The Capital of the Philippines, its heart and soul, is Manila. It set’s the archipelago’s rhythm and is pulsating hub that blends the Oriental with the Occidental, the quaint with the modern, the day-to-day norm with the extraordinary. At the heart of Manila’s history is Intramuros. It features the grand Manila Cathedral with its detailed stone carvings and stained glass mosaics; Fort Santiago, the site of torture chambers and dungeons; and the favorite wedding spot, the San Agustin Church.
Greater Manila, made up of 11 cities and 5 towns, is where the country’s most prestigious business addresses and trendiest leisure establishments are found. Fashionable hotels, restaurants, discos, music bars, boutiques, and specialty shops converge around sleek Ayala and Ortigas Centers.
Other major cities include Quezon City, also an entertainment hub as well as a government center; Marikina City, the shoe center of the Philippines; Paranaque City, known for its dry goods and seafood markets and restaurants; and Las Pinas City, which houses the world’s only bamboo organ at St. Joseph’s Parish Church. Calabarzon, comprised of the five provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon, is only a few hours away from Manila. The area boosts of great destinations and leisure activities for day trips or overnight getaways as well as export processing centers.