Set amid the bustle of downtown Manila, the Manila American Cemetery is an oasis of peace and remembrance. The cemetery is home to the remains of 17,184 soldiers who died during World War II, with serried ranks of brilliant white crosses across manicured lawns and galleries that explain key battles.
There is no charge to visit the Manila American Cemetery, which is open seven days a week from morning until late afternoon. The burial ground is a stop on some tours of both Manila and Makati, the financial district, though opening hours mean it has to be visited on a separate day from Corregidor Island. If you’re considering a history tour of Manila or planning an agenda with a private guide, this war graveyard makes a worthwhile stop.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Manila American Cemetery is an essential stop for history lovers, veterans, and Americans with family members who served in World War II.
- The Manila American Cemetery is a graveyard. The dress code forbids exercise clothing, and visitors are expected to behave respectfully.
- Be sure to bring photo ID to show at the gate.
- The behavioral constraints of visiting a cemetery mean the Manila American Cemetery may not be appropriate for young children. Older children will learn a lot from the informative displays.
How to Get There
Over 7 miles (12 kilometers) from Intramuros, the walled historical area in Manila city center, the Manila American Cemetery is time-consuming to reach by public transport, so many opt for the convenience of a door-to-door tour. Alternatively, catch the metro to Ayala (MRT Line 3), then a bus toward the BGC stop. You’ll walk 10 to 20 minutes, depending which bus you catch.
When to Get There
The Manila American Cemetery is open year-round, and officials and members of the military lay wreaths at the cemetery each Memorial Day (the last Monday in May). Significant anniversaries include the Fall of Corregidor, on May 6, 1942.
Americans in the Philippines
The Philippines and the United States have had a complex relationship since the Philippines gained its independence from the US in 1946, but American and Filipino soldiers fought side by side during the Second World War. A new visitor center at the Manila American Cemetery, open in 2019, explores the American role in the archipelago during WWII.