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Metro Manila seems like one of the mythic cities from Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville. When I was last here, over a decade ago, Filipinos referred to it as plain Manila, but that no longer does justice to one of the world’s megacities, 11m strong. Now they often call it Metro Manila in everyday conversation, as if you’ve walked on to a science fiction film set. But while Godard’s film conjured the future from 1960s Paris, Metro Manila evokes the future, present and the past- nowhere more so than in the square outside the Basilica of the Black Nazarene, where naked street…

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