Rediscovering Old Manila

Manila, the "City of Man," is the capital of the Philippines with a rich and colorful history dating back to more than 400 years ago. The city derived its name from the phrase "may nilad", which literally meant "there is nilad," in the native language in reference to the flowering mangrove plant that grew on the marshy shores of the bay. 

Rizal Park
A 52 hectare public park lined with trees, historic spots and points of interest, this park is where Philippine's national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal monument proudly stands alongside the country's tallest flagpole.

Rizal Park at Night
Flocked by tourists during the 1970s for being the first of its kind, the then-named Luneta fountain was neglected in the following decades. Today, for 2 hours each morning and evening, visitors to the Rizal Park can watch multi-colored jets of water sway and spout in sync with carols near the monument of Rizal.

San Agustin Church
Declared as a world heritage site and Philippine's oldest church, it boast a priceless collection of religious arts, a museum and a restored 18th century pipe organ.

Fort Santiago
The bastion of Spanish military might, where thousands of Filipino freedom fighters were imprisoned during the colonial era and World War II.

Manila Cathedral
With its intricate stone carvings, stained glass mosaics and rosette windows, the Manila Cathedral is the fifth stone church of Manila. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times. From the air, it appears as a giant cross. The seat of the Archdiocese of Manila, the church looks like a giant cross when viewed from the air.

Palacio del Gobernador
photo by Dex Baldon
Palacio del Gobernador, on Plaza de Roma, is a modern structure that houses the Intramuros Administration, custodians of the historic site

Baluarte de San Andres
Built in 1603, this was designed to protect the old Real Gate on its right flank and reinforce the southeastern part of Intramuros. It was reconstructed in 1733 with the addition of a bomb-proof arsenal for gunpowder storage, a garita (watch tower) and barracks. Also called Baluarte de San Nicolas or Carranza, this was destroyed during the British seige of Manila in 1762. It was rebuilt and modified after the British occupation. Damaged during the Battle of Manila in 1945, it was restored in 1987.

Puerta Isabel II
Opened in 1861. The last gate to be built in Intramuros. Part of the route of tranvĂ­a in the 19th century. Damaged during the Battle of Manila in 1945. Restored in 1966.

Puerta Real
Built in 1663. Used exclusively by the Governor-General for state occasions. Original gate at the right of Baluarte de San Andres and faced the village of Bagumbayan. Destroyed during the British invasion in 1762. Present Puerta Real built in 1780. Damaged during the battle of Manila. Restored in 1969 and additional work made in 1989.

Casa Manila
Casa Manila, circa 1850, is one of three grand houses in Barrio San Luis (one of the four original villages of Intramuros) located across the street from San Agustin church; bounded by Calle Real, General Luna, Cabildo and Urdaneta streets.

Bahay Tsinoy Heritage Center
The museum documents the transformation of the early barefooted, illiterate, impoverished, peasant immigrant to become the modern-day Tsinoy or Tsinong-Pinoy.

Mananzan Handicrafts
From the intricate wood carvings of the North to the charming shell products of the South, this shop carries an extremely wide selection of Philippine made products masterfully crafted from native raw materials such as acacia, coconut wood, raffia, pineapple fibers and shells. Take a step back in time as you discover the charms of Manila.

Barbara’s Restaurant
A 19th century establishment that specializes in Spanish and native dishes, Barbara’s is where tourists can enjoy romantic serenades by talented Filipino singers set in a place with an old world charm

Rizal's Lights and Sounds Museum
This special attraction inside the walls showcase the rich history of the Philippines and of Intramuros. With its life-sized dioramas, it relives the story of the nation's pre-historic encounters - from Spanish colonization and the conversion to Christianity to the revolution and independence that shaped the country to what it is today.

Built in the 1600s to ward off foreign invaders, the walled city of Intramuros is a living museum of the city's heritage with its colonial ambiance and period structures.

Photo credit: Ferdz Decena of

Heritage tours around the walled city are offered to enable guests to appreciate its place in history.

Manila Travel Experts:
Famous tour guides Carlos Celdran and Ivan Man Dy take local and foreign tourists around the streets of Manila in a playful showcase of the rich history, humor, and drama of the city. Celdran's walking tours capture stories of past decades while Dy's performance art gives tourists a taste of city--literally.