Manila is the capital of the Philippines and the second most populated city in the country. It’s been a tourist hotspot for decades, and the vibrant culture keeps bringing travelers and expats back for more. Walking the streets is an adventure in and of itself, and there’s a new experience waiting at every turn. But what do you do when you only have one day in the city?
In this article, we’re going to run through the perfect 24-hour itinerary in Manila. Time is of the essence, and if you follow our recommendations, you won’t miss out on anything. Consider this your personal one-day Manila, Philippines travel guide.
Things to Do in Manila (24 Hours)
8:00 am - Figaro Coffee
First, grab a coffee and a couple pastries at Figaro Coffee to start your day. You’ve got big plans ahead of you, and this coffee shop near the Manila Cathedral will get you ready to go. If you woke up hungry, Figaro serves up some scrumptious breakfast plates. When you’ve finished eating, consider grabbing a drink for the road because you’ve got a brief walk to the next stop.
9:30 am - Intramuros Bambike Tour
Just around the corner from the coffee shop is the meetup location for the Intramuros Bambike Tour. An English-speaking guide will take you and the group around the streets of Intramuros, which is one of the most historical parts of Manila.
You’ll be cruising on a bamboo-made bike (Bambike) to 5-10 historical locations where you will learn about the Philippine colonial period. The tour takes about an hour and a half. It’s a great way to start the morning, and you’ll finish with a brand-new perspective on the city.
Tours fill up fast, so make sure to book your trip here in advance!
11:30 pm - Nails & Massage
Now that you’re warmed up from the Bambike tour, it’s time to get a massage. There are a lot of spas to choose from, and you should go with the one that calls to you. However, if you want our recommendation, take a 20-minute walk or hop in a cheap taxi to Comfort Zone (Body and Nails). You can get a wonderful massage and your nails done for an affordable price. If you know this is the place for you, consider making an appointment in the morning to reserve a spot.
12:30 pm - Taste the Cuisine
You’ve probably worked up an appetite, and luckily Manila is home to some outstanding cuisine. The national dish is called Adobo, which is a meat or two that has been marinated in a delicious sauce with a soy and vinegar base. Here are a couple restaurants worth checking out.
Tutong’s Laksa - Grab yourself a big ol’ bowl of tasty Laksa – a tamarind-based soup.
Bistro Remedios – Here, you can find authentic Kapampangan (northern Philippines) dishes and specialties.
2:00 pm - Shopping (SM Mall of Asia)
Are you ready to experience the largest mall in the Philippines? Well, that’s where we’re headed next. SM Mall of Asia hosts over 600 stores, one of the world’s largest IMAX screens, an ice-skating rink, a science and technology museum, and much more. Even if you’re not keen on buying anything, it’s worth checking out to get away from the sun and people-watch. Once you go, you can tell your friends you’ve been to the largest mall in the Philippines – I’m sure they’ll be quite jealous!
3:30 pm - Manila Ocean Park
Manila Ocean Park is the first world-class marine park in the Philippines. Inside, there are over 14,000 creatures and 277 different species from the Philippines and Southeast Asia. You’ll be able to learn all about the local marine life and see it up close and personal. Don’t miss out on walking through the glass tunnel!
5:30 pm - Sunset at Manila Bay (Best Manila Things to See)
As the day winds down, head over to Manila Bay to watch the sun dip under the horizon. Manila Bay has one of the most stunning sunsets in the country. So, head over to the Manila Baywalk and find a nice spot to post up. Bring a couple drinks with you–non-alcoholic, of course–and soak in the saturated sky. It’s hands down one of the most relaxing things to do in Manila.
7:00 pm - Nightlife
As the night rolls in, it’s time to get loose and check out Manila’s nightlife. Not only does the Philippines have some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, but it also knows how to have a good time. Start your night at Bedrock Bar & Grill for a few drinks and a bite to eat. On the weekend the restaurant has great live music.
If you’re ready for something a bit rowdier, head over to Black Market, a popular club that parties till the early hours of the morning. The line can get long, but there are other party spots nearby. Check them out until you find the vibe that’s right for you.
Where to Stay
Lub D Philippines Makati – Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean you have to stay in crummy hotels. Lub D is a great budget option where travelers can get a bed in a dorm room for less than $15 –that’s not bad! The facility itself is nice, and you’re guaranteed to meet other travelers.
VIP Suite Hotel – An affordable hotel option in a good location close to public transportation. There’s a free breakfast each morning and laundry service to clean your soiled travel clothes. Clean, standard rooms that range between $20 and $40.
Somerset Central Salcedo Makati – Somerset Central is a high-quality hotel that offers all the amenities you could ask for. There’s a fitness center, pool, on-site café for breakfast and lunch, and a business center. The rooms cost around $100 to $200.
In Manila, you’ll have a few ways of getting around–all of which are convenient. Download the Grab Taxi app to your phone, which is basically the Uber of the Philippines. It’s a great resource to have if you’re ever stranded and need a ride. Uber is also available, and it would be a good idea to compare prices on both apps.
Hop on the famous Jeepneys – old U.S. Military jeeps that are pimped out and used as public transportation. If that’s not your type of travel, it’s on of the things to do in Manila at least once. Throughout the city, you’ll find an endless amount of car and bike taxis. With taxis, always make sure to agree on a price before the trip starts to avoid an awkward confrontation at the end of the ride.
All in all, you should have no problem getting around Manila!
We hope this Manila, Philippines travel guide will take you on an epic adventure. Safe travels and good luck!
If you are interested in the camera gear and equipment we use to create beautiful pictures, videos and memories, all are listed below. Each product has its own use for the different type of content we create. PS: we highly recommend the Sandisk SSD drives - game changers for transferring content from the camera to our laptops.
CAMERAS & LENSES
Canon EOS R (Camera body) (Professional)
Canon RF 35mm lens (Good for close up videos and photos)
Canon RF 70-200 (Crystal clear images from a distance)
Canon RF 15-35mm (Versatile lens, amazing for wide angle shots)
Go Pro Hero 10 (Under water shots)
iPhone 13 PRO (Quick videos and for vlogging)
DJI Mavic Air 2 (Aerial drone photography and videos)
LAPTOP & HARDWARE
Sandisk SSD (Small, compact, super fast transfer speed)
Yeti Panga 100% Waterproof bag (Submersible backpack)