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A park in Intramuros, Manila  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Philippines > National Capital Region > Manila

Manila Travel Guide

  
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The City of Manila (Filipino: Lungsod ng Maynila) is the cosmopolitan capital of the Philippines located in the west coast of the island of Luzon.

Manila is often described as the only capital city in Asia that resembles a Latin American city. Many visitors have described it as polluted and crowded, but there is much to discover in Manila that makes it a good stop for 2-3 days.

Next to Warsaw, Poland it was one of the most destroyed cities during World War II, but before this, Manila was one of the most beautiful cities in the world, having been compared with London, Paris and other European cities.

Manila's Skyline  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

Manila was the capital of the Spanish East Indies for 3 centuries and Intramuros, the ruins of the original city founded by the Spaniards in 1571, still stands today despite bombings during World War 2.

Manila is a modern capital city, and considered as the hub of Christianity in Asia. It is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world with a bustling growing population of 1.5 million people.

Manila is distributed into 16 territorial districts, which are all original towns except one, the Port Area District. All of these original towns except Port Area have their own churches and several of these districts have attained identification in their own right.

As a whole, Metro Manila is the most populous of the twelve defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines. As of the 2007 census, it had a population of 11,553,427, comprising 13% of the national population. Including suburbs in the adjacent provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) of Greater Manila, the population is around 20 million.

Intramuros is Manila's Old Town. Unfortunately, most of it was destroyed during World War II.  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

Climate & When to visit Manila

The Philippines has a tropical climate with two distinct seasons: wet and dry.

Typhoons and tropical storms are a common occurrence during the wet season, particularly in the northern part of the Philippines, and occurs from late May till early November.

Dry season starts from late November until late April.

December to February is a pleasant time to visit the Philippines. Temperatures during this time range from 24-30°C (75-86°F) at its peak.

From March to May, temperatures heat up but as Manila is by the coast, it rarely goes beyond 37°C (99°F).

History

For over 3 centuries Manila was colonized and administered by Spain which left a great architectural heritage throughout the Philippines, especially with respect to churches, forts and other colonial buildings which can still be seen in the ruins of Intramuros, built in the late 16th century.

Manila Cathedral  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

Manila began as a settlement on the banks of the Pasig River, and its name originates from "Maynilad," referring to the mangrove plant known as Nilad, which was abundant in the area.

Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, Manila was home to Muslim-Malays, who were descended from the Arabs, Indians, East Asians and other Southeast Asians. In 1571, 50 years after Magellan's discovery of the islands, Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi claimed the Philippines as a colony and established Manila as its capital. In addition, Manila was briefly colonized by the British for 2 years.

Manila was also part of the Spanish East Indies until 1898, when the U.S. took over the Philippines after the Spanish-American War.

Languages

English and Filipino (Tagalog) are the common languages in the northern mainland of Luzon. Tagalog is the native tongue of most Filipinos native to Manila and the surrounding Tagalog-speaking regions of Luzon.

English comes second as a medium of instruction in any institution including businesses and the like (although some homes in the Philippines choose English as their first language; it depends upon preference).

In Binondo, Manila's Chinatown district, Hokkien is widely spoken while Mandarin might also be known as it is taught in Chinese educational institutes.






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