Manila is a big Asian city and I've been to a bunch of those - Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Hanoi, Tokyo - however, Manila is NOTHING like any of those places its a totally different beast and I think its the most challenging place I've been.
There's a lot about Manila that is difficult for me as a westerner who lives a pretty charmed life - the traffic, the poverty, the dirtiness and the ramshackle nature of the beast. The knowledge that I wasn't even seeing the "worst" of it as the worst was in the walled off slums and the areas full of karaoke bars that weren't actually karaoke bars at all.....
However I do believe travel should challenge is in some way, whether big or small and with that in mind I took my time in Manila in my stride - there was so much to learn, The Philippines is an incredible and diverse country and Manila is only a small snippet of the bigger picture (and I want to visit much more of The Philippines in the future) and you know something else? Filipinos are some of the nicest people on this whole earth!
Our trip to Manila started in the old town of Intramuros which was originally built by the Spanish when they colonised The Philippines - the construction of Intramuros began in the late 16th Century.