Manila is the lively, cosmopolitan capital of the Philippines which offers a wonderful blend of culture and sightseeing that few other Southeast Asian cities can match. In the very heart of Manila you will find the Intramuros, a walled city, constructed in 1571 during Spain’s colonization of the Philippines. Although partially destroyed in the Second World War this medieval legacy houses European buildings and churches that were replicated throughout the archipelago. At the centre of the walled city lies the great cathedral and also San Agustin Church, the oldest stone church in Manila, which is one of four baroque churches that have been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. This ancient part of the city also houses Fort Santiago, one of oldest fortifications in the Intramuros, which is now home to a lush park. Manila has more modern treasures in the Malacañang Palace and the National Museum of the Philippines and also boasts a vibrant Chinatown which is a symbol of the long standing trade relationship between the two countries. Modern Manila offers a plethora of five star hotels and restaurants, some of them housed in historic buildings. The city’s nightlife has everything from dazzling cultural shows to futuristic discotheques, lively casinos and fashionable cafes. As Manila is often the arrival point for many visitors it usually comes as a pleasant surprise to those who may be aware of its more ‘colourful’ reputation.

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