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            The capital of the Philippines – its heart and soul – is Manila. It sets the rhythm of life in this archipelago and is a pulsating hub that blends the Oriental with the Occidental, the quaint with the modern, the mundane with the extraordinary. Manila is the center of government, commerce, education and culture. The gateway many island destinations, the city itself offers many places of interest.

            A tour of the major historical attractions in Metro Manila, tour starts at Rizal Park where the monument of the Philippine National hero Jose Rizal stands. Proceed to Intramuros, the Spanish-constructed walled city where the historic Fort Santiago and San Agustin Church were built in the 16th century. Drop by the University of Sto.Tomas, the oldest institution of higher learning on the country (1611) ride through the university belt to Malacanang Palace, the official residence of the Philippines presidents. Get to see the modern business and commercial district of Makati, pass through plush Forbes Park and visit the American Memorial Cemetery, the largest and most beautiful war memorial outside Continental USA. Pass by Las Pinas to visit the remarkable and only Bamboo Organ in the world built 1818.

           Fort Santiago, the site of torture chambers and dungeons where political prisoners from Spanish to Japanese times were kept and executed, is now a lush park with flowering trees and homecoming pigeons. Here, one may enjoy a leisurely ride aboard a horse-drawn carriage.

           At the center of Intramuros is the grand Manila Cathedral with its detailed stone carvings, stained glass mosaics and rose windows.

         Visit the 400-year old “walled city” of Intramuros, the Spanish fortress and center of government during the 16th to the 19th centuries. See the history unfold as you visit a turn-of-the-century “casa” (house) and other restored buildings of Spanish architecture. Then proceed to Makati, the financial and entertainment district of Manila.

         Manila offers a wide range of accommodation facilities with high service standards. Manila is one of the shopping hubs in Asia for imported name brands as well as fine garments by Philippine designers who have made their names in fashion centers in Asia, USA and Europe.

         Metro Manila is a gastronomic trip and Filipinos are forever feeding their guests. The famous eating hubs in Metro Manila are: Intramuros, the Old Malate District where numerous restaurants, bars and cafes with varied specialties, Binondo the old financial District with 19th century origins, known for its most authentic Chinese cuisine; Makati City, Quezon City, along Tomas Morato Avenues where a haven of all types of restaurants, cafes, bars and fast food chains tribe, Mandaluyong City greenhilss and Ortigas center.

         The sunset strip – Roxas Boulevard, which extends from Paranaque City to Manila, is the Bay Area from where one can have a view of the famed Manila sunset.

         The Boulevard is also home to the country’s premier performing venue, the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Within its complex are the Philippine International Convention Center, the Folk Arts Theater, the Coconut Palace and the Westin Philippine Plaza Hotel.

         As the sun goes down, the lights go up in Metro Manila’s night spots. Hotels and restaurants attract diners with performances by local pop artists, folk dance troupes, string quartets and jazz bands. There are endless evenings of dancing, music and people-watching at trendy discos. Cozy jazz bars and music lounges offer wine and mood music along with quiet ambiance and good conversation.



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