MANILA - PEARL OF THE ORIENT
Manila is the premier business and tourism destination in the Philippines. The number of visitors can to this Southeast Asian historic destination reaches approximately one million overnight guests a year. Being the capital city, and main hub of commerce, Mania is considered the main gateway metro metropolis of the Philippines.
A Shopper’s Paradise
Shoppers searching for bargains should consider Manila as a shopper’s destination par-none. Manila is rated as the eleventh “Best Shopping Destination” in all of Asia by Global Blue, a Switzerland based consumer Intelligence and VAT tax Refund Company. If you think Manila is a third world destination, then think again. From 2009 to 2013, the credit card company MasterCard ranked Manila as one of the 20 fastest growing international visitor cities in the world.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN MANILA
The oldest part of the Manila is in the historic core of the capital called Intramuros, which is Latin for “within the walls.” This served as the seat of the colonial Spanish government during their control of the Philippines.
The walls of this area were built by the Spanish for defense purposes against invasions of forces that were determined to overtake Spanish control of the Philippines. Originally located at the mouth of the Pasig River where it meets Manila Bay. Later land-fills adding much needed space for the residents of a growing city through the 1900s, subsequently moved Intramuros further inland of Manila Bay.
Damage to Intramuros was significate following the battle to recapture Manila from the Japanese during WWII. Being declared a National Historic Monument created a catalyst for the Filipino people to rebuild of the walls of this national treasure in 1951.
SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated San Agustin Church, located inside the historic walled city of Intramuros in Manila a world heritage site. Used as a concentration camp by the Japanese during WWII, this Catholic Church originally constructed of bamboo and other Philippines native wood, to be later constructed of stone masonry, was the only church structure that remained standing after the bombardment by the Americans against the Japanese at the end of WWII. The church was named a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1976.
MANILA'S OCEAN PARK
If you like Hong Kong or Singapore’s Sentosa Underwater World, then Manila’s is a natural choice for your next outing in the Pearl of the Orient. Manila’s oceanarium features an 82 foot underwater viewing tunnel that allows you to see all of the exotic sea life without getting wet. You’ll also find various wet encounters, attractions and shows with seals, penguins and other sea animals and even mermaids are part of the experience. You can actually swim and interact with exotic sea life and even experience a complete diving suit underwater adventure called the Aquanaut.
Ocean Park Includes Many Restaurants, a Themed Hotel and a Mall
There is much more than an amusement park here. Also included are numerous restaurants including Makan Makan Asian Food Village, Gerry’s Grill, North Park, Pancake House, Wendy’s, Sbarro, Fruit Magic, Kingcorn, Quickly, Henlin, Pizzaiolo, Quix, Potato Corner, Do Eat Cotton Candy, Teresa’s Pasalubong, Hing & Tori’s Kitchen, Afford-a-Bowl, Green Bean Coffee, Siomai Kid Bistro, Pinoys’ Delights, Shangai Joe, Uncle Ray’s Brick Oven Pizzeria, Persian Shawarma, Linsanitea Café and more.
A mall includes a combination of specialty and retail shops for the convenience of the facility’s guests and their shopping enjoyment. Here you’ll find trendy options in casual wear and souvenir gift items.
Ever Been to an Ocean Themed Hotel?
A unique ocean themed hotel is also included for your one-stop, full-featured overnight stay accommodations. The hotel at Manila Ocean Park is unlike any you and your family have stayed before. Here you can partake in all that Hotel H2O's has to offer with upscale features and amenities all around a unique and expansive ocean sea life theme. Huge aquariums are part of the experience throughout Hotel H20 all around the lobby and other areas. You can even enjoy a variety of rooms facing Manila Bay and other rooms with various sizes of massive aquariums built right into the accommodation quarters. This hotel is a can’t-miss experience for the entire family.
MANILA'S MALL OF ASIA
As the flagship project of the vast network of SM Malls throughout the Philippines, the Mall of Asia is impressive in scope and design. The mall was fully opened for business on May 21, 2006. An unique, extensive indoor/outdoor mall with an impressive array of merchants and entertainment venues.
As of its completion date, this mall was the largest in the Philippines and the 10th largest mall in all the world and continues to be the premier destination in the Philippines for mall shoppers and entertainment seekers. With over 200,000 people visiting this mall daily and over 207,000 square meters of floor area, the activity and commerce at this fascinating Manila location is beyond compare.
More than a Mall
The Mall of Asia has many added features that also make it a fun and entertainment destination rather than simply a shopping and eating stop. Here you will find a 180 foot tall Ferris wheel with air conditioned gondola cars, a huge Olympic-sized ice ring in the middle of the mall, a state of the art IMAX theater.
Concert Halls for World Class Performers
The Mall of Asia also features a massive open-air concert hall directly facing the Manila Bay where international celebrities perform and high-end events are held on a regular basis. Some performers who have performed here include names such as the Eraser Heads, the Pussycat Dolls, Lady Gaga, Aerosmith, Modern English, Jennifer Lopez, BigBang, Pitbull, Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift Bruno Mars, 2NE1, Ate Gay, Paramore, Katy Perry, Usher, Journey and many more top-tier performers.
In addition to the open-air concert hall, there is the Mall of Asia Arena, an indoor arena that holds up to 20,000 people for basketball games and other events that require a smaller indoor venue.