First Base

Manila is the capital city of the Philippines. It is one of the 17 cities and municipalities of the 636-square-kilometer National Capital Region, also known as Metro Manila, where around 10 million Filipinos live and work.

Spanish conquistadors established the city in 1571 at the mouth of a bay known for its beautiful sunset. Malacanang Palace, the official residence of the Philippine President, stands on the banks of Pasig River, which cuts through the metropolis. (Pasig River is a highly polluted river)

Metro Manila’s political and economic significance lies in its strategic location. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport, formerly known as the Manila International Airport, is the premier gateway, serving over 30 airlines, which fly to different cities around the world and to different parts of the Philippines.

All roads lead to Metro Manila. It is well accessible by land, air and water transportation, although many roads, like the only rail to the provinces, badly need rehabilitation. Air transportation is recommended for trips to the far-flung provinces. Trip to the country’s beach resorts, forests, caves and other natural wonders can be arranged in Metro Manila.

While the metropolis lacks the natural grandeur of the countryside, it boasts of modern buildings, old churches, monuments, historical landmarks, forts, plazas, parks, museums, theaters, entertainment centers, golf courses, country clubs and lively marketplaces ranging from giant shopping malls to bargain shops.