• Photo: Tappasan Phurisamrit / Shutterstock

Manila

Bustling, sprawling, and often chaotic, Manila isn't everyone's idea of a beautiful metropolis. Still, most visitors to the Philippines pass through its capital at least one time or other. Fortunately, if you scratch beneath the grimy surface you will find plenty of shiny gems that make a visit worthwhile. Amid its modern steel and glass shopping malls and peeling ancient slums are grand reminders of a bygone colonial era. And if the noise and diesel fumes become too much, do what the locals do and head for the parks, Manila's havens of respite and calm.

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