Manila is the capital of the Philippines, a huge city with more than twenty million people that seems to be expanding every day. The city has some really nice places to explore, but the pollution and traffic jams all over the city usually don't leave the best impression on travelers. You need to overcome this first shock and go out exploring the streets and people of Manila, the shopping malls and the nightlife, old neighbourhoods and historical sites. The city has its dangers and you should take the normal precautions while walking in the streets -– no valuables and only pocket money -- but don't be paranoid with it.
A must-see is the old Spanish capital of Manila called Intramuros. Getting here gives you the sense of going back in time. Churches, cannons, and the walls mark this place; despite being destroyed during World War II, it is the main tourist sight in Manila. Fort Santiago's ruins are located in the northern most part of Intramuros and are definitely worth a visit, giving an excellent history lesson about the Philippines. If you have the time and the right company, you can head to Ritzal Park and take lunch there, setting a picnic under a tree. Manila Bay is also nice to take a walk, but the main place for tourists and backpackers to hang around is the neighbourhoods of Ermita and Malate.
The easiest way to arrive in Manila is by airplane; from there, get an official airport taxi with the price displayed in the arrivals.
There are a lot of hostels in Manila and if you want to be in a central area with plenty of restaurants and bars, try to stay on Ermita and Malate. Manila's hostels usually have free Wi-Fi and nice and relaxed places. The hostels in Manila will have some travelers, but don't expect them to be packed; they are good places to exchange experiences and travel stories.
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