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A city of complex contrasts
Manila's original centre for finance and trade was in Binodo, the world's oldest Chinatown – thriving well before Spaniards disembarked here in 1571. The contemporary commercial hub is in Makati City; locals flock here to work and play and it's also where many of the best hotels are located.
Relaxing in and exploring the city's great urban green space, Rizal Park, has been popular since Spanish colonial times. Today it's replete with open air events, national museums, monuments, a planetarium and an aquarium. Adjoining Rizal Park is Intramuros, remnants of the walled city: Old Manila. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed San Agustin Church is one of the few architectural survivors of World War 2 here.
Shopping in Manila is practically a national pastime and the large-scale Mall of Asia at Manila Bay is one of the busiest shopping centres on the planet. When you've worked up an appetite, head to Pasay Road in Makati City for a selection of the top ramen and noodle restaurants in the capital. Set to holiday in Manila? It will deliver a feast for your senses.