The capital city and port of entry for most travelers. Manila can be a challenging place to love, but it provides a historical and cultural overview to the country. With a population of 12 million people, Metro Manila comprises a sprawling expanse of districts that include Makati; the central business district with its tall, glass towers and swanky shopping malls; Intramuros, the old walled city with cobblestone streets facing Manila Bay; Ortigas, a shopping center surrounded by affluent suburban communities; and Quezon City, a partly rural, partly seedy section that is also the seat of government.
Manila is a heady mix of the new and old. Young professionals from all reaches of the archipelago move here to find work, while old families with roots dating back to Spanish colonial times still hold fort over all manners of commerce and society. Though it can be overwhelming with its crowds, Manila is a vibrant place that is ultimately a great introduction to the country's colonial past, preserved in its walled city and museums, and the bright future Filipinos are fervently working towards.