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What to do in Manila in Philippines write a travel review
Home to over 10 million people, the sprawling city of Manila is renowned for the best nightlife in Asia. 12th century and 21st century blend together in relentless bustle with so much to visit, explore or dance the night away in exotic clubs. You need energy - lots of it to embrace it all. Check out our top recommends for resorts here>>>
Manila shoreline
Check out other locations:- Cebu - Boracay - Myanmar - Palawan

The capital of the Philippines is as different to the delicate white flower after which it was named as you can get. A sprawling metropolis, covering nearly 250,000sq miles and home to approximately 10million people, it is almost the antithesis of the rest of this laid back often breathtakingly beautiful archipelago country. That's not to say Manila doesn't have its charm. A cultural melting pot where East meets West, where Spanish colonial churches stand side by side with Oriental mosques, where horse drawn carriages vie for road space with jeepneys (makeshift minibuses/taxis) and homes with no running water or electricity stand in the shadow of steel and glass uber-towers. The largest city in Southeast Asia, Manila is not for the feint hearted, its relentless bustle and notorious nightlife are both enthralling and draining, but if it's action you're looking for prepare yourself to be spoilt rotten.

Amongst the modern day razzmatazz there are plenty of enclaves reflecting the City's rich and diverse history. The oldest district is Chinatown, which actually predates the city itself, dating back to the 12th century when it was a thriving trade and business centre. Here the streets are lined with superb restaurants and intriguing herbalist shops; there are imposing Catholic and Buddhist mausoleums, Dragon temples and colourful markets.

The oldest section of the city proper is Intramuros; an old walled city built by Spanish colonialists in the early 16th century, then destroyed by fire and rebuilt by Chinese invaders before the century was out. The Spanish influence is still very much in evidence in the architecture; of particular note are its churches - Manila Cathedral with its wonderful Italian statuary and impressive bronze doors and San Augustin Church, which is the oldest building in the country.

Manila TempleThose looking for a little greenbelt should head to the lovely Rizal Park, named after the national hero Jose Rizal, who was incarcerated and executed in the nearby Fort Santiago; it is filled with verdant open spaces and well-manicured gardens. Manila's museums include the metropolitan, home to pre-colonial gold and pottery from the Philippine Treasury, National, which contains artifacts from the San Diego shipwreck and Malacanang Palace, official residence of the Filipino Presidents, now a peoples museum.

Manila really comes alive after sundown and has arguably the best nightlife in Asia. Sophisticated, wild and often raunchy, it is a hedonists dream come true. Countless bars, clubs and pubs pump music out well into the early hours. Packed restaurants sell mouth-watering and unfeasibly inexpensive delicacies from the corners of the earth. You can watch world class theatre, opera and classical music, dance to traditional Filipino music, swirl uncontrollably around sweaty techno clubs, drink yourself senseless with the locals or indulge in a plethora of distinctly seedy activities. Virtually anything you want you can get for a price - and the prices are almost all uniformly low.

old Manila horse and cartManila may look, at first glance, like a city with no heart. Poverty and greed are widespread and many parts of the city are grubby and uninviting. But this is the Philippines and the Filipinos pride themselves on their good nature, politeness and hospitality. Nowhere else will you find Asians so open and friendly towards Westerners. Even if you spend just a day or two it is worth making the effort, and after you can simply flit off to some distant white sand beach, relax, recover and imagine it was all one big, fun filled crazy dream.

Ancient walls and ruins of Intramuros.
The wall that encircles to Intramuros was first begun in 1584 by Governor Santiago de Vero to protect the Spanish colonials from the natives and was six years in construction. Originally it was surrounded by a moat but it was filled by the US in 1904 to reduce malaria. Over the years the wall fell into disrepair with many of the stones taken and used to build other structures in the new city. Today an extensive renovation project has restored much of the wall to its ancient glory and the area surrounding has been used mainly for recreational purposes with several tennis courts, a golf course and park areas.

Dancing in Makati.
Manillas most sophisticated (and often seedy) centre of nightlife is Makati. Home to hundreds of bars, restaurants and clubs it is notorious for its go-go bars and ‘tourist guides’. However not all the venues are sleazy and you’ll find many of the top dance clubs and discos in the area. Makati’s atmosphere crackles… vibrant and glitzy just wandering the streets is a thrill in itself. The evening starts around 7.00pm with many bars holding happy hours to pull in early bird punters, but things really don’t hot up until after midnight. Fortunately there are plenty of taxis in the area so getting back to your hotel and a well-deserved bed is not a problem.

Baclaran Flea Market.
Arguably the true heart of the city, Baclaran Flea Market is the centre of social activity for countless Manillans. Daily trips to the market for groceries are turned into and excuse for meeting up with friends and chewing the fat. The atmosphere is vibrant and the noise often deafening. Haggling is commonplace and those with the sharpest bartering skills always clinch the smartest deals. It’s a great place to pick up bargains with clothing, fabrics and footwear amongst the best. Handicrafts and local artifacts can also be picked up at pocket friendly prices, but even if you spend nothing you’ll come away with a wealth of precious memories.

Pagsanjan Gorge & Falls.
Amongst the Philippines’ most beautiful areas The Pagsanjan Gorge is a paradise of lush green vegetation towering cliffs and spectacular water scenery. By far the best way to explore this wonderful place is by ‘banca’ or dug out canoe. The Falls drop 350ft and you may want to transfer from canoe to bamboo raft to ride underneath and enjoy a thrilling, unforgettable experience. After there’s a chance to shoot the rapid as your canoe is manoeuvred skillfully through the white water between boulders and outcrops towards the peaceful waters of Pagsanjan.

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