( CNN) The best of Manila is most easily found in its confluence of identities.
Then there’s the food. The Manila table reflects the country’s history, with Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and American influences.
With 12 million residents, Manila nevertheless doesn’t attract the same number of tourists as many Asian capital cities — it’s still often a transit city to the white sand beaches of Boracay and Palawan, or the vacation island of Cebu. Yet local expats will say that it’s one of the best places to live in Asia — and even retire in.