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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.
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.
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).
Coron is a fantastic base for adventure, especially for underwater explorers seeking to dive amid the Japanese shipwrecks of the 1940s. Hop a guided mangrove kayak tour or practice your killer spike on the beach-volleyball court at Atwayan Beach. Jungle treks, horseback tours and island camping will further quench your thirst for the ultimate outdoor experience.
Boracay Island has reopened with new rules and regulations in place to protect the island from overdevelopment. Not all businesses were allowed to reopen. Please check with the Philippine Department of Tourism for details: http://www.tourism.gov.ph/
Why settle for a beachfront hotel when you can stay right over the ocean in a cottage on stilts? And why settle for any old dive site when you can snorkel in an orchid-walled lagoon? El Nido is known as the Philippines' last frontier, and if you're looking for magnificent beaches in an unspoiled setting, it's a perfect place for you to vacation.
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.