Manila - The Pearl of the Orient

Located in the middle of Southeast Asia, Manila is more popular as a stopover (due to its proximity to other Asian countries) than as a tourist attraction.  It may get a lot of bad publicity but many feel this is unfairly deserved.  Those that take time to explore Manila are often pleasantly surprived with what this city has to offer.  In Manila, visitors can discover a city with a rich past, a vibrant lifestyle, and warm, hospitable people.  And once you find that hidden gem, you'll no longer wonder why so many foreigners have fallen in love with the city and have chosen to live in Manila as permanent residents.

For the curious, Metro Manila is made up of: City of Manila, Pasay City, Parañaque City, Makati City, Quezon City, City of Mandaluyong, Pasig City, Quezon City, Municipality of San Juan, Municipality of Taguig, City of Las Piñas, Kaloocan City, and City of Navotas. 

English and Tagalog are the primary languages in Manila.  Most Filipinos know how to speak some ammount of English, and al lFilipino languages are written in the Roman script. Hence it is easy to get by in most large cities and tourist spots in the Philippines without knowing Tagalog or the local language.

Caution : The Filipino Yes : 

Be cautious when a Filipino says "Yes " (As in : Does this bus go to Eden? Do you speak English?)  - Filipinos often use the word "Yes" when they mean "No" and especially when they mean "I don't know". Do follow up such answers to ascertain if the person really meant yes (as you usually understand the word to be)

 Where to Stay. 

The Makati Central Business District is the primary business center where most tourists and business travellers opt to stay.  It is very close to most businesses, world-class facilities, and huge shopping malls, and is a generally safe area for tourists.  Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong City is a booming business district as is Quezon City, although tourist attractions are few in these areas.  Fort Bonifacio Global City is a fast developing, well laid out business and shopping destination.

Intramuros is a good place to stay for peopel who wish to see the city's Spanish colonial history. It has 2 hotels : The Bayleaf and White Knight intramuros. The Intramuros authority posts updates of variosu cultural shows in Intramuros, on it's facebook page -

There are many budget hotels along Roxas Boulevard, which is abusier part of Manila and next to Manila Bay. However, this area also has a number of beggars and squattors alogn some of it's pavements

The narrow, crowded streets of Ermita or  Malate that are closer to the sights of Old Manila, however do ntoe that this i salso the red light ara catering to businessmen fom Japan and Europe, hence it's hotels, bars and streets reflect this.

Since the tourist spots in old Manila are usually not within walking distance of each other, and some run-down areas in old Manila may not be safe for tourists to navigate without a local guide, it is advisable to use taxis and a local guide.