Manila edit

Shopping, shopping and more shopping, with some history in between

Poor Manila. It gets such a bad rap amongst travelers on the SE Asia circuit. True, it is crowded and chaotic and polluted. True, you probably didn't come to an island nation to hang out in a huge city. True, even the locals are stumped when you ask them what there is to do in Manila besides shop. But don't believe the hype -- Manila was considered 'the pearl of the Orient' for good reason, and there are still remnants of its former glory if you just take some time to look. The walled city of Intramuros is a good place to start, as well as the neighborhoods of Binondo, Santa Cruz and Quiapo. And after you've seen the city's past, check out the city's future, alive and well in the surprisingly modern restaurants, nightclubs and ubiquitous sprawling shopping plazas. If you spent half your time in Manila soaking up Spanish colonial influence and the other half bargaining for good deals at Greenhills, you'd actually be doing a pretty good job of understanding the city's duality!

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