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Manila's most endearing aspect is its people - warm, friendly, very family oriented. Varying levels of English are spoken in most touristy service establishments, though you'll have to tune in to the Filipino-American accent, somewhat like Hispanic-American.

Manila, the city, can be an assault on the senses, though. Unless you confine yourself to the shopping mall/ hotel circuit, you'll need to brace yourself for a pretty appalling lack of sanitation and hygiene in many areas. In stark contrast to the quiet luxury of the many gated, high walled villas hiding the country's very privileged few.

It has great bookstores, though, particularly for serious learning, including the low cost ELBS versions. Easy to lose track of time exploring them.

My favorite Philippino meal is Lechon - spit roasted pork. Scrumptious! Definitely deserves the claim 'best roast pork in the world'!
'Lechon, or litson in Filipino (or, I suppose, in any Philippine dialect) is basically a roasted pig. The skin of a perfect lechon is crispy, yet it melts in your mouth after the initial bite. The better part is the belly, where the secret herbs and spices come in close contact with the meat.'
GG Home Fool
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