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Manila

Manila is considered the "Perl of Orient";  located on the west coast of the island of Luzon and surrounded by fertile plains. It straddles the delta of the Pasig River, a navigable waterway connecting the Laguna de Bay to the large natural harbor of Manila Bay and the South China Sea. The capital's climate is warm and humid throughout the year, but is tempered by sea breezes. In May and September there are many typhoons.

Originally, Manila was a conglomeration of 17 cities and towns were united under the regime of President Marcos in 1976. The town now is Metro Manila, including the colonial capital of Intramuros and five districts: Ermita, Malate, Quipao, San Nicolas, Paco and Binondo. The agglomeration is spread over 38 km2 (15 square miles) to the peripheral areas of Quezon City, Pasay City, Pasig City and Makati City, the last business center and the place where it concentrates much of the Manila nightlife .

Throughout history, topography and strategic location of Manila Bay, halfway between the routes of the silk and spices from the Old World and the route of silver from the New World favored the trade and made of the region a real magnet for sea traders. The Chinese were the first foreign nation to trade with the island in 98 AD In the late fifteenth century, European arrived to Manila. The Portuguese navy landed in the Philippines in 1521 and claimed the islands for the Spanish crown, who occupied Manila in 1571. Despite the revolution carried out by the natives and the proclamation of independence, the archipelago was once again under another colonial power, this time the Americans, following the collapse of the Spanish empire in 1898. In 1935 the U.S. passed the Commonwealth of the Philippines, although it was crushed shortly after the Japanese invasion of 1941. After a bitter attempt by U.S. and Filipino forces defending Manila, the city finally fell into Japanese hands in 1942. Two years later, U.S. troops have recovered it in a series of naval and land battles that left the city virtually destroyed and depopulated.

The Philippines gained independence in 1946. In the XXI Century the difference between wealth and poverty in Manila is evident, with palatial quarters in contrast to the shanty camps near the river, in which the poor are forced to dig for food in dumps to survive. Manila still stuck in the marshy waters of underdevelopment and political changes have done little to change this situation. The chaos inherent in the capital reflects the cultural diversity of the Philippines, the country consists of over a hundred different cultural minorities.

At first glance, the combination of noise, the incessant traffic, pollution, poverty and poor infrastructure in many areas of the city can seem intimidating. However, the good humor of its people can infect us very quickly. Manila is without any doubt a place we will not forget if we visit.

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