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What to do in Manila for 1 Day: Travel Guide 2020

Manila is the capital of the Philippines and the busiest place in the country. Despite several famous malls, restaurants, and other popular destinations, very few tourists choose to stay in Manila for several days because they believe that it is better to spend their time on the beach. While half of it is true, there actually a lot of enjoyable things to do in Manila that will make your trip memorable. We understand that Manila is a large place and it seems like one day is not enough. That is not true because you will get to visit plenty of places in just one day. What to do in Manila for 1 day? Keep on reading to find out.

Even though you cannot find temples and other famous places in Manila unlike Thailand and Hongkong, it is still considered as the center of such amazing country. That being said, it must be included in your Philippines travel itinerary. Just like any other popular travel destinations in the Philippines, it deserves to be seen, appreciated,and recognized. Also, the Philippines has a lot to offer, and we provide will the important information you need to know.

When is the best time to visit Manila?

what to do in manila for 1 day

You can visit Manila any month of the year and still have a memorable vacation. Nevertheless, if you want to make the most out of your trip, the best time would be in December and January. These months are the perfect month to schedule a trip because the weather is nice and dry. In addition to that, the temperature is at the lowest average. You can also go during the dry season which is until April. On the other hand, the wet season is during the months of May until November. You may want to avoid these months especially if your itinerary involves a lot of adventures and outdoor activities.

If you can avoid the months of July and August it would be better because the rain si heavy during these months. You should also avoid the month of May if possible, because it is during this month when the weather is too hot.

What to do in Manila for 1 Day: Facts about Metro Manila

Metro Manila is the largest region in the Philippines, comprising of 16 cities and has an approximate population of 12 million. Manila city is under the Metro Manila region and is the capital city of the Philippines. The city that has the largest number of population is Quezon City. During the prehistoric era, Manila is believed to encompass Maynila and Tondo. In addition to that, during the Spanish occupation, Intramuros was the capital of the country. In the present times, Metro Manila is known as the economical, cultural, and governmental center of the Philippines.

Getting to Manila

what to do in manila for 1 day

Before we move on what to do in Manila for 1 day, it is important for you to know how to get to Manila. Aside from that, it is also important to know how to go around the city.

In the even that you are coming from South East Asian airports, the fair is easy. Not only that, it is also easy to get to Manila. You can choose to book a fight under Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, or Philippine Airlines.

Once you arrive at the airport, you will have to look for a way to get into the city center. A lot of travelers prefer to book their accommodation in Makati. Makati City is approximately 10k away from the airport. The easiest way to get to your hotel in Makati is to arrange a transfer with the owner of someone from the management. However, if they do not provide this kind of service, then just organize it by yourself.

There are taxis that always roam around the city, looking for passengers. Aside from that, you can also choose to book a car using Grab. We advise using Grab since it is much safer. In this way, you do not need to worry about drivers overcharging you or giving your fixed prices.

What is great about using Grab is that you will get charged based on the kilometers, traffic condition, and demands. The rate is also fixed. That being said, in the event that you get stuck in traffic, your rate will still be the same unlike taxi drivers that will ask for additional money aside from the total price. Below are other modes of transportation:

*Yellow taxis

You can also choose to go to Makati via yellow taxis. They can be found if your turn right after heading out from the arrivals. Yellow taxis are official taxis. Furthermore, they are better than white taxis because while you are in queue, you will give your details to the desk. After that, they will inform the driver regarding the location and will list down the car details as well.

This information as well as the receipt that you will get will permit you to report any possible problems that you may encounter during your trip. Normally, the cost is 250 pesos. You may also choose to give the driver a tip if your experience is satisfactory.

*White taxis

If the queue for yellow taxis are extremely long and there are no available cars in Grab, you can just wait for a white taxi. If you do not want to rely on the meter, it would be best to agree on a set price. This is advisable especially if is during rush hour where the traffic is heavy.

The downside of white taxis is that your safety is not guaranteed unlike Grab and Yellow taxi. With that, this must be your last option when it comes to choosing the best mode of transportation.


There are also travelers who choose to travel by touts. However, we do not recommend this as it is also not safe.

What to do in Manila for 1 Day; Accommodation in Manila

If you search for the place to stay in Manila, the majority of the results will say Makati. This is primarily because Makati is the most modern region. In addition to that, there are plenty of accommodation to choose from- from budget hotels to luxury and world-class hotels.

Overall, when you are in Makati you will feel at ease. In addition the residents of Makati are very welcoming to the tourists. Makati is also famous because it is not that far from the popular tourist destinations in Manila.

Personally, even if the places we plan to visit are quite far from Makati, we will still choose to stay there and prioritize our safety. The hotels are usually priced at around 2000 pesos per night.

What to do in Manila for 1 Day: Follow this Guide

One day is enough for you to experience what Manila has to offer. In just one day, you will get to visit different places. Check out this guide about what to do in Manila for 1 day:

Make Intramuros your First Stop

what to do in manila for 1 day

Intramuros is also known as “Within the walls” as it embodies the oldest district in Metro Manila that is established during the Spanish colonization. In addition to that, it is also the best destination to kick start your day and immerse yourself in the rich history of the country. Apart from that, there is also a famous hotel that you can visit, which is The Bayleaf Intramuros. You can book in advance and go first sightseeing.

One thing that makes Intramuros more historical is that the walls are kept well-preserved despite the large part of it was ruined during the WWII. There are other historical buildings and museums that you can find inside Intramuros. If you want to know more about this place and fully immerse yourself in its historical meaning, we recommend booking an intramuros walking tour.

Check out Fort Santiago

Since you are already in Intramuros, you should visit one of its popular sights, which is Fort Santiago. This place played a very crucial part in the history of Manila. In the present times, this citadel is still very well preserve together with the amazing gardens and spectacular oasis in the middle of the city. This is perfect to enjoy during the hot sunny day.

You can also check out the Museum of Dr. Jose Rizal, who is the national hero of the Philippines.

*Visit the Cathedral of Manila and the San Agustin

Aside from historical buildings, you should also check out the churches, such as the Cathedral of Manila and the San Agustin Church. These churches are not that far from the Fort.

The Cathedral of Manila is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It was extremely damaged plenty of times. Fortunately, it was now restored to its full beauty. If you are lucky, you will get to witness a Filipino wedding ceremony during weekends.

Apart from the Cathedral of Manila, the San Agustin Church is also worth your time. This church was built during the Spanish colonization and it is one of the four churches.

*Visit the National Museum

To fully immerse yourself on the history and culture of Manila, visit the National Museum. It is where you will see the best artworks. There are two buildings and there is an exhibit in each of the buildings. One is for artwork and the other one is for historical artifacts. Best of all, you do not need to pay as there is no entrance fee. It is really for everyone to enjoy.

*Take a short break at the Rizal Park

If you feel like your legs are getting tired, have a break at the famous Rizal Park. Spend a couple of minutes to relax a bit while enjoying the surroundings. You will notice that there are plenty of tourists in the place as it is the favorite outdoor spot for both residents and travelers. Do not just stay in one place as there are plenty of statues in the park. Also, make sure to captures some photo while you are there.

*Experience riding a jeepney

what to do in manila for 1 day

They say that your trip is not complete if you do do not ride the jeepney. If you are on a budget, you do not want to ride taxis as the rate is expensive. Not only that, riding a taxi is not as enjoyable as riding a jeepney. It is a different kind of experience.

Jeepney is the cheapest mode of transportation in the Philippines. You will be surprised to know that it only costs less than quarter of one dollar, which is so much cheap compared to the experience it will give to you. These are possible if you will be able to fit inside because sometimes it is full.

*Do not forget the China Town!

what to do in manila for 1 day

Of course, do not ever try to end your day without even tasting the best dumplings in the country. Even though Binondo is the oldest Chinatown outside China, it is not that different compared to others. Also, it is still worth your time for plenty of reasons. One of those, which is the most important, is the place Lan Zhou La Mien. This is where you will taste the best-tasting dumplings in the Philippines. Heads up, you will wait for at least 15 minutes line, but once you tasted it, you will know that it is worth the wait.

*Have your dinner at Makati

After a long day of walking, you deserve to treat yourself in a nice restaurant in Makati. Why Makati? It is because this is where the famous restaurants and bars are located. They are nothing compared to other places.

You can look for a place to eat in Greenbelt, Ayala Center. It has an excellent atmosphere and a wide array of cuisine to choose from.

What to do in Manila for 1 Day: Final Words

There you have it, a travel guide on what to do in Manila in 1 day. If you think that one day is not enough, you can choose to extend your stay if it is feasible. Otherwise, 24 hours is enough to get a feel for the capital city of the Philippines. We hope that you get something from this blog. Feel free to drop a comment below for advice or recommendations.

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