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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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Baguio, perched high in the Cordillera Central Mountains, is a great place to escape the heat of the Philippine lowlands. Camp John Hay, originally built as a recreation area for U.S. soldiers, now is a full-fledged resort complete with a world-class golf course. Definitely stop at the city market, where you can buy almost anything (just be prepared to haggle).