MANILA

Manila is the capital of the Philippines. This vibrant city is a culturally diverse area that draws in tourists — not with posh attractions but with its frenetic pace, constant noise, and sometimes surreal settings. One could say that Manila’s chaos has charm. It's most-visited landmarks include the famed sunset spot Manila Bay and the historic Intramuros or Walled City. Other architectural legacies from Spain include the San Agustin Church, the Manila Cathedral, and the San Sebastian Church. Noteworthy cultural hubs such as the National Museum of the Philippines and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila are also in the area. There's also Manila's Binondo district, which is dubbed "the world's oldest Chinatown." And Divisoria, an area known for wholesale shopping.  The official residence of the country's heads of state — Malacañang Palace — is also in Manila. Over the years, Manila has become a melting pot of cultures, as the Americans and the Japanese subsequently occupied the country and other foreign migrants settled in the area. Manila also hosts several universities, such as the De La Salle University and the University of Santo Tomas. It also boasts of the University Belt, where schools like San Beda College, Far Eastern University, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and many other academic institutions are located. The area has survived many historical upheavals, such as the arrival of colonizers and the Battle of Manila in 1945, when thousands of citizens were killed and most of Manila’s buildings were laid to waste by bombs. Manila derived its name from two words: "may," meaning "there is," and "nila" or "nilad," the name of a shrub that originally grew abundantly along the shores of Manila Bay. In fact, the nation's National Capital Region is called Metro Manila — with Manila as one of the 16 highly-urbanized cities and one municipality that compose it. Manila itself is made up of 16 districts — Binondo, Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Paco, Pandacan, Port Area, Quiapo, Sampaloc, San Andres, San Miguel, San Nicolas, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz, Santa Mesa, and Tondo.    
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