A city full of contrasts in South East Asia

Categories: Manila Philippines

Manila is the capital of the Philippines. On the eastern shore of the bay of the same name lies the metropolis with 1.7 million inhabitants on the Luzón peninsula. The city consists of 897 administrative units called Baranggays. North and south of the river Pasig, Manila is divided into 7 city districts. The districts Malate and Ermita are very popular with tourists. There are many restaurants and popular shopping malls like Shoe Mart City. Binondo District is considered a Chinatown, because after the Filipinos, the Chinese make up the largest part of the population.
Manila - Intramuros of Manila© bugking88 / Fotolia

Manila is a city of contrasts with cosmopolitan charm, where English is the official language and Tagalog the native language. The cityscape is characterized by open-air markets and air-conditioned shopping malls based on the western model. Neoclassical government buildings and Spanish colonial buildings maintain their place between modern high-rise buildings. The name Manila is derived from a white flowering mangrove plant. Especially the sacral buildings of the city show the cultural and religious diversity. More than 90 percent of the inhabitants belong to the Catholic faith.

Its patron saint is Mary of Victory. According to UNESCO, many Catholic churches are considered worthy of special protection. The San Augustín church is popular with people who want to get married, because it is the only church in Manila with air conditioning. The Muslim community of the Quiapo quarter is famous for its Golden Mosque. In the Ermita district there is a Hindu temple. The only synagogue is in Malate. Christian holidays are celebrated extensively in Manila. On January 9th the festival of the Black Nazarene takes place, where only men are allowed to be present.

This procession is followed by the Chinese Dragon Festival at the beginning of the year. One of the oldest parts of the city is Intramuros. Here still horse carts search their way in the traffic of Manila. From the American past of the capital come so-called jeepneys, which were converted into minibuses and artistically painted in special workshops. For shorter distances the Tricycles are the best choice in Manila. The mopeds with sidecars are considered the cheapest means of transportation in the metropolis. The fastest means of public transportation are the metro, bus and train.

Travellers in Manila's difficult-to-manage road traffic should not rent a car. For a cab ride only companies like EMP, MGE and Dollar are recommended. Payment is made in Philippine Peso. Locals are friendly and open towards strangers. They look for communication. The inhabitants of Manila like to celebrate and are modern. Strolling, shopping and eating are their passions. There are interesting and worth seeing things to discover. A landmark is the district Intramuros, which is surrounded by a wall from Spanish colonial times.
Manila - The city hall of Manila© bugking88 / Fotolia

Here you can find the cathedral, the Casa Manila Museum, the governor's palace and the oldest university Colegio de San Juan de Letran. A popular excursion destination is the Rizal Park, which includes the Orchidarium, Butterfly Farm, Planetarium, Ocean Park, Chinese and Japanese Garden. Nearby are the National Museum, National Library and Museum of Filipinos People. The Malate district and the financial district Makati City are attractions in the nightlife of Manila. In addition, there is the Fort Entertainment Center in Taguig City. The best time to travel is from December to February. Then whale sharks can be observed at the southern tip of Luzón.

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Wo befindet sich Manila

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