The city is also part of the Metro Manila metropolitan area. This has a population of over 16 million, which is enough to be ranked as the eleventh largest metro area in the world. Additionally the Greater Metro Manila has more than 22 million residents that make it the second largest, behind Tokyo. As a result Manila is the home to people of many nationalities that makes the city’s cultural life a very diverse one.
The climate of this area also had an effect on the popularity of the city. According to the tropical monsoon climate, there are no four distinctive seasons. There are only two seasons, which are characterized by their precipitation: the dry and the wet season. The temperature varies very little during a year. The average high is around 31 °C, while the average low is generally between 21 and 25 °C.
The Manila Metro area has the sea as borders on its two sides. The city itself lies on the eastern shore of the Manila Bay, while the metro area has the Laguna de Bay as a natural border on its eastern side.
For a city that has a population this large it’s absolutely necessary to have several parks and green areas. Manila has only a few parks, but these are well maintained and are very popular among both locals and tourists. The largest and most important is the Rizal Park. During weekends, many families visit this park to have a picnic here. The replica of the Philippine archipelago is also a very popular tourist attraction of the park. Beside this several museums and cultural venues are also operating in the Rizal Park, like the National Museum of the Filipino People and the National Library of the Philippines. There are some venues where people can enjoy the marvels of nature, too. The Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion as well as the Japanese and Chinese Gardens are such places.
At only a short distance from the Rizal Park, you can find Manila’s oldest district. This is the Intramuros. The garrison of the city is now a tourist attraction, which is very popular because of its nostalgic gardens reminding of the Spanish era. Two statues are also situated in this district. Both of these are modeled after heroic Spaniards. King Carlos IV of Spain and Philip II of Spain both have such statues. The Plaza de la Fuerza is also a very popular landmark of this park. Only a few international restaurant and fast-food chains are present in this park, such as the McDonald’s and Starbucks.
Thousands of tourist and locals also attend Fort Bonifacio. Two memorial parks are also located in this district. The Heritage Park is a multi-use one, while the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial commemorates the American victims of the World War II. In this district, numerous concerts were held. The performers include several singers and bands that are famous all over the world, like Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and even Mariah Carey. You can also find numerous restaurants and shops in this area.
Asia’s oldest zoo is also located in Manila. The Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden opened almost 50 years ago, in 1959. One of the 97 species that are living here is the Asian elephant, named Mali.
Despite the fact that there have been no cafes and restaurants operating since 2007, the Baywalk remains one of the best-known landmarks of the city. This two-kilometer long esplanade is known because the breathtaking sunsets are visible from here. Numerous photographers come here just to immortalize some moments of this natural wonder.
Beside the historical landmarks and buildings, the city has modern buildings that are very popular, too. The third largest mall is located in Manila. This is the SM Mall of Asia, which was only surpassed by two Chinese malls. This mall features one of the biggest 3D IMAX screens in the world. The San-Miguel-Coca-Cola IMAX was the first of its kind in this Asian country. Because of the large number of attendants six regular movies are also operating. In the open-air Music Hall, numerous concerts and non-music events have been held since its 2006 opening. Because of its Olympic size, the ice-skating rink was home to several competitions.
The Manila Ocean Park is still under construction, but was partially opened in March 2008. Weekdays the Oceanarium is open 12 hours a day.
The city has almost two dozen sister cities, mainly other large cities of Asia, such as Osaka and Yokohama in Japan, Taipei in Taiwan and Bangkok in Thailand. Additionally, seven North-American cities are also listed, such as Montreal and Los Angeles. Various events are held throughout the year to keep alive the cultural heritages of different nationalities living in this city.
While in Manila, you shouldn’t omit visiting one of the bars and clubs. These are among the best places in the world to spend your nights at. There are several centers of nightlife, such as the Ermita and Malate districts. There is also a very popular area among partiers: the Greenbelt. Here you can find everything from world-class bars to the finest restaurants. In the Tavern, you can party along with large crowds. Here numerous Philippines bands are playing live. If you just want to hang out you can visit the T-Bar, Absinth or Ice Bar. However, you can find other clubs that are also crowded during weekends, like Magnum and Temple.
This Asian capital is a real global city because of its large population and the multicultural nature of its residence. While in Manila, you will be amazed by its well-preserved heritage as well as the modern buildings that meet in a perfect harmony. The large number of museums and clubs make this city appealing for both adult and young tourists.
If you intend to travel to the Philippines from the United States, know that Manila is a very popular destination, as it acts as a central hub towards the eastern part of Asia, so many Philippines flights act as connectors to other parts of the continent. With Manila housing one of the biggest airports in Asia, it's pretty much the only destination option you have when travelling to the Philippines. That of course, unless you're visiting the fabulous island of Boracay, one of the most sought-after travel destinations in this part of the World (mind you, if you're buying Boracay tickets, you'll still most likely have to pass through Manila first). If you fly to Manila from the United States, be prepared for a long, tiring flight (approximately 16 hours).