Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila. Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast, and Pasay to the south.
Manila has a total population of more than 1,660,714 according to the 2007 census. Manila is the second most populous city in the Philippines, behind its neighbor, Quezon City. The populace inhabit an area of only 38.55 square kilometers, making Manila the most densely populated city in the world. Metro Manila is the most populous metropolitan area in the Philippines and the 11th in the world with an estimated population of 16,300,000. The greater urban area is the fifth-most populous in the world and has an estimated metropolitan population of 20,654,307 people. (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manila)
Things to see
Baywalk – South of the Luneta is the renovated Baywalk a linear park adjacent to Manila Bay. Restaurants formerly on the actual baywalk have been moved inwards to allow a clear view of Manila’s legendary sunsets.
Bonifacio Shrine – A shrine in honour of Andres Bonifacio who was one of the Filipinos who struggled and fought for freedom for the country against the Spanish forces.
Chinatown – Manila has one of the largest Chinatowns in the world, where one can find exotic Chinese goods and delicious cuisine.
Coconut Palace – a residence commissioned and built along the waterfront by First Lady Imelda Marcos for Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1981. While open to the public at some point, it is currently (as of June 2011) occupied by the current Vice President and thus no longer open for public visits. You can, however, see the exterior from various angles.
Intramuros – At the northern end of the Bay lies the remnants of the old walled Spanish settlement of Manila, Intramuros (Spanish for ‘within the walls’). Intramuros contains some of the city’s most interesting museums, ruins, and churches including the Manila Cathedral, the most important church in the country.
Mabini Shrine – Apolinario Mabini’s former home. Mabini was a Lawyer and fought for Philippine Independence. During the American Occupation, this home became the first intellectual headquarters of the First Philippine Republic.
The Manila Metropolitan Theatre or MET is an art deco building designed by the Filipino architect Juan M. de Guzman Arellano, and inaugurated on December 10, 1931, with a capacity of 1670. The theater is located on Padre Burgos Avenue, near the Manila Central Post Office.
Manila has seen a drastic improvement in its museum offerings with the recent renovation of old favorites such as the National Museum of the Filipino People and the Ayala Museum. Other must-see museums in the city are the Bahay Chinoy (Chinese House), Casa Manila, San Agustin Museum and the Museum of Filipino Political History, the “Museo Pambata” children’s museum’.
National Museum of the Philippines. Built and opened in the 1900s The museum showcases significant collections from archaeology, arts, cultural properties, zoology, botany and many more.
The Museo Pambata is a children’s interactive museum, the first of its kind in the Philippines. Opened in 1994, Museo Pambata is the dream come true of Nina Lim-Yuson, who was inspired by the Boston Children’s Museum to open up a similar facility in Manila.
Metropolitan Museum of Manila. The Premiere art museum of Manila, the Met showcases both traditional, hispanic and modern art through its exhibits. Located along Roxas boulevard, across the Manla Yacht club.
Right outside the walled city is Rizal Park more widely known as the Luneta. The Luneta is the venue for the best museums of the city, bayside restaurants, an open-air theater featuring free classical music concerts, a planetarium, early morning jogging and tai chi enthusiasts, and the Manila Hotel. It is a popular meeting spot for family picnics and was the site of the execution of Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines.
Paco Park was actually built as a final resting place for Spanish families residing in Manila. After Jose Rizal’s execution, his remains were sent and buried here, which is today commemorated by a monument in the park. It is now a public park with jogging lanes and open air concerts, and is also a popular venue for weddings. It is accessible by taxi and bus, as well as a 10 minute walk from the LRT United Nations Ave. station.
Arroceros Forest Park Situated in the heart of downtown Manila, Arroceros Forest Park is a 2.2-hectare piece of land behind the old art deco Metropolitan Theater. Arroceros got its name, which means “rice dealers,” from the rice trade along the Pasig riverbank during the early colonial period.
San Agustin Church
Basilica of San Sebastian – The only all steel church of the Asia, the Europeans were tired of building the church over and over again after fires and earthquakes, they finally decided to build the cathedral in solid steel. The materials were ordered from Europe while the architect is Gustav Eiffel; the architect of the Eiffel tower in France. Its Gothic architecture might make you think you’re somewhere in the middle of Europe.
Parish Church of St. Joseph – See the Las Piñas Bamboo organ here.
The Gay Scene
LGBT citizens may face different social attitudes and legal challenges than heterosexual citizens. Tolerance for LGBT people has increased over the years due to greater education about sexual orientation and gender identity issues and the growing visibility and political activism of the LGBT community. Same-sex marriages are not legally recognized and the LGBT community is not protected by any civil rights laws.
Non-commercial, homosexual relations between consenting adults in private are not a crime. Although sexual conduct or affection that occurs in public may be subject to the “grave scandal” prohibition in Article 200 of the Revised Penal Code. The universal age of consent is set at 12, but contacts with minors (under 18) are an offense if the minor consents to the act for money, gain or any other remuneration or as the result of an influence of any adult person.
Manila holds a gay pride each year – you can read about it here http://www.taskforcepride.com/