Parañaque is a city in southern Metro Manila. It contains the Entertainment City (E-City), the Little Las Vegas of Manila containing four huge casinos, and Baclaran, a residential and commercial neighborhood containing bustling flea markets, the Baclaran Church, backpacker inns and some nightclubs.
Parañaque lies to the southwest part of Metro Manila, surrounded by Pasay to the north, Manila Bay to the west, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa to the south, and Taguig to the east. It is largely a residential community just south of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, full of large subdivisions, notably the affluent BF Homes, also a barangay in its own right. BF Homes also includes areas in Las Piñas and part of Muntinlupa.
The Entertainment City area, administratively part of barangay Tambo and Baclaran, houses the large casino complexes in the city, in sharp contrast to the chaotic scenes to the east. The area, developed by the national gambling corporation and regulator, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) from 2002, lies on reclaimed areas on Manila Bay created during the Marcos administration through the 1970s and 1980s. The area is flourishing with the ongoing casino construction, which also causes a rise in land prices.
Baclaran, once a peaceful fishing village, has been a bargain hunters' paradise and a congested working-class ghetto south of Manila. It is home to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Baclaran Church or Redemptorist Church), a shrine dedicated to the Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and flea markets (tiangges) selling cheap goods at bargain prices. First time visitors, especially those from the airport, are easily overwhelmed by street scenes and the people, with peddlers, beggars, street performers, and vagrants sharing space with slow-moving cars and crowds of shoppers, residents and students, but behind the chaos are a laid-back nightlife scene and some backpacker accommodations.
The Kabihasnan area is the city's historic district, but is largely a congested residential area, with scattered slum areas.
The rest of Parañaque is characterized by large subdivisions, many being barangays on their own, and interspersed slums and family-owned compounds. Sucat Road (Dr. A. Santos Avenue), a tree-lined six-lane avenue, is the area's major thoroughfare. Shopping malls and most food destinations, including those in the subdivisions, lie on this part of the city.
The city has some visible foreign populations, mostly Chinese and some Westerners. White residents, often spouse of locals, often live behind the security of the large, self-contained subdivisions. Chinese migrants, generally workers, gambling operators and land developers, on the other hand, are mostly concentrated near Entertainment City and Baclaran, though their influx is not without negative effects to local businesses and land prices.
By plane, one arrives here at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which straddles the city limits into nearby Pasay. Provincial buses, from southern Luzon come at the new multi-story airport-style bus station near the Entertainment City.
From outside Metro Manila
- 1 Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX), Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, Don Galo. Pronounced either as an initialism, or increasingly as PEE-tehckss, it is one of the three common bus stations being built to replace the scattered company-owned bus stations throughout Metro Manila; this one aimed on trips to southern Luzon and interisland routes that once depart from Pasay. It will also connect with the LRT Line 1 extension to Bacoor in Cavite.
Provincial trips arrive at the second floor, and departing trips are at the ground floor. Tickets for outbound trips, regardless of distance, from PITX are prepurchased from the ticket booths. Buses depart from any of the 59 bays on the terminal's 10 gates. Watch for overhead screens for the gate and bay where you must board the bus.
Point-to-point (P2P) express buses by DNS Transport (from Makati CBD and Ortigas Center) and Pangasinan Solid North Transit (from Baguio) terminate at PITX. Saulog also has a P2P bus from Cavite City's Sangley Point Airport. RRCG also has a P2P service from Batangas City.
The bus station provides more-than-average amenities, with air-conditioned waiting rooms, a interfaith prayer room, and elevators. Shops are slowly springing up at the terminal. There is also a food court full of vendors in kiosks.
Within the metro
Since June 2020, Parañaque is served by these following numbered bus routes, all converging at PITX:
- Route E EDSA Carousel: A bus rapid transit (BRT) service plying EDSA, from Monumento in Caloocan. Unlike the other routes, it is exclusively served by accessible low-floor buses. Cash is not honored as payment and a smart card (e.g. Beep) is required.
- Route 2 Monumento-PITX: Runs from Monumento in Caloocan via C-3, Navotas, Radial Road 10 and Roxas Boulevard.
- Route 18 PITX-NAIA loop: Services to and from the four Ninoy Aquino International Airport on a clockwise loop via EDSA and Andrews Avenue. It replaced the Airport Loop buses used to run the same service, except they no longer stop at Baclaran.
- Route 24 Alabang-PITX: Runs from the South Station bus terminal in Alabang, Muntinlupa via Las Piñas.
There are many jeepneys in and out of Parañaque, most terminating at Baclaran
From Manila, there is the Baclaran-Divisoria route, which plies Taft Avenue, but is suspended due to a problem with the drivers ending trips midway along the route.
From Muntinlupa, the Alabang-Zapote-Baclaran route has frequent services, but they take over an hour as they make many stops.
There are services from Cavite as well, most commonly ending at Dasmariñas. They ply the expressway on the final leg to Baclaran, but are not considered express services (there is no route from Cavite that completely uses surface roads).
There are a few express jeepney services to Parañaque; most use a surface road for most of the route, and taking the expressway for the remaining part of the trip.
- Alabang-Baclaran via Coastal Road — Leaves South Station in Alabang, Muntinlupa, plies Alabang-Zapote Road and Quirino Avenue/Diego Cera Avenue and enters Manila-Cavite Expressway ("Coastal Road") at Kabihasnan, and makes a loop at Baclaran for the return trip, where they enter the expressway from Roxas Boulevard and exit at Bacoor. Service frequency is every 15 minutes, but often they are rush-hour service only.
- Pacita-Sucat via South Superhighway — They leave San Pedro every 30 minutes and head for Sucat Exit. They really do not enter Parañaque, but there is a transfer to a jeepney headed for Baclaran from there.
The NAIA Expressway (NAIAx), an elevated toll expressway opened in 2016, terminates at Paranaque, making this easily reachable by car from Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The older Manila—Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx, or its older name, Coastal Road), terminating at NAIA Road, is the major road access from the south. The South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and Skyway also serves Parañaque, with exits at Sucat and Bicutan, but the Skyway exits are only accessible southbound.
From Manila, you might take Roxas Boulevard which terminates at the city, then continues as CAVITEx. A toll-free alternative from the south is Route 62 (Quirino Avenue), which includes Diego Cera Avenue in Las Piñas, but it is a narrow four-lane highway through the coastal barangays of San Dionisio, La Huerta, Don Galo, and Tambo, which forms the "Kabihasnan" area.
Parañaque has a bad reputation for sprawl, with chronic traffic jams worsened by the dozens of gated communities feeding into them, nevertheless, public transportation is plentiful on the city's main roads. There is one bus route radiating from PITX, the Route 23 PITX-Sucat which plies Ninoy Aquino and Dr. A. Santos avenues, and elsewhere, you get on a jeepney. The crowded shopping district of Baclaran is easily navigable on foot, so do the city proper at Kabihasnan. Shuttle buses connects the casinos in Entertainment City with PITX.
Despite having good transport conditions, Parañaque is not much a city with a good collection of sights, due to its sprawling and squalid nature. All that said, there are some few scattered sights around.
- 1 Baclaran Church (Redemptorist Church, National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help), Redemptorist Road, Baclaran. This Modernist Romanesque Catholic church completed in 1958 is an important landmark for Baclaran, and provides a serene atmosphere away from the area's gritty side. Every Wednesday, devotees to the Our Lady of Perpetual Help and the international Redemptorist movement flock this church to pray.
- 2 Parañaque Cathedral (Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew), Quirino Avenue, La Huerta. The original church was founded 1580, but were torn down in preparation of the invasion of the Chinese pirate Koxinga. The present cathedral was rebuilt somewhere in the 18th century.
- 3 Battle of Don Galo monument (Near the Taoist temple). Parañaque locals led by Don Galo, who became the namesake of the barangay nearby, helped the Spaniards to ward off an attack by the Chinese pirate Limahong off Manila Bay, but the waters nearby is now buried by land reclamation since the 1970s.
- 4 Manila Memorial Park. Founded in 1964, it is the first cemetery in the Philippines to open to cremations after the Catholic ban was lifted. Among the most notable buried here are Ninoy Aquino, who was assassinated in 1983 upon arrival at Manila International Airport, which was eventually renamed in his honor, Corazon Aquino, the first female president of the Philippines and also of Asia, who died in 2009 due to colon cancer, and Benigno Aquino III, the 15th president of the Philippines, who died in 2021; both lie together at a common tomb at a block off Bouganville Avenue.
- 5 The Fountain at Okada Manila, Okada Manila. 6PM-10PM. Free.
- 6 DreamPlay Manila, Aseana Avenue, Tambo. 11AM–8PM. The characters from DreamWorks films feature at this state-of-the-art center for kids' activities. ₱1500.
- 1 Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat, Freedom Island Trail (Rail Road), ☏ . A rare thing, natural habitat extant in these parts. Here you can find a mangrove trail and marine views.
- Sambalilo Festival. February 13-15.
Parañaque is a growing destination for gambling, and can be called a "Little Las Vegas of Metro Manila" for being home to enormous resorts and casinos that became integral to the city's economy. Integrated resorts and casinos are being built in the Entertainment City development on reclaimed portion of Manila Bay.
- 2 Solaire Resort & Casino, 1 Aseana Avenue, Tambo. Opened in 2013 as the first resort and casino constructed in Entertainment City. Solaire Resort and Casino houses 5-star hotels and a casino, as well as a theater and other entertainment facilities.
- 3 City of Dreams Manila, Aseana Boulevard. It was planned as the Belle Grande Manila Bay. It is the second resort and casino to be built in Entertainment City. It houses six five star hotel buildings and a casino, as well as a animated movie-oriented theme park named DreamWorld Manila built with collaboration with DreamWorks Animation.
- 4 Okada Manila, Diokno Boulevard. It houses a large fountain and a man-made indoor beach.
Perhaps one major destination in Parañaque is its major shopping center, Baclaran, home to its numerous tiangges (flea markets) flocked beside the streets. From the surroundings of Baclaran Church to the main streets of that area (Redemptorist Road, Taft Avenue Extension, and Quirino Avenue), you can find vast numbers of vendors selling almost anything, which you can purchase through haggling and bargaining for the best price. Indoor malls around the LRT Baclaran station also hosts numbers of tiangge vendors. Not also to forget are the ukay-ukay (used clothes) stores where you may find high-end brands at the least cost.
- 2 SM City Sucat, Sucat Road, San Dionisio (Jeepneys stop at Building A eastbound, and at front of Avida Towers Sucat westbound.). 10AM–9PM. The first mall by the SM mall chain at the south of Manila, it has two buildings, connected together by a skybridge across C-5 Road Extension. Building A has a SM Hypermarket, and is larger, while Building B houses the anchored department store.
- 3 Duty Free Philippines Fiestamall, Columbia Complex, #1700 Ninoy Aquino Avenue, ☏ , . 10AM-7PM. Duty Free Philippines' flagship store, sits just 200 meters from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1. This shopping haven boasts an extensive selection of foreign items, including chocolates, cigarettes, liquor, electronics, sporting goods, and supermarket items.
- 4 Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Diosdado Macapagal Blvd. corner Aseana Ave. 10AM–9PM.
- 5 WalterMart Sucat, Dr Arcadio Santos Ave, San Isidro. 8AM–8PM.
- 1 Cozee Monkey Backpackers Manila, 10 Galatia street. corner Patmos street (Multinational village Paranaque city), ☏ . Check-in: 24 hours, check-out: noon. Four- to ten-bed fan or a/c dorms. Fully equipped Kitchen. Free Breakfast. Free Wi-Fi. Near the Manila airport. If you check in from 1AM till noon you pay ₱150.
- 2 NomadsMNL, 4587 (LE) C, 9th St, ☏ . Cozy homestay with wifi, a/c, and free breakfast. Rooms a little snug. ₱1492.
- 3 Casa Joaquin BnB, 116 Caliraya Dr, ☏ . Garden-like homestay with free breakfast, wifi, and a/c. You can relax a bit from the city noise here. ₱2022.
- 4 Manila Backpackers, 1146 Quirino Ave, ☏ . Kind of basic lodging but the host is friendly and rooms are clean. Has wifi, a/c, and flat screen TV. ₱1059.
- 5 Hop Inn Hotel Aseana City Manila, Lot 9 Block 5, near corner of Bradco Ave and Macapagal Blvd, ☏ . Restaurant, wifi, a/c. New clean hotel tower with cool blue tones. ₱1685.
- 6 Lourdes Inn, 13 Saturn Brgy. Moonwalk. Whitewashed guesthouse with friendly service and fulfilling breakfast (eggs, toast, etc).
- 7 Red Planet Manila Aseana City, Lot 38 Block, 2 Bradco Ave, ☏ . Modern highrise with wifi and a/c and breakfast (surcharge). ₱1589.
- 8 47 Long Beach, 47 Long Beach Street, Merville Park, ☏ . Just another guesthouse with complimentary coffee and tea, wifi and a/c, and a nice garden.
- 9 Isabelle Garden Hotel & Suites, E. Rodriguez Avenue. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon.
- 10 Go Hotels Manila Airport Road, #608 Quirino Ave, Tambo, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon.
- 11 Okada Manila Resort and Casino, New Seaside Dr, Tambo, ☏ . A snazzy casino resort that sort of looks like a glass parabola lying on its side. Plenty of ways to indulge yourself here with restaurants and pool and gaming.
- 12 Azure Urban Resort Residences, West Service Road (just accross SM City Sucat), ☏ . This definitely has a resort feel - lots of pools and play areas.
- 13 Nobu Hotel, City of Dreams Manila, Aseana Blvd, cor Diosdado Macapagal Blvd. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon.
- 14 Nüwa Hotel, Aseana Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon.
- 15 Hyatt Regency Manila, City Of Dreams, Belle Ave, Entertainment City (in City of Dreams Manila). Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon.
- 16 Solaire Resort & Casino, #1 Aseana Avenue, Entertainment City. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon.
Be cautious when venturing in Baclaran, as petty crimes are common, and better avoid entering unfamiliar areas that are home to criminals, street thugs, delinquent youth, and unsanitary and unsafe conditions.
- Las Piñas - residential suburb, home to the Bamboo Organ church.
- Muntinlupa - another residential suburb with a growing central business district and mid to high-class communities.
|Routes through Parañaque|
|END (future extension to Las Piñas) ←||S N||→ Pasay (into for Makati) → Ermita|
|Continues as to Pasay ← Junction with ←||N S||→ Las Piñas → Continues as to Tanza|
|END ← Junction with ←||N S||→ Las Piñas → Bacoor|
|END ← Junction with ←||W E||→ Muntinlupa → END|