Metro Manila in a Nutshell
Manila Travel Tips, Philippines Travel Guide

Metro Manila in a Nutshell – Essential Information for Travelers

Metro Manila in a Nutshell

Metropolitan Manila (often abbreviated as Metro Manila; Filipino: Kalakhang Maynila), formally the National Capital Region, is the seat of government and one of the Philippines’ three declared metropolitan regions. It is made up of 16 cities: Manila, Quezon City, Caloocan, Las Pias, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Pasig, San Juan, Taguig, and Valenzuela, as well as the municipality of Pateros. As of 2020, the region has a population of 13,484,462 people and an area of 619.57 square kilometers (239.22 square miles). It is the Philippines’ second most populated and most densely inhabited region. It is also Asia’s ninth most populated metropolitan region and the world’s fifth most populous urban area.

Capital District
(1st District)
Eastern Manila District
(2nd D
Eastern Manila District
(2nd District)
Quezon City
San Juan
Northern Manila District
(3rd District)
Southern Manila District
(4th District)
Las Piñas

Country: Philippines
Other Names: Metropolitan Manila
Region: National Capital Region
Language: Tagalog/Filipino
Religions: Roman Catholic, Islam, Christianity
Currency: Philippine Peso (PHP)
Timezone: Philippine Standard Time, GMT+8.

Top Shopping Malls: SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, Greenbelt Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center, Alabang Towncenter, Venice Grand Canal Mall
Top Universities: University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and University of Santo Tomas

Metro Manila in a Nutshell - Luneta Park

ALSO READ: Travel Tips: Getting Around Metro Manila

Manila: Culture

The culture of the Philippines is a mash-up of Malay, American, Spanish, and oriental influences. The current Tagalog or Filipino, the national language, blends ancient Tagalog, which was originally solely used in the area around Manila, with many Spanish and English terms, particularly for everyday objects (“mesa,” “silya”) and modern inventions (“telepono,” “tricycle”). Because the country was a former US colony, most Filipinos speak and understand English, albeit not all are fluent. English is widely used in fields such as higher education, business, and politics. The Philippines is home to around 170 languages and dialects. Many of them are heavily influenced by the Spanish as well. Several languages, including Cebuano and Ilocano, are recognized as auxiliary official languages.

The Filipino people in general are very friendly and hospitable, with some blaming this trait for the ease with which Spain conquered the Philippine Islands. In the Philippines, the mood is rather festive, and whatever the holiday, it always appears like there is a celebration going on, by default – although this may seem like another cheap cliché – with singing, dancing, and plenty of food. However, these mini-celebrations pale in comparison to the true fiestas observed in each region, such as festivals in honor of the local patron saints or the celebration of a bountiful harvest.

Although the Filipino people are not truly unified when it comes to politics and other issues, the country fights and even prays as a collective during events involving Filipinos or even half-Filipinos, such as international singing contests, beauty pageants, or boxing. Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao, the current national idol, is without a doubt the boxing champion. When he fights, the entire country gathers in front of the TV, and for a brief while, Manila’s streets and MRT trains are empty and quiet.

Filipinos, like other Asian countries, prioritize their family above all else, even extended family. Filipinos are quite laid back, aside from being family orientated and religious. In reality, many natives find it impossible to arrive on time for meetings, owing to Manila’s traffic. Because this is so common, it has even been given a name: Filipino time. Filipinos are always upbeat and optimistic. Indeed, according to a 2012 assessment conducted by the University of Michigan, the Philippines ranks 38th in the world, only below the French.

The Philippines is well-known for its tropical fruits, which it sells to other parts of Asia and the rest of the globe. The Philippine Mango is one of the most popular fruits. You may enjoy it with a spoon, in a green salad, or as a fruit smoothie. Stripes of unripe green Mango dipped in salty Bagoong, a paste of fermented fish or shrimps, are the Filipinos’ favorite version. Although it takes some getting accustomed to, it is a must-try street food for visitors from other countries.

Metro Manila in a Nutshell - Fort Santiago

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Polly Amora

Polly Amora is the general manager of a privately owned corporation in Manila, Philippines. She is a life-long learner who is extroverted to the extreme, knows four languages, is loud and outspoken, and enjoys adventure in the mountains, the beach, and the city. You can throw her wherever and she'll handle it like a pro. Her weaknesses include ice cream and beer.

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