The capital of the Philippines is at once a global megacity and a smattering of neighborhood localities. It is composed of 16 cities, with three main hubs: Manila, recently considered the most densely populated city center in the world; Quezon City, the government center and home to some of the country’s world-class universities; and Makati, the business district.
Created by the Spanish colonial government in the 16th century, Manila was governed by Madrid through Mexico, prompting historians to declare these three cities as the original Global Cities. What remains of the original walled city of Intramuros is today a popular tourism draw. But not far away are contemporary entertainment enclaves built on reclaimed land at the Manila Bay.
The Philippine metropolis offers top-notch shopping, performing and visual arts, cultural immersion, and rest and recreation. It is also a convenient jump-off point to nearby destinations — such as the lakeshore towns of Laguna de Bai known for their exquisite arts and crafts — and, as the country’s transport hub, to the rest of the archipelago.