With the country’s lockdown restrictions slowly relaxing, many establishments, including Manila’s citadels of art, heritage, and culture, are finally back in business.
From Luneta Park to Fort Santiago to the National Library of the Philippines, here’s a list of cultural sites that have reopened to (safely) guide you on your next excursion to the capital.
For both convenience and safety, all visitors are encouraged to download the Stay Safe PH app, available on App Store and Google Play, for contact tracing. Minimum health and safety protocols, such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing, will also be observed in each location.
National Museum Complex
After nearly a year without operations, the National Museum of the Philippines has finally reopened the National Museum Complex to visitors from around the metro.
The complex’s three main buildings: the National Museum of Fine Arts, National Museum of Anthropology, and National Museum of Natural History are now accepting visitors from Tuesdays to Sundays, between 9 AM to 12 NN and 1 PM to 4 PM. Guests must book their visits at least a day in advance on the National Museum’s official website, as walk-ins will not be allowed.
National Library of the Philippines
Located along TM Kalaw Ave., in Ermita, Manila, The National Library of the Philippines is renowned for its precious collection of rare Filipiniana works. First established in 1887, the library includes the original written works of Jose Rizal, as well as the original documents of the Philippine Revolutionary Records.
From Monday to Friday, the NLP’s Reading Room is open to guests between 9 AM to 3 PM. Only 100 people are allowed to enter per day, so visitors need to book slots via the National Library’s reservation form at least a day in advance.
For available books, browse through the library’s catalog at web.nlp.gov.ph.
San Agustin Museum and Cultural Center
The San Agustin Museum is home to several galleries that feature historical and religious art and artifacts from the 16th century. It sits right beside the 400-year-old San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest stone churches in the country.
Following the reopening of select Intramuros sites, the San Agustin Museum is now accepting visitors from Wednesday to Sunday, between 8 AM to 12 PM and 1 PM to 6 PM. The entrance fee is at Php 200 for adults, and Php 160 for students, PWDs, seniors, and front-liners.
Looking to enjoy an outdoor option? Stroll along Luneta Park in Ermita, Manila, which is open daily from 5 AM to 8 PM. Also known as Rizal Park, it covers 58 hectares of land and is the tomb and memorial site of Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
If you’re up for a short walk however, Paco Park on General Luna St. is also open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM. Only ten minutes away by foot from Luneta, this recreational garden was once built as a cemetery by the Dominicans during the Spanish colonial period. Rizal was temporarily buried here after he was executed in Bagumbayan.
Manila is a city rich in history, culture, art, and beauty—you just need to look in the right places. Check out our walking tour of the country's old capital, written by Celine Mallari and with photos by Joseph Pascual: Manila in 9000 steps.