With three exotic Philippine destinations already part of the whl.travel ranks, it was only a matter of time before the National Capital Region of the Philippines joined them. Unfortunately, while Manila acts as a hub for most international carriers flying to the Philippines and is the leading gateway to the thousands of other islands in the archipelago, most visitors make the mistake of overlooking the city as a rewarding destination in its own right.
The history of Manila is characterised by several periods of tough times, all of which have nevertheless contributed to making it the diverse and lively place it is today. Three hundred years of Spanish colonial rule and 50 years under the Americans have resulted in a wide range of sites and attractions, even despite the city having fallen victim to massive bombing raids during World War II, which saw the destruction of most of the grand colonial architecture. Surviving monuments, such as the legendary walled city of Intramuros and the famous San Agustin Church, stand amidst more modern structures and continue to serve as important icons reminding the nation of its dramatic past.
A Manila City tour is certainly an ideal way to take in these and other top sites. Alternatively, a walk around the National Museum will impart a sense of the nation’s rich historical and cultural heritage in more relaxed confines.
Metro Manila (as the greater metropolitan area is known) is now a thriving metropolis of vibrant sights and sounds, slowly but surely making its mark on the global economy. A drive around the Metro also takes in the nation’s central business district, which comes alive after dark with some of the best nightlife in the country. Here one can even find superb international and local restaurants showcasing the unique fusion of Spanish, American and Chinese influences – already evident in the local culture – through food. Also, with a shopping mall to be found in practically every square kilometre of the city, Manila boasts some Asia’s most alluring and affordable shopping in Asia.
The launch of Gomanila.travel makes a visit to Manila easy for all international travellers, whether on a budget, for business or simply stopping over. Helen Atanacio and her team at Go Discover Travel have carefully prepared a comprehensive list of Manila hotels and tours to make every minute worthwhile.
“This Manila site represents a great deal to us at Go Discover Travel,” Helen explained. “For a long time we have focused on the islands and providing information-rich sites to enable travellers to make the best choices around the Philippines. Now we are able to offer the complete package, to assist traveller with their stays in Manila on their way to other Philippine locations. We also hope to show that Manila is more than just a stopover, that Manila is an incredibly cultural and historically rich and vibrant capital city. Many travellers just use Manila as a stopover to the islands but they are missing so much. We hope that our site will rectify this and demonstrate the wow factor of Manila! We have had great fun rediscovering old favourite places and visiting new ones. We really hope we can help you enjoy them too!”