Aussie paper calls Manila 'awful' but a must-see
MANILA – An Australian newspaper included Manila in its list of “awful” cities but still encouraged its readers to visit the Philippine capital.
In a cheeky article titled “Ten 'awful' cities you should still visit” published by The Age on Tuesday, writer David Whitley noted that some cities “get repeated reputation trashing that’s not entirely warranted” and went on to list 10 cities that "aren’t quite as grim as you might imagine."
The list, which also includes three American cities – Detroit, Baltimore and Pittsburgh – “may be bywords for crime, industrial bleakness or urban decay, but they do have something about them that makes them worth casting aside the prejudices for,” Whitley wrote.
About Manila, Whitley noted that even Filipinos admit that the capital is “a chaotic, disjointed mess.”
“But it has a passionate boisterousness missing from other South-East Asian cities – the garish jeepneys and wall-to-wall karaoke bars are the best examples of this,” he wrote about Manila, which was also criticized by American author Dan Brown as the “gates of hell” in his latest novel “Inferno.”
Nonetheless, Whitley recommended to the readers of The Age three “remarkable attractions” should they make a trip to Manila.
On top of Whitley’s list is the walled city of Intramuros, which he noted is “full of old churches and surrounded by a highly bizarre golf course.”
He also recommended a trip to the Ayala Museum in Makati for a “note-perfect trawl through the fascinating and unique history of the Philippines.”
Whitley said tourists must not also miss the American Cemetery and Memorial at the Bonifacio Global City, which he noted is the largest war cemetery in the world.
“The sweeping rows of graves marked with crosses and Jewish stars have a memorably humbling effect,” Whitley wrote.
The other “awful” yet must-see cities in The Age’s list are: Bogota in Colombia, Downtown Johannesburg in South Africa, Belgrade in Serbia, The Ruhr in Germany, Beirut in Lebanon and Kingston in Jamaica.