Manila, the Philippine’s capital, is a colourful and vibrant city that never sleeps. This city is founded on a complex history that includes its complete destruction during the bombings in World War II. Despite this devastation, Manila has grown to become an incredible cosmopolitan city, with Malay, American, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese influences. With a unique mixture of modern and old, and poverty and prosperity, Manila offers an unforgettable experience for tourists.
Businesses, shops, residential areas, entertainment, waterfalls, art culture and colonial landmarks create incredible chaos within Manila. Renowned cruise lines that dock at this wonderful city include Royal Caribbean International and Crystal Cruises.
At this point, there are no dedicated passenger terminals for international cruises. Currently, cruise ships dock at Pier 15 at South Harbor.
There aren’t many facilities in the port aside from money changers, so it’s best to venture out to join the bustle of Manila. There are a few hotels and restaurants near the port, as well as Rizal Park and Manila Ocean Park.
How to Get Around
You can visit some of Manila’s attractions on foot as the port is in the centre of the city. As Manila’s temperatures can be quite high, it may be more comfortable to take a mode of transport as well.
Taxis are always available, as are Jeepneys – US military jeeps that have been adapted into a quirky and poplar mode of public transport. Rickshaws with side cars also zip through the streets.
Travel times from Pier 15:
It is a 17 minute journey to Rizal Park
It is a 20 minute journey to Manila Ocean Park
It is a 15 minute journey to Fort Santiago
It is an 18 minute journey to San Agustin Church
It is a 35 minute journey to the National Museum.
It is a 6 minute journey to Rizal Park
It is a 7 minute journey to Manila Ocean Park
It is a 5 minute journey to Fort Santiago
It is a 6 minute journey to San Agustin Church
It is a 15 minute journey to National Museum.
Currency – The local currency of Manila is the Philippine Peso (Php). Banknotes come in denominations of Php5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000. Coins come in Php 1, 2, 5 and 10, and 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos. 100 centavos make up 1 peso.
Time Zone – Manila falls into Philippine Time (PHT), which is 8 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Daylight Savings Time is not observed.
Weather – Manila is characterised by hot and humid temperatures. The hottest month of the year is May, with temperatures averaging around 30 degrees Celsius. January is the coldest, with temperatures only falling to around 26 degrees Celsius. Manila’s wettest month is August, which averages around 140mm of rain.
Fort Santiago – Built as Manila’s defensive fortress by Lopez de Legazpi, Fort Santiago is rich with complex history and culture. It is a prominent element in the Walled City of Manila (otherwise known as Intramuros), and a popular tourist attraction. This 16th century fortress has seen the imprisonment of Jose Rizal, a national hero in Philippines, before his execution. A shrine is even dedicated to Rizal, which gives tourists the opportunity to pay respect to his last hours of life. Even in World War II, this structure played its part and has been occupied by the Spanish, the United States and the Japanese Imperial Army. Despite its intense history, Fort Santiago offers peaceful walks and incredible architecture.
National Museum of the Philippines – Take a look into Manila’s past at the National Museum. Located in the heart of Manila, the National Museum pays tribute to the heritage of the nation. Visitors can see a collection of around 1,032 pieces, some of which date back to the 18th century. There is even an impressive archaeological collection, featuring the Manunggul Burial Jar, which is around 3,000 years old. Visitors can also observe incredible detail in the Philippine’s largest painting, the Spoliarium.
Quiapo Church – One of Manila’s most popular landmarks is Quiapo Church. Built in 1933 to replace a structure that had burnt down, Quiapo Church attracts thousands of followers during the city’s religious festival, The Black Nazarene Procession. It is also home to a life-sized 17th century statue of Christ, which is otherwise known as the Black Nazarene. Every Friday, the church is so packed during its service that there is a giant screen out the front for those who couldn’t find space inside. While photography is not permitted inside the church, you can take some incredible photos of its exterior.