The City of Manila is the second most populous and one of the busiest cities in Southeast Asia. The Port of Manila has been the Philippines' social, cultural, political, and economic center for four centuries, and it is the modern center for industry and international trade. Since being almost destroyed in World War II, the Port of Manila is rebuilding, and it faces the same problems that other modern metropolises face today. For more information about the things to see and do in the Port of Manila and the Philippines, please visit the tourism website.
Old Manila is very much a Latin American city, with historic churches, forts, and the original city founded by the Spanish conquerors, Intramuros. Until the 1950s, most of the Philippines educated citizens spoke fluent Spanish. Today, most Filipinos speak English and native languages, but the Hispanic culture remains. The Port of Manila is a diverse, exciting city that invites visitors from all over the world. The Port of Manila is relatively inexpensive, but it is rich in culture, nightlife, and wonderful sunny beaches.
The Port of Manila is protected from harsh weather by the Eastern Cordillera hills and the Bataan Peninsula's mountains to the west. The Port of Manila has a tropical climate with a wet season that stretches from June to November and a December-to-May dry season. Thunderstorms and high humidity are common from July until September, and September is the rainiest month of the year. The Port of Manila also enjoys a relatively constant temperature, ranging from an average high of 33 °C (91 °F) in April and May to an average low of 21 °C (70 °F) in February.
The Port of Manila boasts the oldest Chinatown in the world. Binondo is the Chinatown district, which is another world in the middle of this bustling metropolis. Chinese music blares from shops. Incense permeates the air. People haggle over goods. Chinatown was established in 1594 when the Spanish wanted to control Chinese residents' unrest. Today, it covers about one square kilometer. The Port of Manila's Chinatown is well-known for wholesale stores, and its restaurants and street food vendors make the area popular as well. Its top-rated restaurants offer everything including roast suckling pig, century eggs, freshwater turtles, and exotic fish and fruit that are not available anywhere else in the Philippines. In the middle of Chinatown is the Binondo Church, a Catholic Church, one of the oldest houses of worship in the Philippines. Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint and a Chinese mestizo, was an altar boy at Binondo Church. At the 128 Mall, shoppers find bargains at amazingly low prices. Horse-drawn carriages are also often seen in the streets of the Port of Manila's Old Chinatown. It is an area unique not only to the Port of Manila and the Philippines, but the whole world, since nowhere else will you find the mix of Chinese, Filipino, and Spanish cultures.
The Museum of the Filipino People was established in 1901 as a natural history and ethnographic museum. Located beside Rizal Park near Intramuros, the former Congress building houses exhibits related to the arts, natural sciences, and Philippine history. The San Diego Gallery 1 treats visitors to a walk-in diorama of the Spanish wreck San Diego, illustrating the wreck as it appeared when it was discovered under 54 meters of water. The Spanish trading vessel was built for trade but refitted for war by the Vice-Governor General. Two additional galleries contain artifacts and information about his fascinating shipwreck and piece of history.
Another gallery in the Port of Manila's Museum of the Filipino People (also the National Museum) tells about the Port of Manila and Philippines' role in maritime trade throughout East Asia before the Spanish arrived. The Pingamulan gallery informs visitors about the original of the islands and the people. The Kaban ng Lahi gallery portrays ancient Filipino burial practices and contains burial jars and other pottery excavated from caves around the islands. The Kinahinatnan (The Filipino Today) gallery illustrates the diversity of Philippine cultures, focusing on the different ethno-linguistic groups, ecological zones, and the country's national treasures. The Cloth Traditions gallery features traditional textiles from the country's history including rare textiles usually found only in private collections.
The Port of Manila's Rizal Park is located just outside the walled city of Intramuros. Known more popularly as the Luneta, the park offers the best museums, bayside restaurants, an open-air theater, a planetarium, and the Manila Hotel. Early morning joggers and tai chi enthusiasts love the Rizal Park. Located in the heart of the Port of Manila, the park overlooks the bay. Originally meant to protect Intramuros from rebellious natives, the park has witnessed some of the country's most important historic moments since it was built in the early 1700s, including the execution of author and national hero Jose Rizal.
Built by Spaniards in the 16th Century, Intramuros is the Port of Manila's oldest district. Built as a walled enclosure to protect the colonial government, it was considered the whole of Manila for many years. Within its walls were many churches, convents, and chapels, many of which serve other purposes today, including the Manila Cathedral and the ruins of San Ignacio church. The district also contained many schools and other buildings including the Governors Palace (now the Commission on Elections).
Travelers who want to visit the Port of Manila and the Philippines on a cruise should check out the Cruise Compete website for a list of scheduled cruises.