Culture & sightseeing

THE-ICE 13th IPoE Forum 2019

A Quantum Leap in Excellence – Education Without Borders

14th – 17th October 2019

To be proudly co-hosted by Lyceum of the Philippines University
& University of Santo Tomas

At The Bayleaf, Muralla St, Intramuros, Manila, 1002 Metro Manila, Philippines

IPoE Forum 2019 co-host Lyceum of the Philippines University have coordinated with their partner, Rajah Travels, for tours that may be chosen by IPoE Forum delegates. For bookings, please send your request to Jonee and Pau at

If you wish to explore Manila on you own, please see below for a selection of where to go and what to see, provided by the Forum co-hosts.

Welcome to Manila

Manila is the capital and chief city of the Philippines. The city is the center of the country’s economic, political, social, and cultural activity. It is located on the island of Luzon and spreads along the eastern shore of Manila Bay at the mouth of the Pasig River.

It is a confederation of 17 different cities and municipalities, linked by a bewildering network of train, bus and jeepney routes.  It contains many of the country’s largest and most prestigious universities and is also home to the National Library. It was the central location of the nation’s battles for independence, first from Spain and later from the United States. Colonized by the Spanish and later governed by the Americans, Manila shows the signs of foreign influence in the widespread Roman Catholicism and the modeling of its schools upon the American educational system. Despite these influences, Manila and its citizens demonstrate a character and vitality uniquely their own.

First impressions of this huge bustling city might be intimidating at first, but the city has some of the best nightlife and shopping in Asia, and some impressive museums that provide a fascinating overview of Manila’s melting pot of cultures.  History enthusiasts will definitely love to traverse in the 16th-century walls of Intramuros.  Shoppers will adore the air-conditioned malls of Makati, Mall of Asia (MOA) and the low priced items in ‘tiangge’ stalls in Greenhills, plus great foodies will delight in Manila’s streetfood stalls, seafood restaurants and Chinatown’s dim sum heaven.  Manila moves things up on a different level after dark, as bars and clubs along the area pulse through the night by astonishing talented Filipino bands and endless karaoke activities.

But what really knits everything together is the Filipino people.  That because of their openness, hospitality, love for conversation and determination to keep going despite the odds, this ensures that Manila is the Asia’s gregarious capital.

Manila Travel Tips

Know the exchange rate before you arrive in the Philippines

This way you’re aware of exactly how much you’re paying. Use a calculator to convert it from pesos into your local currency, to save any confusion. You can check the current exchange rate online before you leave, as it fluctuates each day. (As of 14Feb19, BSR 1USD equals 52.19PHP)

Know the rush hour times in Manila

Make sure to take note of the peak of the traffic hours in the Manila area (07: 00 to 09:00 and 17:00 to 21:00 on weekdays).

Take time to research the weather

A common misconception about the Philippines is that the entire country has the same weather. The Philippines has four distinct climate zones, so study the regional forecasts carefully.

Cultural Attractions and Tourist Destinations

Intramuros, “The Walled City”

Intramuros or the walled city of Manila, is located on the southern side of the Pasig River close to the rivers entrance into Manila Bay.  It covers an area of about 160 acres. Intramuros was a fortress city with walls 6 metres high and a commanding 3 kilometres in length, it is no wonder it was impenetrable.  Intramuros was designed with 51 blocks within the vast walls, the only access in or out of Intramuros was via seven fortified gates. A moat around the walled city was added in 1603. Spread throughout the 51 blocks of the city were 12 churches, hospitals, domestic accommodation, military barracks, Governors Palace and schools.

Manila Cathedral

The Manila Cathedral is the Premier Church of the Philippines because of all the Churches in the archipelago, it was the one chosen to become the Cathedral in 1581 when the Philippines was separated from the Archdiocese of Mexico and became a new diocese with its episcopal seat in Manila.

As the Church of Manila, it was established by the secular priest Juan de Vivero in 1571 under the patronage of Mary, La Purissima e Inmaculada Concepcion. Fr. Vivero was given the special privilege and sole faculty by the Archbishop of Mexico to take care of the spiritual welfare of the new Philippine colony.

Fort Santiago

Fort Santiago is the oldest Hispanic stone fortress in the Philippines. Situated at the mouth of the Pasig River, which runs into Manila Bay it is the ideal place to put fortifications to ensure the safety of the area and to defend against the pirates and marauders which frequented the area.

Fort Santiago has been restored and you will find most of the areas preserved. Worth visiting inside the Fort proper is the Rizal Shrine, the museum where you will find a replica of Jose Rizal’s prison cell set up supposedly before he was executed. One can also visit the dungeons in the prison which is worth a look. The rest of Fort Santiago has been set up into a beautiful park. One of the shops you’ll spot by the entrance is The Manila Collectible Co., which has cute notebooks and notepads with Filipino designs. Bringing this historical site to the digital age, the labels around Fort Santiago now have QR codes, which when scanned on your phone leads to fun facts about the site. There are kalesas, old dungeons, an old theater, gardens, and more to keep your eyes and ears busy as you take in all the history.

  • Fort Santiago is at Sta. Clara corner General Luna Street. Entrance fee is P75.
  • Estimated Price of Transportation (Grab): PHP 200 to PHP 250
  • Rizal Shrine
    • If you’re already inside Fort Santiago, you should definitely head over to the Rizal Shrine, which commemorates the death of national hero Jose Rizal. To get to the shrine, all you have to do is look down. On the ground you will see imprinted footsteps, which represent the way that Rizal took on the way to his execution. The steps lead you to the shrine which bears a sculpture of Jose Rizal inside his cell. Nearby is Dambana ni Rizal, a museum that has paintings, sculptures, photos, and other artifacts depicting Rizal’s life.
    • Estimated Price of Transportation (Grab): PHP 150 to PHP 170
  • Rizaliana Furniture Exhibit
    • Another attraction inside Fort Santiago is the Rizaliana Furniture Exhibit, which only requires P10 for entrance. The exhibit focuses on the furniture that was used by the Rizal family. Some of the pieces were donated by Trinidad Rizal and Saturnina Rizal-Hidalgo, sisters of Jose Rizal, all of which now belong to the National Historical Institute. Aside from furniture, encased under glass are some of Rizal’s clothes and old copies of his literary masterpieces Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.

Casa Manila

Casa Manila’s main attraction is a fully-furnished home-turned-museum that shows how Filipinos lived during the colonial era. Visitors are not allowed to take photos, although the rooms are definitely IG-worthy. You should also remember to walk only on the carpeted areas so that you do not damage the wooden floors. Of all the luxurious furniture in Casa Manila, the most memorable are the toilets. Apparently, in the olden days, toilets were built in twos or more. This allowed people to sit beside each other and chat while they did their business.

  • Casa Manila is at Plaza San Luis at General Luna corner Real Street. Entrance fee is P75.
  • Estimated Price of Transportation (Grab): PHP 140 to PHP 150

National Museum

The National Museum of the Philippines has a vast array of historic and cultural artifacts. Among them are pre-Hispanic artifacts, primitive tools that the Malays and the Negroid Aeta aborigine tribes used. The most renowned collection of the National Museum in Manila is that of the “San Diego”, one of the galleons that plied the Manila-Acapulco trade. The galleon had been sunk by a typhoon with all hands and an entire cargo of Chinese porcelain, gold, jewelry and weapons. Found and raised largely intact, the artifacts now make up a whole gallery revealing plenty about 17th century life in the country.  Likewise, the centerpiece of the National Museum collections, hanging as it does in the main ground floor gallery, is Juan Luna’s “Spoliarium”, a very large canvas about 23 feet wide and 13 feet tall, that depicts life-size figures in a scene of vanquished Roman gladiators being dragged to a pile of corpses while spectators look on and a woman grieves alone in a corner. To the Filipino people, the “Spoliarium” was a heroic representation of their own slavery, sacrifice and tragedy. 

Rizal Park

Rizal Park also known as Luneta Park or simply Luneta, is a historical urban park in the Philippines. It was initially called “Lunette” as it was a cleared area, in the shape of a small moon, outside Intramuros. Located along Roxas Boulevard, Manila, adjacent to the old walled city of Intramuros, it is one of the largest urban parks in Asia. It has been a favorite leisure spot, and is frequented on Sundays and national holidays. It was latter know as Rizal Park in honour of the countries national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

Manila Ocean Park

Manila Ocean Park is the country’s first world-class marine theme park and a premiere educational facility. An integrated urban resort with marine life attractions and aqua-themed hotel, the park is geared towards an all-year, all-weather destination for locals and tourists. Every day is a holiday and an ultimate fun place for all ages.



Places to Eat and Drink

The gigantic city of Manila blends a myriad of influences from various parts of the world, both in its history and its cuisine. Filipino food itself has already been shaped by aboriginal, Spanish, North American, Indonesian and Chinese cuisines, so you’re almost certain to find something to your taste in Manila. There are a great number of places to dine in Manila, from upscale hotel’s restaurants to unpretentious budget cafés, and from local to international restaurants, all ready to serve you mouth-watering meals.


Spiral, covering an area of almost 3,000 square metres is in the grounds of Sofitel Philippines Plaza.  It describes itself as a venue that brings the authenticity and warmth of the traditional French markets and Asian hawker stalls into a five-star hotel setting. With 21 stalls preparing and serving exquisite dishes from all around the world, Spiral invites you not simply to dine, but to participate in a ‘gastronomic experience’ in refined settings.

Cafe Ilang-Ilang

Café Ilang-Ilang is an outstanding international restaurant belonging to the Manila Hotel which is located within walking distance of Rizal Park and Manila Intramuros. Through its eight live cooking stations, you can explore European, Mediterranean and Asia cuisines. A la carte dishes are also available in this refined restaurant, designed in a contemporary style with a vintage twist.

Sky Deck on Bayleaf Hotel

Sky Deck is a stylish lounge and restaurant on the rooftop of Bayleaf Hotel, a classy accommodation choice located on the eastern side of Manila Intramuros. The venue is a stunning sundowner spot, offering views over Manila Bay. Food-wise, you can enjoy both Filipino and international cuisine, served in big portions at fair rates. A live music band is in charge of the entertainment on some nights, but the highlight of the Sky Deck remains the sunset over Manila.

The Aristocrat

The Aristocrat is a long-established restaurant in the capital city of the Philippines, dating back to 1936. It is located in San Andres Street, just off Roxas Boulevard, right in front of Manila Bay. The restaurant serves a wide range of Filipino specialties at reasonable prices, though the house specialty of honey-cured chicken barbecue has been a favourite for generations. Drinks include beer, juices, soft drinks and mineral water. The Aristocrat has become a chain which counts eight branches throughout Manila.

Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant

Barbara de los Reyes was brought up with a taste for elegance and good food. Her family pioneered the fine dining and catering industry in Olongapo City. She brought this fondness for gourmet cuisine to Manila in the early 1970’s. Starting out as a small cafe in Malate, the business soon expanded its operations to catering as well as canteen management. Today, Barbara’s is located at the Plaza San Luis complex in Intramuros, Manila. The restaurant’s main entrees celebrate traditional Filipino and Spanish recipes but house specialties also include other European-inspired dishes. Barbara’s cater to people who enjoy good food served in a grand manner.


Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship opportunities are now available, please email for details.

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