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Metro Manila was created and organized through a Presidential Executive Order in 1976. It encompasses the National Capital Region of the Philippines which is a political subdivision of the greater metropolitan area for Manila. This metro region, composed of 17 cities and municipalities including Manila, has 12 million residents and has become one of the most populous metro areas in the world. With a GDP of $108 billion in 2005, it is on the 42nd slot of the richest metropolis in the world. It is expected to take the 30th slot by 2020 with an average annual growth of 5.9%.
Located on the island of Luzon, Metro Manila lies on an isthmus bounded by Manila Bay on the west and Laguna De Bay to the southeast and is divided by the Pasig River which connects both bodies of water. It is situated on a flood plain with some cities on the banks of Laguna Bay and on the shores of Manila Bay being prone to flooding due to the rise and fall of tides and the ever perennial problem of over-population.
Metro Manila being the center of commerce and trade in the country, plus its historical background offers a variety of activities. The cities within the metro, specially Makati, Greehills in San Juan and Manila are best spots for shopping clothes, souvenirs, and a lot more. Historical locations like Intramuros and Fort Santiago are located in the city of Manila.
Other major Philippine festivals are listed in the Events and Festivals in the Philippines section.
It gets to rain during the wet season between the months of June till the first half of December. It is cooler after that (18-28º Celcius) until the end of February. When the dry season sets in, the climate gets very humid and hot to as much as 39 °C. The strongest typhoons usually come at the start and end of the rainy season, bringing havoc to its path. There is a joke that the best export to its neighboring countries are typhoons originating from the Philippines - very high quality!
Metro Manila is serviced by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for all international flights to major cities around the world while the Manila Domestic Airport connects the metro to most airports in the country. Both airports are located in the city of Parañaque.
The Philippine National Railways (PNR) connects Metro Manila to other cities south of Manila. The rail line is currently undergoing rehabilitation to revive the northern section of the railway to connect to Clark in Angeles and the southern section up to Legaspi.
Major expressways connect Metro Manila with neighboring provinces on the north via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and the McArthur Highway. While the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) and the Coastal Expressway connects the metro to southern cities and provinces. Towns and cities east of the metro may use radial roads and avenues to get into the metro.
Different provincial buses provide services for passengers coming from different parts of country from the northernmost part of Luzon up to Mindanao. Most Provincial Bus terminals are located in Cubao area of Quezon City, Taft Avenue in Pasay City, and in Monumento area of Caloocan City.
Here are some provincial buses found in the metro.
Metro Manila is connected to other Philippine islands through the Port of Manila on Manila Bay. Passenger ferries from different island ports in the south and international cargo vessels dock on this port.
Currently the Philippine National Railways (PNR) line, which runs from Manila to Legaspi City in the south, has stations that pass through the cities of Caloocan, Manila, Pasay, and Muntinlupa from north to south.
Metro Manila has 3 light railway airconditioned services connecting its central cities. Fares are very cheap because of heavy government subsidies.
Cars are left-hand driven. Other than maps, on-street directions are easy to understand, as they are in English! Be careful, however, as many reckless jeepney drivers and motorcyclists roam the streets at will.
Routes and where they are headed for are easy to get by with as they are written over the front of the buses. Board and alight at designated bus stops. Most of the buses are airconditioned. Fares start at 11 pesos for the first 4 kilometers of travel.
Low Budget Travellers on a budget can check-in at a motel for 500 pesos per night, or even less, depending on location. You have to get on a taxi to get to these, as walking-in is frowned upon, if you are a local. Walk-in foreign guests will just be fine but don't expect a lobby because there is none! Upon entry is a driveway that will lead you to individualized garages and you walk up to the rooms above them. Enter any vacant one and wait inside the room for the bellboy to knock and have you register. You pay upon leaving. The room decors of most popular motels are outrageously ornate - your stay would be quite an experience.
An apartelle that accepts daily room rentals costs around 1500 pesos per night. Some offer free breakfast.
3-star hotels cluster around Manila, Quezon City, Makati, Mandaluyong and Pasay. Serviced-apartments for business travellers are also available such as Gilarmi and Oakwood found within the central business area of Makati.
Major hotel-chains are represented in Makati, Manila and Mandaluyong. A number of boutque hotels are found in Makati.
There are a number of internet service providers nationwide: PLDT-Smart Communications, Globe Telecoms, BayanTel and Sun Cellular and each have their signal strengths in various locations. Internet access areas of broadband speeds are plentiful in city malls, much less so outside the cities, but are growing at a rapid pace. Internet surfing rates depend primarily on where you surf and the medium used (e.g. WiFi or wired). Internet services offered by hotels and shopping malls are expensive and can go up to ₱200/hour (approximately US$5) but neighbourhood cafes can be as cheap as ₱15/hour (approximately US$0.35).
Public place WiFi services in the Philippines is provided by Airborneaccess.net and WiZ is likely to cost ₱100 (approximately US$2) for up to an hour. But if you want cheaper, there is a internet cafe chain in SM malls called, "Netopia", that has a landline internet connection for around 20P an hour (about 0.46 US). Coffee shops as well as malls usually carry WiFi service some are free to use. Certain areas may also carry free WiFi. The SM chain of malls offer free wifi, so you can sit virtually anywhere in the mall and access free wireless.
See also International Telephone Calls
The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company commonly known as PLDT is the leading telecommunications provider. It is also the largest company in the country. There are three major companies operating GSM 900/1800 networks: Globe, Smart and Sun Cellular. Your home provider at home should have agreements with one of these providers so check with them before leaving home. Roaming may be quite expensive just as elsewhere however, pre-paid SIM cards of these networks are easy to acquire and cost as little as ₱30 and provide a cheaper alternative.
If you don't have a phone to begin with, a complete pre-paid kit with phone and SIM can be purchased for as little as ₱1,500.The usual cost of an international long-distance call to the United States, Europe or other major countries is $0.40 per minute. Local calls range from ₱ 6.50 per minute for prepaid calls.
Due to the wide use of mobile phones, pay phones are increasingly becoming obsolete. Some malls and public places still do have them and they usually come in either the coin or card operated variety. Globe and PLDT are the usual operators. Phone cards are usually sold by shops which sell cellphone pre-paid loads and cards. Note that phone cards of one company can not be used with the other company's card operated phones.
The Philippine Postal Corporation, or PhilPost, is the provides the postal service throughout the Philippines. PhilPost is pretty reliable, but one can hardly call it fast services. It is fine for sending postcards and letters though, both domestically as well as internationally. Prices for sending postcards or letters within the country start at around P7, while most international post costs at least P20. For sending parcels to and from the Philippines it might be wise to use companies like FedEx or UPS. The opening hours of post offices in the Philippines differ from one place to another. Usually, post offices are open from 8:00am to 12 noon and from 1:00pm to 5:00pm on weekdays. And for those that operate on Saturdays, the business hours are from 8:00am to 1:00pm.
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Ask pau_p1 a question about Metro Manila
I was a resident of Metro Manila for 32 years and have been to almost every nook of the metro.
Ask elhombre a question about Metro Manila
I live in the Philippines, specifically in the Central Business Dsitrict of Makati City. If you plan to go on a trip to Manila Philippines, just drop a questions and I will try my best to share my inputs. I've been to several places like Boracay, beaches of Batangas City, Province of Bohol, Cebu and Davao City, and some places in Luzon like Baguio.
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