Fun, slightly gritty city
I really liked Manila. It doesn't have the clean, polished feel of some other big capitals like Tokyo or Seoul. But there's a good vibe and lots to do. The poverty can be quite apparent at times and the air pollution is pretty bad, but there is some fun nightlife, some great food, a lot of history (though much was flattened in WW2) and the people seem relaxed and incredibly polite and full of smiles. Also a fairly good comprehension of English, which is convenient for those of us that speak it.
Insider Tip:Ride the Jeepneys as much as you can. It takes awhile to understand the routes, but they are fun, super cheap and a truly unique experience!