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Welcome to Manila!

Fort BonifacioJose Rizal MonumentJeepneyIntramurosMakati CityManila Squatters

Or welcome to the Philippines, the "Pearl of the Orient". It's home for Filipinos who are known for being friendly and hospitable and who are always armed with their ready smiles and warm greetings. Where male foreigners are called "Hey Joe!", a reference to a male American and the female ones are called "Kana", a street slang for a female American. Americans surely made an impact on Filipinos after almost 50 years of presence in the Philippines. Europeans would surely find this odd as Filipinos would automatically assume white people to be Americans regardless of accent or appearance.

Manila or Metro Manila is infamous for its monstrous traffic jams, overpopulation and pollution, yet it has its own charms from its old Spanish colonial past especially evident in the Intramuros and Malate areas. Some parts would be modern and advanced like Makati City or Fort Bonifacio while others would be impoverished. Manila's business districts would be comparable to those of developing countries but in some areas, the realities of being in a Third World country would bite.

The popular "Jeepney" with its baroque style is a unique experience, thanks to it's mix match colorful designs. Although there is no air-conditioning and one is subject to pollution and the sweltering heat, it's still worth the try for the adventurous ones but definitely not for the faint-hearted. The "Jeepney" is not called the "King of the Road" for nothing.

The Filipino people sums up how to describe Manila. Full of life and optism for the future but sometimes unsure of its own heritage and direction.