| Autumn trees in Manila
At the heart of Manila's history is Intramuros. It features the grand Manila Cathedral with its detailed stone carvings and stained
glass mosaics. Fort Santiago, the site of torture chambers and dungeons; and the favorite wedding spot, the San Agustin Church.
Greater Manila, made up of 11 cities and 5 towns, is where the country's most prestigious business addresses and trendiest leisure
establishments are found. Fashionable hotels, restaurants, discos, music bars, boutiques, and specialty shops converge around
sleek Ayala and Ortigas Centers.
Metropolitan Manila is considered a pleasure-seekers' paradise, consistently voted Asia's number one destination for entertainment
and night life. You can listen to a wide variety of popular bands and singers, take advantage of Happy hour specials, dance up
a storm at clubs and street parties, or cap an exhilarating night with a cappuccino at a corner cafe. Hotspots not to be missed
are bohemian Malate in Manila, upscale Ayala Rockwell in Makati, and the trendy Libis and Timog Avenue in Quezon City.
Fascination is an understatement of the feeling that one gets by visiting Manila, a lively metropolis commanding a magnificent
view of the world-famous Manila Bay and its golden sunset. Historic, bustling, awe-inspiring, the “Philippine Cosmopolitan
Capital” is a blend of cultures and flavors that offers an endless serving of places to see, sights to behold, and experiences
to never forget.
Right in the heart of Manila is found the “Walled City” – Intramuros. Constructed in 1571, during the period
of Spain’s colonization of the Philippines, it comprised of European buildings and churches that have been replicated in
different parts of the archipelago. It had been one of the world’s best preserved medieval cities. Here, dungeons and old
churches share space with art galleries, theaters, a nature park. At the center of Intramuros is the grand Manila Cathedral, the
seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. Then there is San Agustin Church, the oldest stone church in Metro Manila and one
of the four Philippine Baroque Churches inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Marking its entrance at the northwestern
tip is Fort Santiago, one of the oldest fortifications of Intramuros. Built in nearly 150 years through Filipino forced labor,
it now houses a lush park with flowering trees, homing pigeons, and rides aboard horse-drawn carriages.
Manila is home to Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the highest chief executive of the country and one of the
most historic structures in the Philippines, and the National Museum of the Philippines, the official repository and guardian
of the Philippine cultural, historical, and natural heritage. Along the northern bank of the historic Pasig river is Chinatown,
a symbol of the long history of Chinese presence in the Philippines long antedating the arrival of the Spaniards. Today it is
an important trade and business center, and a primary bargain shopping destination.
|Manila Bay's sunrise
Five-star hotels and restaurants, some of them housed in historic buildings, make the
perfect party place in the city. The nightlife offers everything from dazzling cultural
shows to futuristic discotheques, lively casinos, sensational entertainment lounges, and
fashionable cafes. The popular districts of Malate and Ermita showcase a wild variety
of restaurants, clubs, bars, cafes, art and antique shops – truly, the ultimate cosmopolitan
Manila is geographically advantaged. It is an hour or two away from full-day excursions
to Cavite and Corregidor Island, Batangas, and Laguna, replete with exceptionally
beautiful beaches, stunning views, and local color. The city is over 17 hours away by air
from Los Angeles, less than five hours from Tokyo, and seven and a half hours from
Sydney. Wherever you are, you are less than a day away from one of Asia’s greatest
cities – Manila.
The city of Manila is located on the west coast of the Philippine main island of Luzon and
surrounded by fertile plains. The city straddles at the delta of the Pasig river, a short
navigable stream that connects the fresh water lake of Laguna de Bay with Manila
Bay and the South China Sea. It occupies a total land area of 38.3 square kilometers.
The total population was 1,654,761 as of the 1995 census.
The city is composed of 897 Barangays, which are subdivided into six Congressional
Districts. It has been classified as a Highly Urbanized City.