East of the South China Sea and tucked in the Manila Bay is a city within a megacity. The capital of the Philippines is a place of contrasts, contradictions and surprises. Manila City is part of a greater urban conglomerate that encompasses six cities and twelve towns. Metro area of Manila is the most populated region in the Philippines and in the world.
Due to its central location on the Pacific, Manila has been a crucial trading post for centuries. Before its devastating destruction in the Second World War, the 'Pearl of the Orient' was renowned for its walled city. In the early 20th century, American architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham designed Manila, echoing the harmony and charm of Washington, Cleveland and Chicago. Burnham's vision integrated the ethos of the "City Beautiful" movement with the tropical climate of Southeast Asia and the romantic Spanish colonial architecture. Little survived after the devastating destruction of the Second World War. After the Battle of Manila in 1945, the city was not only patched back together, but also extensively expanded beyond Manila City to include neighboring districts.
Manila's characteristic tropical climate consists of dry and wet seasons. While temperatures usually stay between 20°C and 30°C, the amount of daylight varies throughout the year. In Manila, March and April are the sunniest months of the year. The cloudiest part of the year is in the late Summer, with overcast skies over 80% of the time. The Philippines are the most exposed country in the world to typhoons. As a city on the water, Manila is highly vulnerable to flooding and its subsequent damage. Many of the storms can be severe, flooding over half of the city, taking the lives of hundreds and prompting the evacuation of thousands. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) actively raise awareness when storms near the coast. Disease, power shortage and irregular water supply are therefore subjects of great concern, especially in regards to climate change.
Today, Metro Manila's park development program recovered approximately 44% of the city's open spaces for green, recreational purposes. Manila's cultural wealth and multicultural flavor derives from a history that fuses multiple foreign influences, as diverse and surprising as Spanish, Chinese, British, Mexican, Indian, Japanese and American, together. A highly varied working culture exists within the city, representing the entire spectrum of work environments. From the crisp, international office to roadside activities, Manila integrates formal and informal employment.