A multi-faceted collection of cities endowed with architectural landmarks old and new, the NCR is the gateway to all that the Philippines has to offer

Metro Manila, a sprawling metropolis (some say megalopolis) of 15 major cities that includes the capital of Manila, is also called the National Capital Region (NCR) because it’s the hub of nearly everything in the country – government, commerce, and culture. Almost all government offices are headquartered in the NCR, along with main offices of many private companies. Local and foreign acts perform to huge crowds in large performance venues in Quezon City and Manila, before jetting off for a break in one of the islands. Although there are a few other international airports in the country, the main gateway is the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, right next to Manila.

There are no clear delineations among the cities, and you might be moving from one to the next without knowing it. The cityscapes offer clues: Manila City, the administrative capital, is right by Manila Bay, where on cloudless days you can witness one of the most stunning sunsets you’ll ever see. As the administrative capital, it’s home to stately, albeit old government buildings with imposing façades of Greek columns. Makati City, on the other hand, especially the central business district, is newer and therefore displays more modern architecture and clusters of concrete and glass high-rise towers.

But everywhere you go, you’ll find exciting dining and entertainment options.