The capital of the Philippines - its heart and soul -- is Manila. It sets the rhythm of life in this archipelago and is a pulsating hub that blends the Oriental with the Occidental, the quaint with the modern, the mundane with the extraordinary. Manila was born out of the ashes of a once flourishing Malay settlement by the banks of the Pasig River. In 1571, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi established the Ever Loyal City of Manila which, until 1898, was the seat of Spanish colonial rule in Asia. He built the city within walls and called it Intramuros.
An anchor tourist destination, Manila is the very core of the 7,000 times more islands that make up the Philippines. It is a center for the performing arts in Asia.
Just off Intramuros' walls is the world-class Club Intramuros which offers day and night golfing. Adjacent to it is the 58-hectare Rizal Park, which runs from Taft Avenue up to the seawalls of the fabled Manila Bay. A stone's throw away from Rizal Park is the Ermita district which, together with the Malate district, forms what is known as Manila's Tourist Belt. Ermita is antique and art galleries, curio and souvenir shops while Malate is cozy cafes, music lounges and performance theaters.