On your trek around the world, you may consider a visit to Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

When you go to Manila, there are many unique attractions to see and lesser known things to see and do during your stay.

Book a flight from Japan or wherever you are to Manila with Cathay Pacific to get started on your adventure today!

1. The Cubao Expo

The Cubao Expo is not an attraction you would expect when you go to Manila. Not many tourists flock to this area, but you should still check it out anyway!

Back in the 1960s, shoe vendors would gather here to sell their wares. Fast forward to modern day, you can now get many vintage pieces and knick knacks to give your home a historical flair. If you love vinyl records, you can find them here at a cost-effective price point.

Lesser known art galleries and thrift stores are stationed nearby for your viewing pleasure. If you get thirsty, you can go to one of the coffee shops or bars in the area to grab your favorite drink and a little appetizer or treat.

Address: 3 General Romulo Ave, Cubao, Quezon City, 1109 Metro Manila, Philippines

2. Puerta Real Gardens

The stone walls of the Puerta Real Gardens originated in the 18th century. It looks like a tropical paradise with the coconut palms situated throughout the garden.

There is a stone bridge beneath and a long, covered gazebo for you to pass through for a wonderful nature walk. Fountains nearby make the environment peaceful and relaxing to match the positive vibe of the wonderful nature display.

If you are feeling extra adventurous, you can climb the highest fort in the garden to get the best views of Makati, which is Manila’s bustling business district.

You can explore the open garden as long as it is not closed for a special event such as a wedding or a birthday party.

Address: HXPG+8WH, Intramuros, Manila, 1002 Metro Manila, Philippines

3. Find the Best Street Art

When you go to Manila, the best transportation modes are via the UBE shuttle for longer distance travels and taxis for shorter distances. However, all you need are your two feet or to rent a bike to find the best street art throughout Manila.

UP Diliman’s College of Fine Arts is one place to see street art. An alumni from the college returned to the campus to decorate it with historical murals. The “2013 recap mural” that features the Supreme Court’s land reform doctrine and the Typhoon Yolanda that hit the Philippines.

Other places where you can view the best street art are The Collective, Molino Road in Bacoor, Aguinaldo Highway, Goodfriend Bridge, and Fort Bonifacio.

Address: M339+HC2, Roxas Ave, Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines (UP of Diliman)

4. Paco Park Cemetery

Paco Park Cemetery was an original cemetery turned recreational one as of modern day. This was the cemetery for fallen Dominicans during the Spanish colonial period. During World War II, Japanese people inhabited the Philippines and transformed the cemetery into a battle zone.

Now, Paco Park Cemetery is considered a national park for recreational activities and recreation throughout a native or tourist’s day.

Check the event calendar to see if any local bands or choirs will be performing at Paco Park Cemetery when you go to Manila.

Address: HXJQ+99M, Belen, Paco, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

5. Manila North Cemetery

The Manila North Cemetery is home to more than 10,000 living people with people who have passed on also buried here before the area became a live-in area.

Be humbled when you see the people at this cemetery dwelling in the family crypts because they do not have a place to go.

You can support one of their family businesses by purchasing from one of the nearby food carts. Other small businesses are set inside of family mausoleums in the area.

Since crime committers attempt to rob the graves, there have been threats to shut down the entire community and the people disperse. However, this would put many people at a disadvantage because they do not have any place to go.

Address: 1721 Cavite St, Santa Cruz, Manila, 1014 Metro Manila, Philippines

  1. APEC Sculpture Garden

Go to the Philippine National Convention Center to witness the APEC Sculpture Garden. The attraction is only a few miles from Manila. Each sculpture represents a member country in APEC. However, Peru does not have a sculpture in this garden.

APEC stands for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. The organization originated in 1989 with 12 member countries which graduated to the 21 there are today. These countries work together to promote prosperity, job growth, and economic trades. As a result of their strong international relationship, the APEC Sculpture Garden started in 1996.

A red tower represents Chile while a brown bear is a symbol for Russia. A baby inside of a white circle is a sculpture representing China. The cassowary sculpture is the symbol of Papua New Guinea.

The sculptures as a whole encompass how strong the Asian-Pacific nations are together as allied nations. Take a walk through history and cultural diversity when you visit the APEC Sculpture Garden.

Address: HX4J+2QQ, Near Philippine International Convention Center Vicente Sotto Street, CCP Complex, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines


Distance from Manila — 13 minutes

7. The National Library of the Philippines

The National Library of the Philippines is located in Riza Park. You can browse high-value artifacts of Manila’s history while reading up on Filipino and Asian-Pacific history and other popular subjects.

Tourists may not think to visit a library when they visit a new place, but it is definitely worth the historical lessons. There are more than 210,000 books to browse, over 100,000 newspapers from long ago, and almost 1 million manuscripts to explore.

If geography is your favorite thing to learn, the almost 5,000 maps will be up your alley to explore.

Address: 1000 Kalaw Ave, Ermita, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila, Philippines

Final Thoughts About Visiting Manila

Whether it’s browsing gardens, finding vintage wares, or viewing street art, there are many off-the-beaten-path things you can do when you go to Manila.

Cathay Pacific strives to be your go-to for all your aerial travel needs, so consider booking a flight with us today!