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Study in Manila

By Sabrina Collier

Updated July 28, 2021 Updated July 28, 2021

Manila boasts the oldest Chinatown in the world; the historic Manila Cathedral; and Rizal Park. Let's take a closer look at why students are choosing to study in the city.

Manila is the capital city of the Philippines, and has been nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ due to its central location on Pacific trade routes.

Founded in 1571 by Spanish colonialists, the city has a large number of significant cultural and architectural landmarks, including the historic walled city of Intramuros, which was the seat of government during Spanish colonial rule in the 16th century.

Other popular sites include Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world; the historic Manila Cathedral; and Rizal Park, an important site in the country’s history, which features gardens, monuments, artworks and an open-air auditorium that puts on free music, theatre and dance performances.

The city is home to a large number of museums, including the National Museum of Fine Arts, as well as a host of beautiful architecture reflecting a mixture of American, Spanish, Chinese, and Malaysian influences.

This city is considered one of the best shopping destinations in Asia, with major shopping malls and bazaars. International students will also enjoy exploring Manila’s popular hidden bars, modern galleries, lively indie music scene, and a range of delicious street food.

Manila is the Philippines’ educational centre, with a high concentration of universities found in the unofficial ‘University Belt’ district, all within walking distance of each other. This includes the oldest university in both the country and Asia – the University of Santo Tomas, which was founded in 1611. The language of instruction at most universities is English.

Manila ranks within the top 20 cities for affordability in the QS Best Student Cities 2022, with an ideal combination of low tuition fees and living costs.

Are you studying in Manila? Tell us what you think.

Best universities in Manila: QS Best Student Cities ranking: =113rd

University of the PhilippinesAteneo de Manila UniversityDe La Salle UniversityUniversity of Santo Tomas

More about Manila

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

University of the Philippines (399th)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student View rank


To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

This article was originally published in July 2021 .

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Written by

The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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