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How to Spend 3 Days in Manila

How to Spend 3 Days in Manila

With three days in Manila, you can start to get a real taste of the pulsating Philippine capital plus the natural and cultural highlights of Luzon island. Discover and dine your way through Manila, then day trip to historic Corregidor Island, active volcanoes, tumbling waterfalls, coconut plantations, or tropical islands.

Day 1: Metro Manila

Spend your first day in Manila orienting yourself in the city, getting a handle on the nation’s history, and savoring some deliciously hearty dishes. There are a wealth of city tours available on foot, by bamboo bicycle, or by the Philippines’ signature jeepney. Look for one that includes Manila’s oldest quarter, Intramuros, historic Fort Santiago, San Agustin Church, and Rizal Park. You might also want to head farther afield, to the mansion-tombs of the Manila Chinese Cemetery, the somber fields of the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, or the vast SM Mall of Asia. 

Another essential experience for today is Filipino food, a fascinating blend of indigenous and international influences. Discover it on a market tour, a food tour, or even at a cooking class in a local home. Wrap up the day with a sunset harbor cruise.

Day 2: The Rock and the Volcanoes

For your second day in Manila, journey to one of the area’s signature attractions. Corregidor Island, a rocky fortress that played a key role in two World War II battles, lies a 1- to 2-hour drive from the city. History and walking tours of the fortress enable you to explore its fortifications, tunnels, and munitions.

Alternatively, discover one of the Philippines’ many active volcanoes. Mt. Pinatubo, whose 1991 eruption was one of the largest of the 20th century, makes for an impressive day trip. Or, for a gentler volcano experience, discover Mt. Taal, an active volcano that sits in the middle of a lake, with its own crater lake at the top; trekking and horseback trekking are just two of the options here. For the evening, try a cultural dinner, where local delicacies meet Filipino dance and folkloric traditions. 

Day 3: Spreading Your Wings

With three days in Manila, you can add another day trip—or opt for both Corregidor Island and a volcano. But you might want to branch out into less-visited parts of Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines. Ride a boat up a jungled gorge to Pagsanjan Falls, then board a bamboo raft through the cascade itself. Discover some of the Philippines’ celebrated beaches with an island-hopping trip along the Luzon coast, or bask in the relaxing waters of volcanic hot springs. Alternatively, enjoy lunch at a restaurant in a waterfall at the historic hillside plantation of Escudero Villa, or spend the day discovering the attractions of the Subic Bay resort area. Top off your stay by embracing Manila’s hypermodern side: splurge on the fine cuisine of homegrown chefs such as Chele Gonzalez, and finish with cocktails in a sky-high rooftop bar.

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6 Tours and Activities

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Manila Old and New: Sightseeing Tour Including Intramuros and Fort Santiago

Manila Old and New: Sightseeing Tour Including Intramuros and Fort Santiago

star-4.5
93
Discover the top sights of Manila on a 4-hour sightseeing tour by coach with an expert guide. Take in the City of Makati and Old Manila, including landmarks such as Nielson Tower, American Cemetery and Memorial and the old walled city of Intramuros. Walk through Intramuros to see UNESCO World Heritage sites including San Agustin Church and Fort Santiago, and learn about the nation's history and heroes like Dr Jose Rizal. You'll gain insight into the Philippine's history, the Spanish colonial era and vibrant modern-day Manila.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$55.00
Price varies by group size
From
$55.00
Price varies by group size

Private Old and New Manila City Tour

Private Old and New Manila City Tour

star-4
9
Explore Manila on a 4-hour private tour with a guide who introduces you to the city's historical and modern-day aspects. You'll visit heritage attractions such as Intramuros and Rizal Park, take a walk through Chinatown, and meet locals at a public market. Hotel pickup and drop-off are included; food, drinks, and entrance fees are at your own expense.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$157.76
Price varies by group size
From
$157.76
Price varies by group size

PanoramicTagaytay Ridge Tour from Manila

PanoramicTagaytay Ridge Tour from Manila

star-4
47
Enjoy panoramic views of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano from the Palace in the Sky, just one of the awe-inspiring destinations on this day trip from Manila. You’re accompanied by an informative guide to Tagaytay Ridge, stopping along the way at St. Joseph Parish Church to see the 200-year-old Las Piñas Bamboo Organ. A Filipino lunch and round-trip transport are included.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$150.00
Price varies by group size
From
$150.00
Price varies by group size

Pagsanjan Falls Adventure from Manila

Pagsanjan Falls Adventure from Manila

star-4
28
Ride over rapids in a dugout canoe to Pagsanjan Falls, surrounded by the lush landscape of Pagsanjan Gorge National Park. You can swim in a hidden cave and enjoy lunch while you’re entertained by live music. Hotel pickup and drop-off are included on this exciting day trip from Manila and Makati, led by a guide.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$180.00
Price varies by group size
From
$180.00
Price varies by group size

Villa Escudero Coconut Plantation Day Trip from Manila

Villa Escudero Coconut Plantation Day Trip from Manila

star-3.5
8
Escape the hustle and bustle of Manila on a day trip to Villa Escudero Plantations, an idyllic coconut farm situated in the lush countryside outside the capital. Enjoy fun activities like water buffalo-powered cart rides, and learn about Filipino culture thanks to an on-site museum and live local music performances. You'll also savor a delicious lunch at the Labasin Dam, enjoying your meal in front of the burbling waters flowing from the dam's spillway. This Villa Escudero visit also includes round-trip transport from your Manila hotel, entrance fees, and a local guide.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$150.00
Price varies by group size
From
$150.00
Price varies by group size

Hands-on Cooking Lesson in Manila: Learn to Cook in a Local Home

Hands-on Cooking Lesson in Manila: Learn to Cook in a Local Home

star-5
5
Learn how to make authentic Filipino food from the experts—a local home chef. Join Greg in his beautiful colonial-style home, and enjoy a private cooking lesson in the kitchen. He will tell you all about Filipino cuisine and the history and influences that have gone into it. After the lesson, eat the traditional dishes you’ve prepared with your host.
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  • 3 hours
From
$94.00
Price varies by group size
From
$94.00
Price varies by group size