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Just an hour north of Manila, Quezon City provides a welcome break from the madness of the Philippines' largest metropolis. Manicured gardens and an ecological park break up the urban sprawl, along with an art-deco style memorial to former president Manuel L. Quezon.
Metropolitan Manila encompasses six cities and 12 towns. Located on Manila Bay in the South China Sea, and bisected by the Pasig River, the capital of the Philippines is historic and modern, rich and poor. A popular sight is the walled area called Intramuros. The capital during Spanish colonization, Intramuros has retained old dungeons and gunpowder rooms but added art galleries and theaters. The city is filled with museums, shops, parks and churches, plus enough nightlife to last until dawn.
The city of Makati is the financial centre of the Philippines and one of the major financial, commercial and economic hubs in Asia. It is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world, and provides an eclectic mix of holiday rentals - from luxurious homes to small holiday villas and rental condos on the outskirts of the city. Makati is well known for its highly cosmopolitan culture, and many expatriates live and work in the city. It is also a major cultural and entertainment hub in Metro Manila.
Tagaytay secures its place on most Philippines itineraries with its location above Taal Volcano's active crater. Views of the crater lake and a refreshingly cool climate make the town an enticing destination—not to mention the famously unfinished People's Park in the Sky.
The biggest island in the Philippines, Luzon is also one of the most diverse—it’s where mountain peaks and volcanoes meet miles of coastline, and indigenous culture melds with Spanish colonial history. You can relax at the beach in Pagudpud, hike with locals up the Batad Rice Terraces, ride in a horse-drawn carriage in Vigan, and snack on street food and dance the night away in Manila. You’ll need a few days and a bus pass, but you’ll be glad you stayed.
Surpassed only by Manila in size, the Philippines’ second city combines colonial architecture and mountainous surrounds with a burgeoning cultural and culinary scene. As the gateway to both Bohol and Cebu Island, Cebu City impresses with chic rooftop bars and intriguing museums.
Davao City is a gateway to Mindanos, one of the Philippines’ largest islands, and home to Mt. Apo, one of the highest mountains in the archipelago. In Davao City, lovers of durian can eat their fill beneath a sculpture dedicated to the pungent fruit.
Chaotic, crowded, and cosmopolitan, Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is a city of contrasts. Home to millions of people from around the world, the city is a mixture of languages and cultures, poverty and wealth. The city boasts some of the best nightlife in Asia and some of the worst traffic. Every holiday, the locals escape the pollution and the crowds to enjoy relaxing diversions like Ancol Dreamland, an amusement area featuring water parks, beaches, golf courses, and a SeaWorld.