posts/ review about that certain place. 🙂 Have fun reading!

1st day – A blast from the past—Manila’s Spanish Heritage

10:00 – 3:30 pm — Go to Intramuros—the “ancient city wall” of Manila, Philippines. It is where the Spanish had their central government and city located centuries ago.

In Intramuros, you won’t only see a wall but some houses preserved with their former Spanish grandeur. You can also see cobbled walkways, which dates for centuries.

You can also see 2 centuries old churches that are really a popular spot for weddings.

The San Agustin Church is one of the churches in Manila that remained intact even after the 2nd world war. Therefore, what you’ll see here is the same one established by the Spanish priests—cool isn’t it? The San Agustin Church has really a nice interior; although the exterior looks simple, the interior is really WOW! This also has its own museum which any antique lovers would want to visit…  Moreover, If you haven’t been to any European castle, the walkways inside the museum will remind you of one. (well, at least it will remind you of European ancient castles).

And also… in San Agustin Museum, whether you are a Harry Potter fan or not, you might see the staircase leading to the second floor of the museum spectacular. Well, for HP fans, it looked like the staircases that suddenly moves by themselves (well, that’s how I imagined it to be) :D. For others who aren’t HP fans, you will see a medieval ancient castle-like staircase. It’s amazing. You shouldn’t miss it.

The museum of San Agustin’s entrance fee is  P100..00  for adults and P50.00 for students and children.

Then head towards Casa Manila, it is right beside San Agustin Church. It is a museum that depicts the old life of rich people during the Spanish era. All furniture inside are the original furniture from a house in Binondo during the Spanish time, so it is antique! 😀 The house is a replica of a grand house in Binondo, but the furniture as well as the set up depicts the same house of a rich family during the Spanish times. I thought going here is a waste of time but when I went there just this November 22, 2012, I was actually amazed on how beautiful a house can be! 😀 There is an entrance fee of P75.00 for adults and P50.00 for students and senior citizens.

Another Church within Intramuros is the Manila Cathedral which is controversial enough or is rumored, wherein most, if not all, who held their marriage ceremonies in this church broke up after a few years of marriage 🙂 Anyway, this church has a great façade, much better than the San Agustin but the Interior of San Agustin is way way better. Just don’t miss to see the beautiful stained glasses.

The last place to visit is Fort Santiago, this is the Spanish fortress where armories during the Spanish period was stored. Actually this is the highlight of this trip. This is also where the famous national hero, Jose P. Rizal was put in prison before his execution.

You can also choose to eat in Intramuros… there are a lot of Filipino restaurants that offer mouthwatering food 🙂

Trivia in Fort Santiago: Curious about the iron plated footsteps that you see in Fort Santiago? It depicts the footsteps of the Philippine national hero when he was moved from his prison cell to his execution grounds in Luneta Park.

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm – Have some rest, drink coffee, relax in the posh Manila Hotel. FYI: Manila Hotel is not just your ordinary hotel, it is a heritage site. It is the former residence of the well-known man who said “I shall return” General MacArthur. If you’ve seen a lot of Spanish heritage in the Philippines, now it’s time to see the grandeur the Americans left Manila.

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Head towards Baywalk, Manila Bay or to Ocean Park (go to the balconies) to enjoy the stunning sunset that Manila is proud of 🙂

6:00 – 8:00 pm – relax and enjoy while walking to the place where our National Hero Rizal was brutally executed by the Spaniards. They also have a newly built fountain that will totally amaze you 🙂

I guess you are really exhausted during this time, so allow yourself to rest

2nd Day—You want shopping but no budget? It’s okay, the bargains in your next destination is indeed a steal! 😀 Divisoria’s 168 mall! But be careful of your belongings there are a lot of thieves out this busy place!

Trivia: Divisoria is located in the China Town area of Manila. A lot of Chinese still lives there. And I selfishly proclaimed Divisoria as the little Bangkok of the Philippines. Why? Because of the crazy shopping!! 😀


2nd day—Corregidor Island—yeah, I know this shouldn’t be part of your Manila field trip since it is nowhere located in Manila, but this place is only 45 minutes by boat/ferry from Manila. and I highly recommend going here if you want to delve more on the history of the Philippines….

It is where a lot of ruins, guns, ghosts, and tunnels are located. It is a fortress so a lot of people died there regardless of nationality—Filipino, Spanish, Japanese, American— they all died by protecting their own countries’ interests.

Trivia: Well, the ruins looks like “well, somehow looks like” the ruins of Parthenon of Greece.

3rd day – Mall Hopping

9:00- 10:00 am — Visit the Cultural Center of the Philippines, take some pictures and enjoy the cool architecture created by one of the greatest artists in the Philippines, you can also visit the nearby Harbour Square– a gimmick place which has a nice view of Manila Bay.

The time frame can be changed/adjusted for your departure 🙂

10:00 – 3:00 pm: Go to the largest mall in the Philippines, the 6th largest mall in Asia—the Mall of Asia. Basically, it is a big mall where you can watch movies and party all night—this is the best place to go if you want to escape the frying weather in Manila

3:00 pm – whatever time you want – Head towards Makati and enjoy the little Singapore of the Philippines. Dine, Party and Mall-Hop. Whatever you want, you can do there! Head to Greenbelt 3,4,5 then the Ayala Triangle


If you love adventure, you can ride the jeepneys, trains (LRT or MRT) or take the cab. The most convenient are the taxis/cabs since they are not that expensive in the Philippines.

Taxis in the Philippines starts at 40.00 pesos flag down rate and will add 2.70 afterwards.

Just a thought: the places in the 1st day itinerary is really Fare-friendly, they are close to each other, so if you want more adventure, you can just walk towards those places but it will  take you some 10-30 minutes of your travel time 🙂

I will add more places to visit here as soon as I can visit some places worthy of your time and money 🙂 By the way, I didn’t add photos because it will spoil your yearning for the places stated above… I will write about each and every single places in this itinerary, don’t forget to stay with me!


1st day Itinerary: Intramuros, manila Hotel and Luneta

Transportation Costs: Maximum of P300.00 per person for the whole trip

Entrance Fees:  P250.00 for the whole day

  1. San Agustin Museum: P100.00 adults, P50.00 child, students and  senior citizens.
  2. Casa Manila: P75.00 adults, P50.00 child, students and senior citizens
  3. Fort Santiago: P75.00 adults, P50.00 child, students and senior citizens
  4. Manila Hotel and Luneta are free!
  5. Ocean Park: It’s free if you just wanna see the sunset 🙂 Just walk towards the mall not the aquarium

2nd DAY itinerary

1st option: 168 Mall –> P10.00 jeep from taft avenue towards Divisoria, so P10.00 per way (P20.00+2,000++ shopping money)

2nd option: P1500.00 for a day tour in Corregidor Island

3rd Day Itinerary

Mostly transportation costs: for taxi rides: P500.00 but you can opt to use the train P250.00 for transpo costs. 😀

TIPS while traveling in Manila:

  1. Wear comfortable, summer type of clothing. Philippines is hot all the time, so leave your thick jackets at home or else you’ll be sweating a lot.
  2. Bring umbrella especially if you are touring Intramuros, it is really hot so at least there’s something that will protect you from the sun
  3. Always make sure that taxi meter is on while riding a taxi, since taxi drivers in the Philippines love foreigners, because they usually ask more money from them 😀
  4. Always keep watch of your belongings, Manila is not as safe as other countries, you might be a victim of pickpockets and snatchers, so be careful, alert and be watchful

8 thoughts on “Manila, Philippines: Your Itinerary, Budget and Tips”

  1. For those who are in a budget I suggest having the “Binondo Wok” as part of your itinerary. You can have a great feel of the Manila ambiance as well as a good taste of the food. This great for those who are new in Manila and Balikbayans too. On second thought a lot of Manilenos have not yet experienced this and I suggest you can start now. I let my girls experience this wok/walk and they really enjoyed it and appreciated more the contributions of Chinese in our rich Filipino culture. By the way the term “Binondo Wok” is borrowed from Mr. Ivan Dy a tsinoy who is a avid promoter of our culture and of course his hometown Binondo. You can buy his Binondo Wok map for 100pesos or you can avail tours that he is providing. this is their site. Or you can plan your own route along Binondo. Enjoy!

  2. Hey Yannah is this post just specifically about the City of Manila? Anyways, since you’ve mentioned Makati here I would also add about visiting day or night markets within Metro Manila.

    If you are a gastronomic person, visiting Metro Manila can be one of a food hopping adventure going from one day or night market to another. Depending on the city you are in, you can plan your food hopping adventure. Btw, if you are new in Metro Manila, it is composed of 17 cities namely City of Manila, Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Pasay, Pasig, Parañaque, Quezon City, San Juan, Taguig, Valenzuela and the Municipality of Pateros. This link can probably summarized the best day markets in Metro Manila
    For night market, two of the most known are Midnight Mercato in Global City, Taguig and Distrito in Makati. There are lots of blogs about these two places and you may want to check first feedbacks before trying them out.

  3. Hi Yannah! I don’t know what’s the problem but my previous comment wasn’t here. Well thank you for the write up. I was searching information about travelling to Manila for a short trip, your write up helps a lot. Thanks ya!

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