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Template:Infobox Philippine city

For other meanings of the word, see Manila (disambiguation).

Manila (Filipino: Maynila) is the capital city of the Philippines. The city stands on the eastern shore of Manila Bay on the largest and northernmost Philippine island, Luzon. Despite pockets of grinding poverty, it is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and its metropolitan area is the country's economic, cultural, educational, and industrial center.

Manila is the hub of a thriving metropolitan area of more than 10 million people. The Metro Manila area, to where the City of Manila belongs, is a much bigger metropolis consisting of 17 cities and municipalities. This article discusses the city itself; see Metro Manila for the article on the metropolis.

The city itself is the Philippines' second most populous city at more than 1.5 million inhabitants. Only Quezon City, a suburb and the country's former capital, is more populous. Manila is located at 14°35' North, 121°0' East (14.58333, 121.0). [1]

In the 16th century, Manila grew from a Muslim settlement called May Nilad on the banks of the Pasig River into the seat of the colonial government of Spain when it controlled the Philippine Islands for 333 years. In 1898 the U.S. occupied and controlled the archipelago until 1935 and Manila became an internationally-known city in the Orient. During World War II, much of the city was destroyed, but was eventually rebuilt. In 1975, to better manage the affairs of the fast-growing region, the city of Manila and the surrounding towns and cities were incorporated into an independent entity, Metropolitan Manila. This was enacted on November 8, 1975 via Presidential Decree # 824 by former president Ferdinand Marcos calling for a creation of a Metropolitan Manila Commission, its function now being carried out by the Metro Manila Development Authority. Today, the city and the metropolis thrives as an important cultural and economic center. However, overpopulation, traffic congestion, pollution, and crime challenge the city.

The Seal of Manila depicts the words Lungsod ng Maynila and Pilipinas, Filipino for City of Manila and Philippines, in a circle around a shield. The circle also contains six yellow stars representing the city's six congressional districts. The shield, in the shape of pre-colonial people's shield, depicts the city's nickname Pearl of the Orient on top; a sea lion in the middle, in reference to the city's Spanish influences; and the waves of the Pasig River and Manila Bay in the bottom portion. The colors of the seal mirror that of the Flag of the Philippines.

The city

Manila lies at the mouth of the Pasig River on the eastern shores of Manila Bay, which is on the western side of Luzon. It lies about 950 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong and 2,400 kilometers northeast of Singapore. The river bisects the city in the middle. Almost all of the city sits on top of centuries of prehistoric alluvial deposits built by the waters of the Pasig River and on some land reclaimed from Manila Bay. The layout of the city was haphazardly planned during Spanish Era as a set of communities surrounding Intramuros. Intramuros is the original walled-city of Manila. During the American Period, some semblace of city planning using the architectural designs by Daniel Burnham, was done on the portions of the city south of the Pasig River.

Manila is bordered by several municipalities and cities in Metro Manila: Navotas and Caloocan City to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong City to the east, Makati City to the southeast, and Pasay City to the south.

The city is divided into 16 geographical districts. Only one district was not an original town-Port Area. The eight districts north of the Pasig are Binondo, Quiapo, Sampaloc, San Miguel, San Nicolas, Santa Cruz, Santa Mesa, and Tondo. The other eight are Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Paco, Pandacan, Port Area, San Andres, and Santa Ana. San Andres was previously part of Santa Ana, and Santa Mesa, once a part of Sampaloc.

All of these districts, with the exception of Port Area, have their own churches, and several of the these districts have achieved recognition in their own right. The district of Binondo is the city's Chinatown. Tondo is the poorest, while the districts of Ermita and Malate are well-known and popular with tourists, having many bars, restaurants, five-star hotels, and shopping malls.

The Pasig River is crossed by a number of bridges in Manila. Eastward they are Roxas Bridge (commonly referred to as the Del Pan Bridge), Jones Bridge, McArthur Bridge, Quezon Bridge, Ayala Bridge, Nagtahan Bridge (also known as Mabini Bridge), Pandacan Bridge, and Lambingan Bridge.

World's most densely populated city

With a population of 1,654,761 recorded in 1995 and a land area of 38.52 km², it has the highest population density of any city in the world with 43,258 people/km² (with district 6 being the most dense with 68,266, followed by the first two districts (Tondo) with 64,936 and 64,710, respectively, and district 5 being the least dense with 19,235). A million more transients are added during daytime as students and workers come to the city.

Manila's population density dwarfs that of Paris' (20,164 inhabitants per km²), Shanghai's (16,364 people/km², with its most dense district of Nanshi's 56,785 density); Buenos Aires' (2,179 people/km², with its most dense inner suburb Lans' 10,444 density); Tokyo's (10,087 people/km²); Mexico City's (11,700 people/km²); and Istanbul's (1,878 people/km², with its most dense district Fatih's 48,173 density).

Parks and open areas

Directly south of Intramuros lies Rizal Park, the country's most significant park. Also known as Luneta (Spanish term for "crescent or moon") and previously as Bagumbayan, the 60 hectare Rizal Park sits on the site where José Rizal, the country's national hero, was executed by the Spaniards on charges of subversion. A monument stands in the park for his honor where Rizal was buried. A marker just west of the Rizal Monument is Kilometer Zero for road distances on the island of Luzon. Some attractions of Rizal Park include the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, the Department of Tourism, the National Museum of the Filipino People, The National Library of the Philippines, the Planetarium, an open-air auditorium for cultural performances, a relief map of the Philippines, a fountain area, a children's lagoon, a chess plaza, a light and sound presentation, and the Quirino Grandstand.

Another famous open space in Manila is the Baywalk. This promenade lies in front of the Manila Bay where you can experience one of the breathtaking sunsets of the world. Coconut trees, giant kaleidoscopic lamp posts, al fresco cafès and restaurants, and live acoustic bands dot this two-kilometer stretch of ample space beside Roxas Boulevard.

Aside from Rizal Park, Manila has very few other open public spaces. Rajah Sulayman Park, Manila Boardwalk, Liwasang Bonifacio, Plaza Miranda, Paco Park, Adriatico Circle, Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden, and the Malacañang Garden are some of the other parks in the city. In the northernmost part of the city lies the three cemeteries of Loyola, Chinese, and Manila North Green Park.

Public markets and shopping malls

Every district in the city with the exception of Port Area has its own public market, locally called the pamilihang bayan. Public markets are often divided into two, the dry goods section and the wet goods section. Commerce in these public markets are in full swing, especially in the early morning. Under the urban renewal program of the incumbent administration, some of the public markets had been refurbished and given a fresher look, like the Sta. Ana public market. It is one of the more advanced markets in the city featuring a modern 2-story building with an escalator.

The tropical climate in Manila plus the facilities of its world-class malls continue to attract Filipinos to the shopping malls. Modern shopping malls dot the city especially in the areas of Malate and Ermita. SM City Manila, part of the country's largest chain of malls, stands behind the Manila City Hall. One of the popular malls that lies at the heart of Manila is Robinson's Place Ermita. In the southern part of the city in Malate district is Harrison Plaza, one of the city's oldest shopping malls.

For the adventurous shoppers, you may venture beyond the hotel/shopping complex package and combine other interesting destinations for cheap buys such as in Divisoria and Quiapo districts. Bargaining is the major part of your shopping experience when you pass by on these areas, as it sells goods at rock-bottom prices. In Divisoria, there is already a shopping mall that caters to the adventurous shoppers. Tutuban Center in Divisoria gives a little comfort to the shoppers as it offers air-conditioned mall, but the price of the goods here is still very similar to the goods bought outside. In Quiapo, one unique spot is the marketplace under the bridge. It sells indegineous Filipino crafts and delicasies. Raon Center is famous for its cheap electronic products. Though through the changing times, department stores began sprouting the Quiapo area, but still the flea market of Quiapo is still vibrant and very much popular among the average Filipinos.

Education and culture

Manila is home to majority of the colleges and universities in Metro Manila. The University Belt, informally located in the districts of Malate, Ermita, Intramuros, Paco, San Miquel, Quiapo, and Sampaloc is the colloquial term for the high number of institutions of higher education that are located in the city. Among them are De La Salle University and the University of Santo Tomas, both consistently among the top-tier universities as recognized by the Commission on Higher Education and the Professional Regulatory Commission. Other notable institutions include the Mapua Institute of Technology, a recognized Engineering school; San Beda College, noted for their top-class Law program; Far Eastern University, University of the East, and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

The National Museum of the Philippines, where the Spoliarium of Juan Luna is housed, as well as the National Library of the Philippines is also in Manila, located within Rizal Park.

Religion, churches and temples

Catholicism. Being the seat of the Spanish colonial government in past centuries, Manila has been used as the base of numerous Catholic missions to the Philippines. Among the religious orders that have gone to the Philippines include the Dominicans, the Jesuits, the Franciscans, the Recoletos, and the Augustinians. Intramuros is currently the seat of the Archdiocese of Manila, one of the oldest archdioceses in the country. The archdiocese's offices is located in the Manila Cathedral (Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception) in Intramuros.

Other notable churches and cathedrals in the city include San Agustin Church in Intramuros, a favorite wedding place of notable people and the only fully air-conditioned church in the city; Quiapo Church, also known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, site of the annual January Black Nazarene procession; Binondo Church, also known as Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz; Malate Church (Our Lady of Remedios Church); and San Sebastian Church or the Minor Basilica of San Sebastian, the only all-steel church in Gothic style in Asia. Many of the other districts of Manila have their own notable churches.

Other faiths. The Quiapo district is home to a sizable Muslim population in Manila. The Golden Mosque is located here. In Ermita is a large Hindu temple for the Indian population. In Malate, along Quirino Avenue, is the only remaining synagogue for the small Jewish community in the Philippines. (See Jews in the Philippines.)

Interesting places

File:Ph map manila large.png
Map of Manila (click for larger version)
  • Rizal Park (commonly called Luneta Park)
  • Intramuros, the walled-city of built by the Spaniards as their official residence
  • Fort Santiago
  • Malacañang Palace, the Philippine president's official residence
  • Manila Baywalk
  • Rajah Sulayman Park
  • Manila Boardwalk
  • Ermita and Malate Districts, a place for Bohemian night life
  • Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden (Manila Zoo)
  • National Library of the Philippines
  • Paco Park, the location of the hit "Paco Park Presents"
  • University Belt Area
  • Chinatown (Binondo district)
  • Malls and shopping centers
    • Ayala Malls, Manila
    • SM City Manila
    • SM Centerpoint (SM City Sta. Mesa)
    • SM Department Store Quiapo
    • SM City San Lazaro
    • Robinson's Place Manila
    • Harrison Plaza
    • Ever Gotesco Mall Recto
    • Isetann Department Store
    • Divisoria Flea Market
    • Tutuban Center
    • Quiapo Bargain Center, home for endless bargain goods
    • Palengke or Pamilihan sa ilalim ng tulay (literally means "a marketplace under the bridge), a center for indigenous Filipino products
  • Churches
    • Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral)
    • Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church)
    • San Agustin Church
    • Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz (Binondo Church)
    • Our Lady of Remedios Church (Malate Church)
    • Minor Basilica of San Sebastian (San Sebastian Church), the only all-steel church in Gothic style in Asia
    • Santa Cruz Church
  • Sports centers
    • Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC)
    • Santa Ana Racing Park
  • High Schools
    • Manila Science High School
    • Manila High School
    • Philippine Cultural High School
  • Cemeteries
    • Manila North Cemetery
    • Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
    • La Loma Cemetery
    • Chinese Cemetery


Manila began as a Muslim settlement at the mouth of the Pasig River along the shores of Manila Bay. The name came from the term maynilad, literally "there is nilad." Nilad is a white-flowered mangrove plant that grew in abundance in the area.

In the mid-1500s, the areas in present-day Manila was governed by three rajahs, or Muslim community leaders. They were Rajah Sulayman and Rajah Matanda who ruled the communities south of the Pasig, and Rajah Lakandula who ruled the community north of the river. Manila was then the northernmost Muslim sultanate in the islands. It held ties with the sultanates of Brunei, Sulu, and Ternate in Cavite.

Arrival of the Spanish

In 1570, a Spanish expedition ordered by the conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi demanded the conquest of Manila. His second on command, Martín de Goiti departed from Cebu and arrived in Manila. The Muslim Tagalogs welcomed the foreigners, but Goiti had other plans. The Spanish force of 300 soldiers marched through Manila and a battle was fought with the heavily armed Spaniards quickly defeating and crushing the native settlements to the ground. Legazpi and his men followed the next year and made a peace pact with the three rajahs and organized a city council consisting of two mayors, 12 councilors, and a secretary. A walled City known as Intramuros, at the southern banks of Pasig River was built to protect the Spanish colonizers. On June 10, 1574, King Philip II of Spain gave Manila the title of Insigne y Siempre Leal Ciudad ("Distinguished and Ever Loyal City"). In 1595, Manila was proclaimed as the capital of the Philippine Islands.

The Philippine Revolution

U.S. Occupation and Period

Escolta Street, Manila. stereoptical view, 1899

The headquarters for USAFFE were located here as were the U.S. 31st Infantry Regiment and the U.S. 808th Military Police Company. The headquarters and bulk of the Philippine Division was located just to the south, at Fort William McKinley. The headquarters for the Far East Air Force was on the outskirts of town, at Nielson Field. Nearby, at Nichols Field was the U.S. 20th Air Base Group. A battalion of the U.S. 12th Quartermaster Regiment was located in the port area and training was conducted there for quartermasters of the Philippine Army.

There were 6 airfields, for the Far East Air Force, within 130 km of Manila, notably Clark, Nichols, and Nielson fields.

World War II

After American combat units were ordered withdrawn from the city on December 31 , 1941, Manila was declared an open city by President Manuel L. Quezon and was occupied by Japanese forces on January 2, 1942, but on February 5, 1945 American General Douglas MacArthur fulfilled a promise to return to the Philippines (see Battle of Leyte). From February 3 to March 3, after the climactic battle at Intramuros ended, the thoroughly devastated city of Manila was officially liberated. Allied troops did not reach the city in time to prevent the Manila Massacre though.

Manila and security

Manila has been subject to militant attacks. The metropolis have been targeted twice by groups Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Abu Sayyaf. In addition, Al-Qaida cells have been discovered in the metropolis.

Project Bojinka, which was a large-scale attack being planned in late 1994 and early 1995, was being planned in Manila. The project was abandoned after the night of January 6, 1995 and the morning of January 7, when an apartment fire led investigators to a laptop computer containing the plans.



Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) serves Manila and the metro area, over 30 airlines provide daily service to over 26 cities and 19 countries worldwide. Approximately 14 million travellers use NAIA a year straining what was orignally a domestic airport built in the 1930's, that a second airport, the Terminal 2 or the Centennial Airport was built with American, Korean, Japanese & German investments and opened in October 1999. The International flag-carrier Philippine Airlines now uses this terminal for both its domestic and international and while all other international flights use NAIA.

There is a small domestic airport approximatley 1.5 miles from NAIA on Domestic Road that is the main hub of Asian Spirit, Cebu Pacific, South East Asian Airlines and Air Philippines. These regional carriers use Boeing 737 & 757 airplanes as well as small two-engine propeller planes. The domestic airport serves every major city throughout the Philipines from 5am to 8pm daily.

External links

Template:Metro Manila

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