Known as the Pearl of the Orient, Manila is the Philippine's sprawling capital city and a chaotic scramble of intoxicating urban energy. A megacity of culture and creativity, there's a lot to discover amid these chockablock streets. The delicious food wins many fans, but it’s the friendly Filipinos - always eager to help - who ensure that Manila takes a special place in the hearts of many visitors.
The Baywalk is one of the city's best places for catching a legendarily intense sunset - or wandering among joggers and leisurely strollers. The city's Intramuros area is its cobbled historic core - and was the centre of power when the Spanish ruled these lands. Decorated with colonial architecture and citadels, the district is known for its rumbling horsedrawn carriages and storied history. Head to Fort Santiago, which aims canons out across the water from its chunky stone walls. The UNESCO World Heritage Site stands against the odds, despite World War II bombardments, fires and earthquakes - a true testament to Manila's incredible resilience.
As one of the most densely populated places in the world, Manilla can be manically busy at times, but you can always escape to Rizal Park. With Chinese and Japanese gardens and plenty of room for open-air events, it's a beautiful oasis within the city. It's also an incredibly important national symbol, as the location where the hero of independence, Jose Rizal, was executed. A large statue now memorialises him here, and the park was renamed in his honour.