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manila It's a pity that Manila is often disparaged, as there's much here to like. For one, all the adjectives often used to describe the Philippines - jovial, laid back, casual, corrupt, shambolic, earnest and more are on display here more than anywhere else in the country. It's a truly teeming metropolis that gets bigger each day, both in population, with people pouring in from the hinterlands, and size, as new developments in all directions swallow up villages and rice fields.

Manila can be a very discombobulated place, for it is really just a collection of towns with no definable centre. The walled Intramuros area was the traditional centre of Manila, but was mostly wiped out in WWII and has never recovered. Binondo, Quiapo, Ermita and Malate have never been more than a supporting cast for a star that doesn't exist. Still, you may well find lots of fun in Ermita and Malate, while Binondo and Quiapo have a certain raw energy and unique markets. And Intramuros is a good place to explore, just to find the bones of its past.



Famous places in Manila

Directly south of Intramuros lies Rizal Park, the country's most significant park. Also known as Luneta (Spanish term for "crescent-shaped") and previously as Bagumbayan ("New Town"), the 53 hectare Rizal Park sits on the site where José Rizal, the country's national hero, was executed by the Spaniards on charges of subversion. A monument stands in his honor. The big flagpole west of the Rizal Monument is the Kilometer Zero for road distances on the island of Luzon and the rest of the country. manila

Other attractions in Rizal Park include the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, the Department of Tourism building, the National Museum of the Philippines, The National Library of the Philippines, the Planetarium, the Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion, an open-air auditorium for cultural performances, a relief map of the Philippines, a fountain area, a children's lagoon, a chess plaza, a light and sound presentation, and the Quirino Grandstand.

Aside from Rizal Park, Manila has very few other open public spaces. Rajah Sulayman Park, Manila Boardwalk, Liwasang Bonifacio, Plaza Miranda, Mehan Garden, Paco Park, Remedios Circle, Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden, Plaza Balagtas and the Malacañang Garden are some of the other parks in the city. In 2005, Mayor Lito Atienza opened the Pandacan Linear Park, a strip of land that served as a buffer zone between the oil depot and the residential-commercial properties in Pandacan and could be found along the banks of the Pasig River. In the northern most part of the city lies the three cemeteries of Loyola, Chinese, and Manila North Green Park, the largest public cemetery in Metropolitan Manila. A newly opened and functioned Manila Ocean Park features a wide variety of marine animals.

The city offers a wide range of accommodations ranging from top-rated deluxe hotels to more affordable universal lodges. Most of these accommodations, including the world-renowned Manila Hotel, are located within Roxas Boulevard overlooking Manila Bay, or in the districts of Ermita and Malate.

The popular districts of Malate and Ermita showcase a wide variety of hotels, restaurants, clubs, bars, cafes, art and antique shops. The nightlife offers everything from cultural shows to discothèques, casinos, entertainment lounges, and fashionable cafes. Right at the heart of the city lies the Intramuros, and it is the site of forts and dungeons, old churches, colonial houses, and horse-drawn carriages. other historical buildings and landmarks, parks and open spaces, museums, shopping centers, and sports facililities can be found all over the city.


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