The Philippines is an archipelagic nation made up of 7,107 islands spanning 1,840 kilometers north to south. It is part of the East Indies, a vast island group lying south and east of mainland Asia, with Taiwan at its northernmost coast and Borneo on the south. The three main Philippine island groups are Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. Luzon is the island of contrasts. The most modern districts in the Philippines, including the capital city of Manila, are in Luzon, but so are some of the oldest tribal communities in the nation like the Ifugao of the Cordilleras. Luzon is also where a visitor can see the latest model luxury cars overtaking a carabao sled or modern skyscrapers within driving distance of primordial volcanos.
Manila is the capital city of the Philippines. But we Filipinos call Manila "The City of Our Affections." This phrase is taken from an old Spanish writings; but it also expresses a modern sentiment. Manila is all things for all Filipinos. It is the seat government administration, the fashion center, the intellectual pace-setter, the fountain head of all religious and educational movements; and of course, enormous shopping arcades. It is polictics and art; markets and churches; banks and universities - the whole life.
The countrys premier business distric, Makati, throbs with different life. Busy sidewalks and avenues lead to hushed office sanctums, sparkling malls, elegant shops, swank galleries and boutiques, and some of the most valuable residential real estates in the country. Evenings, this classy entertainment city pulsates with the thousand and one light of discos, pubs, bistros, restaurants, music lounges, jazz bars, karaoke bars and 24-hour diner.
Where to stay is never a problem in Metro Manila. The visitor can choose from any of the wide range of accomodations to suit every taste and budget - from the most prestigiuos hotel chains to deluxe motels to cozy pensions and family-run inns. A wealth of diversions and attractions await the visitor. Museum tours offer glimpses of the rich historical and cultural heritage of the islands. At Ayala Museum in Makati, colorful dioramas depict scenes from Philippine history.
Metro Manila is home to roughly 20% of the countrys 62 million Filipinos. The capital, Manila, is situated at the mouth of a natural harbor - the Manila Bay of world-famous sunsets. MalacaÏang Palace, the official