Manila Port is located in the capital city of the Philippines; it is a thriving port that serves cargo vessels and cruise ships alike. It is strategically situated at the mouth of the Pasig River in Manila and stretches along the Manila Bay; it is one of the busiest ports not only in the Philippines but also in Southeast Asia. The Manila port of call is the country’s main entry point for commerce and trade. Manilla has a diverse and unique culture.
Manila port, called Seludong or Sleurung in ancient times was the capital city of the Malays of Ancient Tondo. Trade flourished with the nearby countries of China, Japan, India, Malaysia and Indonesia. During the sixteenth century, Spanish conquerors invaded the port city and established rule that existed for the next three hundred years. During this time, the port was a stronghold of commerce between Mexico and the Philippines; it earned praise from international shippers.
The port of Manila lost its grandeur under the Philippine rule that followed this period; especially during the Marcos Martial Law period from 1972 to 1986. During the late 1990s to the early twenty-first century, the entry of more cruise ships in the Manila cruise port began to revive the grandeur that was lost.
Manila is a diverse culture filled with much Spanish and Hispanic influence. Native bags made of bamboo strands and fancy beaded jewelries are the most widely available souvenirs sold by local vendors. Traditional native woodworks stamped with the name of Manila are hot tourist items. Small stalls and makeshift tables are immediately available along the streets outside the Manila cruise terminal; you can bargain with the vendors for low prices. The 128 Mall in Binondo is also a great place to find bargain goods.
If you are in for some major shopping, the biggest mall in Southeast Asia is just a few minutes away from the port. The SM Mall of Asia spans over several acres and is home to a large number of branded stores and boutiques selling fashion clothes, perfumes and jewelry.
Things to See
Rich in heritage and history, Manila is a source of pride for Filipinos. With grand old churches and historic landmarks, it is teeming with a large number of attractions. A good place to start your visit is in the Chinatown district of Manila. Known to locals as the Binondo area, it is where the Chinese people were banished during the early Spanish era to prevent uprisings. The district is home to the Binondo Church, a Spanish Church, said to be one of the oldest places of worship in the country.
A visit to the Rizal Park or famously known to the locals as Luneta Park is also a sight to see. Right in the center of the park is a monument honoring the country’s national hero Jose Rizal. The Luneta Park is the site where the revolutionary author died; he was executed by firing squad in the year 1896. Surrounding the area is the walled city of Intramuros where you can find numerous museums and bayside restaurants.
Restaurants and Bars
Nightlife has always been the pride and glory of Manila. In the Makati district (a sub-city near the capital), you can find bars and restaurants that remain open until the wee hours of the morning. Kare-kare dishes and fried chicken are the most popular dishes sold in the restaurants. The Max’s Fried Chicken has garnered praise for several decades for serving old style fried chicken whose flavors goes right to the bones of the chicken. Other specialties include the crispy pata (fied pork knuckles) and kare-kare (oxtail stew).
The Barrio Fiesta restaurant located in major malls in Manila offers local cuisine as well. Favorites are the chicken adobo, kare-kare and halo-halo (dessert with various fruits in ice).