As the capital of the Philippines, Manila is part of a much larger metropolis that is comprised of 17 cities and municipalities known as Metro Manila. Lying at the mouth of the Pasig River, the city sits atop centuries of prehistoric alluvial deposits that have built up over the years. Though Manila was partially destroyed during World War II, it has been reconstructed and today is an exotic and intoxicating blend of cultures, sights and flavors. With countless areas to explore, it has no true city center, turning a visit here into an ethno-inspired, never-ending adventure.
Intramuros is the old section of Manila that contains some of the city’s most interesting museums, ruins and churches, including the famed Manila Cathedral. Overlooking the Manila Bay is Rizal Park. More widely known as the Luneta, it is a breathtaking venue for bayside restaurants, an open-air theater, planetarium and recreational park. Malate is the nightlife district of Manila. Known as the center of bohemian life in the Philippines, Malate is a party town with a seemingly insatiable appetite for raucous good times. Though some areas of Manila are more laidback than others, there is a constant chaotic charm that clings to this city, making it a unique and unforgettable travel destination.
Manila, Philippines, is a clamorous city that is teeming with historic attractions, friendly locals and in-your-face cuisine. Being Asia’s only formerly Spanish colony, Manila is said to have some of the best Spanish food in the Far East. Wherever people can be found throughout the city, street food is sure to be peddled. Filipino food is a fusion of Spanish and Asian flavors, and can range from items such as barbeque pork and sugar-fried bananas, to more adventurous delicacies like balut (duck embryo) and isaw (grilled chicken intestines). For a more upscale dining experience, Café Ysabel is run by Chef Gene Cruz, one of the country’s most famous chefs, and boasts Filipino and International cuisine along with a menu of over 100 coffee concoctions.
NinoyAquino International Airport (MNL) is Manila’s three-terminal airport serving international and domestic flights, and is also the hub for Philippine Airlines. Pre-paid taxis are available at the airport, as well as around the city. Jeepneys, which are small buses and public transit vehicles made from U.S. military Jeeps, are typically the cheapest and fastest mode of transportation in the city. There are also water buses, ferries and tricycles that will take your anywhere around Manila.
Manila has a tropical climate, characterized by hot and humid weather year-round. The hottest month of the year is June, with an average high temperature of 93° F (34° C). January tends to be the coolest month, with average lows near 70° F (21° C). The two main seasons of the region aren’t based upon temperature, but on precipitation. The wet season starts in June and usually remains through October, while the dry season is November to May. The best time to visit Manila is in the winter and early spring months, whether the temperatures and humidity remain lower.