The Philippines is a country of 7,107 vibrant and colourful islands,all pulsating with life and teeming with flavor. Yet, it is in Manila where you can hear its heart beating the loudest! Manila is a sophisticated capital - the seat of power, center of trade and industry, commerce, education, entertainment and the arts. It is an invigorating blend of some of the country’s oldest and richest heritage treasures, and the most modern metropolitan features of the Philippine landscape. Its people have acquired an urban cosmopolitan air about them, but have managed to retain their warm and friendly smiles that have made Filipino hospitality renowned throughout the world.
Manila started as a small tribal settlement along the Pasig River before it became the seat of Spanish colonial rule in Asia during the 16th century. For more than 300 years, Manila served as the center of Spanish military might in the region, and an important port in the trans-Pacific galleon trade. When the Philippines was ceded to the United States by the late 19th century, Manila transformed into a cosmopolitan city, patterned after the styles of American post-colonial designs. Today, surrounded by ultramodern skyscrapers, one can still catch glimpses of this Spanish-American past. Manila has thrived and survived it all, a bustling megalopolis of 17 cities and municipalities and over 12 million inhabitants.