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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.
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.
Soak up the sun and some Vietnamese culture on Phu Quoc Island, where white sands and tropical waters entice beachgoers from all over the globe. Snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing are the most popular water sports here, though jet-skiing, wind sailing and squid fishing—yes, squid fishing—are also at your vacationing fingertips. Check out the early-morning Duong Dong Market for an authentic local experience.
The island of Miyako-jima is home to beautiful beaches, perfect for sunning, swimming and snorkeling. When you’re sun-spent, migrate to the Miyakojima City Tropical Plant Garden to marvel at over 1,500 species of exotic tropical plants. Toast your travel companions with Japanese shochu while you nibble on specialty soba noodles.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the former capital of Laos, and you'll see everything from golden-roofed temples to vestiges of colonial French architecture here. Buddhist monasteries abound in Luang Prabang, and early every morning, monks process through the streets collecting alms (their food for the day). If you want to watch or participate, though, ask your hotel for a brief etiquette lesson first—you have to distribute the food in a specific manner.