From New World Encyclopedia
City of Manila
Lungsod ng Maynila
The Manila Bay skyline
The Manila Bay skyline
Flag of City of Manila
Official seal of City of Manila
Nickname: Pearl of the Orient[1][2]
The City of Our Affections
Distinguished and Ever Loyal City
Motto: Linisin at Ikarangal ang Maynila
Map of Metro Manila showing the location of the City of Manila
Map of Metro Manila showing the location of the City of Manila
Coordinates: 14°35′N 120°58′E
Country Flag of Philippines Philippines
Region National Capital Region
Districts 1st to 6th districts of Manila
City zones 100
Barangays 897
Settled June 10, 1574
 - Type Mayor–council
 - Mayor Alfredo Lim (Liberal)
 - Vice Mayor Isko Moreno (Nacionalista)
 - Representatives
 - City Council
 - Capital City 38.55 km² (14.9 sq mi)
 - Urban 1,474.82 km² (569.4 sq mi)
 - Metro 638.55 km² (246.5 sq mi)
Elevation 16.0 m (52 ft)
Population (2010)[3][4]
 - Capital City 1,652,171
 - Density 42,858/km² (111,001.7/sq mi)
 - Urban 20,795,000
 - Urban Density 14,100/km² (36,518.8/sq mi)
 - Metro 11,855,975
 - Metro Density 18,567/km² (48,088.3/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 0900 to 1096
Area code(s) 2

The City of Manila (Filipino: Lungsod ng Maynila), or simply Manila, is the capital of the Philippines and one of the municipalities that comprise Metro Manila. The city is located on the eastern shore of Manila Bay on Luzon, the country's largest island. Manila is the hub the Metro Manila area, also known as the National Capital Region (NCR), a thriving metropolitan area consisting of seventeen cities and municipalities which is home to over 10 million people. Manila is the second most populous city proper in the Philippines, with more than 1.5 million inhabitants. Only nearby Quezon City, the country's former capital, is more populous.

The name Manila comes from may nilad, Tagalog for "there is nilad," referring to the flowering mangrove plant that grew on the marshy shores of the bay. In the sixteenth century, Manila (then Maynilad) grew from an Islamic settlement on the banks of the Pasig River into the seat of the colonial government of Spain when it controlled the Philippine Islands for over three centuries from 1565 to 1898. After the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898, the United States occupied and controlled the city and the Philippine archipelago until 1946. During World War II, much of the city was destroyed. The Metropolitan Manila region was enacted as an independent entity in 1975. Today, the city and the metropolis thrive as an important cultural and economic center. However, overpopulation, traffic congestion, pollution, and crime challenge the city.

Manila has been classified as a "Gamma" global city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network. [5]

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 the original Spanish Era walled city of Manila, called Intramuros. Intramuros is one of the oldest walled cities in the Far East. During the American Period, some semblance of city planning, using architectural designs and master plans by Daniel Burnham, was done on the portions of the city south of the Pasig River. Burnham, the noted American city planner and architect, was famed for his plans and designs for Chicago, Cleveland (the Group Plan), San Francisco, Washington, DC (the McMillan Plan), and Baguio City, details of which appear in The Chicago Plan publication of 1909.

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.

City seal

The Seal of Maynila 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 a 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 those of the Flag of the Philippines.


Pre-Spanish times

Manila began as a Muslim settlement at the mouth of the Pasig River along the shores of Manila Bay. The name Manila comes from may nilad, Tagalog for "there is nilad," referring to the whie-flowered mangrove plant that grew in abundance on the marshy shores of the bay.

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

Spanish Rule

Gate of Fuerza de Santiago.

In 1570, a Spanish expedition ordered by the conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi demanded the surrender of Manila. His second in command, Martín de Goiti traveled from Cebu to Manila, where he was welcomed by the Muslim Tagalogs, but Goiti had other plans. The heavily-armed Spanish force of three hundred soldiers marched through Manila and quickly defeated the native settlements. Legazpi and his men followed the next year, made a peace pact with the three rajahs, and organized a city council consisting of two mayors, twelve councilors, and a secretary. A walled city known as Intramuros, at the southern banks of Pasig River was built to protect the Spanish colonists. 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 and became a center of trans-Pacific trade for more than three centuries. The famous Manila galleons sailed between Manila and the port of Acapulco in today's Mexico, carrying silver and other precious metals from the New World to Manila to purchase Asian goods and raw materials such as spices from the Spice Islands to the south, and porcelain, ivory, lacquerware and processed silk cloth from China and Southeast Asia. Some of these Asian goods were consumed in Mexico; however, most of the cargo was transhipped across Mexico for delivery to Spain, to be sold in European markets.

British occupation

There was a brief British occupation of Manila from 1762-1764 as a result of the Seven Years' War, which was fought between France and England. Spain became a British enemy when it sided with France due to ties between their royal families. The British Occupation was confined to Manila and Cavite while Simón de Anda y Salazar, acting as a de facto Spanish governor general, kept the countryside for Spain with the help of Filipino soldiers. The Indian soldiers known as Sepoys, who came with the British, deserted in droves and settled in Cainta, Rizal. This explains the uniquely Indian features of generations of Cainta residents. French mercenaries who came with the British also settled in various locations around Manila.[6]

United States rule

Escolta Street, Manila. stereoptical view, 1899

Troops from the United States invaded Manila in 1898 and waged war with the Spaniards and Filipinos in the Spanish-American War. Following the defeat of Spain, U.S. forces took control of the city and the islands. In the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain handed over the Philippines to the United States of America for US$ 20,000,000 and ended 333 years of Spanish rule in the islands.[7]

The Filipinos, having just won their independence from Spain, were fiercely opposed to once again being occupied and entered into the Philippine-American War. They had established the First Philippine Republic under Emilio Aguinaldo at the Malolos Congress and had begun to build the foundations for an independent nation. American troops under General Otis immediately routed the Filipino troops who had taken classic defensive positions around Manila to keep them out. The poorly armed, ill-trained Filipino soldiers could not compete with the superior firepower of the Americans.

Aguinaldo immediately ordered the Filipinos to start fighting a guerrilla campaign, supported by the peasantry. The Americans became uneasily aware that they were fighting not just one "tribe" as they had originally thought, but the entire country. Otis was replaced with Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who with his officials, embarked on a long and bloody campaign. MacArthur once confidentially declared that it would take at least ten years to subdue the islands. Officially, the war ended after three years, but unofficially he was proven right.

Villages were burned and their occupants raped and killed. Filipinos were rounded up and placed in concentration camps where disease and hunger took their toll. Some had to sleep standing up in the rain, and those who misbehaved were subjected to water torture. Everyone not in the camps was regarded as enemy. Estimates for the war dead range from 100,000 to a million or more.[8]

Military Base

The Philippines became a military base for the United States in the Pacific. The headquarters for USAFFE were located in Manila, 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. After Philippine independence, only Clark Field, later Clark Air Base, and a training facility, Camp O'Donnell, remained. All U.S. military and air force bases were closed down in 1991.

World War II

American combat units were ordered to withdraw from the city and all military installations were removed on December 30 , 1941. Manila was declared an open city by President Manuel L. Quezon, to spare the city from death and destruction. Quezon issued a decree enlarging the safe zone to include outlying areas of Manila as safe zones, establishing the new administrative jurisdiction called Greater Manila.

The post of mayor of Greater Manila was given to Quezon's former Executive Secretary, Jorge B. Vargas. On the evening of New Year's Day of 1942, a Japanese courier delivered notice to Vargas that Japanese forces already bivouacked at Parañaque would enter Greater Manila the following day. From 9 am to 10 am of January 2, Japanese imperial forces marched into the City of Manila.

Vargas was ordered to hand over Greater Manila and present the remaining Filipino leaders to Japanese authorities. Vargas and the Filipino leaders present were asked to choose among three options: a purely Japanese military administration; a dictatorial government run by a Filipino, General Artemio Ricarte who had been in self-exile in Japan since the Philippine-American war; or a government run by commission selected by Filipinos. Vargas and the local leaders chose the third option and established the Philippine Executive Commission to initially manage Greater Manila; later it was expanded to cover the whole of the Philippines.

Vargas assumed the chairmanship of the Philippine Executive Commission and appointed to the post of Mayor of Greater Manila in 1942, Leon G. Guinto Sr., a Secretary of Labor under the Philippine Commonwealth administration of President Manuel L. Quezon. Guinto held the position of Mayor of Greater Manila until the liberation of the city.

Under Guinto's war-time administration, the City of Manila that was expanded to Greater Manila, including districts such as: "Bagumbayan," meaning “New Town” (South of Manila); "Bagumpanahon" meaning “New Era” (Sampaloc, Quiapo, San Miguel and Santa Cruz); "Bagumbuhay" meaning “New Life” (Tondo); "Bagong Diwa" meaning “New Order” (Binondo & San Nicholas). The then newly-established Quezon City was collapsed and divided into two districts, while the municipalities of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Malabon, Makati, Mandaluyong, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, and San Juan became districts of Manila.

On October 20, 1944, American Gen. Douglas MacArthur fulfilled a promise to return to the Philippines (see Battle of Leyte). From February 3 to March 3, 1945, 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, in which 19,000 Japanese soldiers who were trapped within the city during the Battle of Manila took out their anger and frustration on the civilians caught in the crossfire. Various credible Western and Eastern sources[9] agree that the death toll was at least 100,000 people.


Map of Manila (click for larger version)
The Manila Cathedral in Intramuros.

The city is divided into 16 districts. Only one district was not an original town - Port Area. Eight districts are located north of the Pasig River and eight are in the south. San Andres Bukid was previously part of Santa Ana, while Santa Mesa was once a part of Sampaloc.

North of Pasig River

  • Binondo
  • Quiapo
  • Sampaloc
  • San Miguel
  • San Nicolas
  • Santa Cruz
  • Santa Mesa
  • Tondo

South of Pasig River

  • Ermita
  • Intramuros
  • Malate
  • Paco
  • Pandacan
  • Port Area
  • San Andres Bukid
  • Sta. Ana

All of these districts, with the exception of Port Area, have their own churches, and several of these districts have achieved recognition in their own right. Intramuros, the old and original enclave of Manila, is a historical site. The district of Binondo is the city's Chinatown. Tondo is the densest in terms of population, the largest in land area and also has the highest poverty level. The districts of Ermita and Malate are well-known and popular with tourists, having many bars, restaurants, five-star hotels, and shopping malls, while the districts of San Miguel and Pandacan host the official residence of the President of the country, Malacañang Palace.

National government offices

The former Agriculture and Finance Buildings and the Agrifina Circle in Rizal Park.

The City of Manila is the capital of the Philippines and is also the seat of political power in the country. During the early years of the American colonial government, a well-designed city was envisioned outside the walls of Intramuros, and nearby "Bagumbayan," or what is now Rizal Park, was chosen to become the center of government. A design commission was given to Daniel Burnham to create a master plan for the city patterned after Washington D.C.

Eventually, under the Commonwealth Government of Manuel L. Quezon, a new government center was built on the hills northeast of Manila, or what is now Quezon City. Some government agencies have their bases in Quezon City, but several key government offices are in Manila, such as the Office of the Philippine President, the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Departments of Budget, Finance, Health, Justice, Labor & Employment, and Tourism.

Parks and open areas

Rizal Monument

Directly south of Intramuros lies Rizal Park, the country's most significant park. Also known as Luneta (Spanish term for "crescent-shaped") 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 his honor where Rizal's remains were buried. The big flagpole west of the Rizal Monument is the Kilometer Zero for road distances on the island of Luzon and the rest of the country.

Other attractions in Rizal Park include the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, the Department of Tourism building, the National Museum of the Philippines, The National Library of the Philippines, the Planetarium, the Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion, 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], a promenade in front of Manila Bay where one can experience one of the most breathtaking sunsets in the world. Coconut trees, giant kaleidoscopic lamp posts, al fresco cafès and restaurants, and live acoustic bands dot this two-kilometer stretch 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, Remedios Circle, Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden, Plaza Balagtas and the Malacañang Garden are some of the other parks in the city. In 2005, Mayor Lito Atienza opened the Pandacan Linear Park, a strip of land along the banks of the Pasig River that served as a buffer zone between the oil depot and the residential-commercial properties in Pandacan. In the northern most part of the city lie the three cemeteries of Loyola, Chinese, and Manila North Green Park, the largest public cemetery in Metropolitan Manila.


Ethnic groups

The original settlers of Manila were the Tagalogs. Throughout the centuries, there has been a constant migration of Visayans, Bicolanos, Ilocanos, Maranaos, Pampangans, Chinese, Japanese, and Spaniards. There are also Americans, Arabs, Indonesians, Indians, and Koreans in Manila. Intermarriage between ethnic groups is not uncommon in the Philippines.

There are three distinct local ethnic groups in Manila, the natives, the Chinese, and the Spanish. The Chinese and Spanish groups, companies and families control most of the political and financial institutions.

Population Density

View of the Malate and Ermita skyline.

With a population of 1,581,082 and a land area of 38.55 km², Manila has the highest population density of any major city in the world with 41,014 people/km² (District 6 is the most dense with 68,266, followed by the first two districts (Tondo) with 64,936 and 64,710, respectively; district 5 is 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 (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 Lanus' 10,444 density), Tokyo (10,087 people/km²), Mexico City (11,700 people/km²), and Istanbul (1,878 people/km², with its most dense district Fatih's 48,173 density).



The vernacular language is Tagalog, while Filipino and English are the languages used in education and business throughout the Metro Manila region.


Facade of Basilica Minore del Nazareno Negro
Interior of Basilica Minore de San Sebastian (Engineering design are from Gustave Eiffel. Metal parts came from Belgium and later shipped and assembled in Manila in 1891)

The cosmopolitan atmosphere and cultural diversity of Manila is reflected in the number of places of worship scattered around the city. Freedom of worship in the Philippines, has existed since the creation of the republic.

Roman Catholicism

Manila is the seat of the Archdiocese of Manila and the Primate of the Philippines. As the seat of the Spanish colonial government in past centuries, it was used as the base of numerous Roman Catholic missions to the Philippines. Among the religious orders that established themselves in the Philippines were the Dominicans, the Jesuits, the Franciscans, and the Augustinians (which includes the Augustinian Recollects).

Intramuros is currently the seat of the Archdiocese of Manila, the oldest archdiocese in the country. The archdiocese's offices are located in the Manila Cathedral (Basilica Minore de la Nuestra Señora de la Immaculada Concepcion) in Intramuros.

Other notable churches and cathedrals in the city include San Agustin Church in Intramuros, a UN World Heritage Site , a favorite wedding venue for notable people, and one of two fully air-conditioned churches in the city; Quiapo Church, also known as the Basilica Minore del Nazareno Negro, site of the annual January Black Nazarene procession; Binondo Church, also known as Basilica Minore de St. Lorenzo Ruiz; Malate Church (Nuestra Señora de Remedios); and San Sebastian Church or the Basilica Minore de 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

There are many Buddhist and Doist temples built by the Chinese community in Manila. The Quiapo district is home to a sizable Muslim population, and The Golden Mosque is located there. In Ermita is a large Hindu temple for the Indian population, while on U.N. Avenue, there is a Sikh Temple. In Malate, along Quirino Avenue, there once was a synagogue for the small Jewish community in the Philippines.

Education and Culture

Manila is home to the majority of the colleges and universities in Metro Manila. The University Belt or U-Belt, informally located in the districts of Malate, Ermita, Intramuros, San Miquel, Quiapo, and Sampaloc is the colloquial term for the high concentration of institutions of higher education that are located in these districts. Among them are private school De La Salle University-Manila in Malate, the private schools Far Eastern University and University of Santo Tomas in Sampaloc, and the city-owned Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila at Intramuros. The city is also host to the Manila Science High School, the forerunner of the country's science high schools, the National Museum of the Philippines, where the Spoliarium of Juan Luna is housed, the Metropolitan Museum, the Museong Pambata (Children's Museum), as well as the National Library, located within Rizal Park.



Every district in the city with the exception of Port Area has its own public market, locally called the pamilihang bayan or Palengke. Public markets are often divided into two, the dry goods section and the wet goods section. Commerce in these public markets is lively, 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 two-story building with an escalator.

The tropical heat in Manila plus the facilities offered by its malls continue to attract Filipinos to the shopping malls. Modern shopping malls dot the city, especially in the areas of Malate and Ermita. Adventurous shoppers may venture to other interesting destinations such as the Divisoria and Quiapo districts. Bargaining is a major part of the shopping experience. In Quiapo, a marketplace under the bridge sells indigenous Filipino crafts and delicacies. Raon Center is famous for its cheap electronic products. The flea market of Quiapo is still vibrant and popular among the average Filipinos.


Historical Perspective

The establishment of the country's manufacturing base centered around Manila during the Spanish colonial times. After the arrival of the Americans at the turn of the twentieth century, Manila's manufacturing base expanded and diversified into different areas.

The district of Tondo, due to its proximity to the Manila North and South Harbor, became a center for several manufacturing facilities; and the district of Pandacan and portions of Paco nearest to the banks of the Pasig River served as centers for manufacturing in the city.

During the Spanish period, Manila was known the high-quality tobacco produced by the Manila Tabacalera Company, which had its manufacturing and production base along Tayuman street in Tondo. Philippine food and beverage giant San Miguel Corporation first started brewing its beer in the San Miguel district. The old brewery building of San Miguel is now within the high security the enclave of Malacañan Palace grounds. Near the old San Miguel brewery was the Manila Ice Plant, and portions of its old building now house the Department of Budget and Management. Tanduay Distilleries, a manufacturer of rum, still operates its facilities in the San Miguel district, while its rival La Tondeña, which had its production facilities in nearby Quiapo district, has scaled down its operations.

Tondo was the base for food manufacturing, and by the 1920s several American companies had established plants in the area. The Philippine Manufacturing Company, or PMC, established production of various products derived from coconut oil, ranging from cooling oil to soaps and toiletries. The Philippine Manufacturing Company later became Procter and Gamble Philippines and shifted production from within the crowded Tondo area to areas outside of Metro Manila in the late 1980s.

PMC's rival company, the Philippine Refining Company, or PRC, established its based of operations five kilometers upstream of the Pasig River in Paco district. PRC was also engaged in the manufacture of product derivatives from coconut oil. In the 1990s, Philippine Refining Company changed its corporate name as part of the global strategy of company brand recognition and is now called Unilever Philippines.

In the 1930s, the Ford Motor Company established its first assembly plant in the United Nations Avenue area near the corner of Romualdez Street. The plant facility remains standing and now houses the government office which issues seamen's passbooks.

In the 1930s, American-owned oil companies like Esso, Mobil Oil and Filipino Oil (FilOil) established their oil distribution facilities along the banks of the Pasig River in Pandacan district, at a time when the area was largely a farm village. After almost a century of operations, the fuel distribution and manufacturing facilities are gradually being removed due to the potential security and safety threat to the dense population in the area.

Coca Cola still operates a bottling plant in Pandacan, but its plant operations are more focused on product distribution into the Metro Manila franchise area.



Terminal 1 of NAIA

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), outside the city proper, serves Manila and the metro area. Over 40 airlines provide daily service to over 26 cities and 19 countries worldwide. Approximately 17 million travelers use NAIA a year, straining what was originally a domestic airport built in the 1930s. A second terminal, Terminal 2 (or the Centennial Terminal) opened in October 1999. The International flag-carrier Philippine Airlines now uses this terminal exclusively for both its domestic and international service while all other international flights use the original NAIA terminal. Air Philippines is in the transition to the newer Terminal 2 alongside PAL. A third terminal was nearly completed when a controversy was discovered by the current Arroyo administration that prompted a series of investigations and an international court battle with the builders and the Philippine government.

The main carrier serving NAIA is Philippine Airlines, which has the most extensive network in the Philippines. Newly repackaged Cebu Pacific Air, which uses all A320 aircraft and promotes online booking, positions itself as the first true discount airline in the country. Air Philippines, a subsidiary of Philippine Airlines, competes with Cebu Pacific in the budget market and the inter-provinces routes. Asian Spirit and South East Asian Airlines, which use smaller 48-seat planes, are some of the smaller airlines serving the city of Manila.

Another alternative point of embarkation and disembarkation is Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in the Clark Special Economic Zone. As of October 2006, scheduled flights from Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul, Kota Kinabalu, and Kuala Lumpur, and chartered flights from Shanghai and Taipei use this small airport because of its cheaper landing and parking fees.


A major road in Manila.

The main roads of Metro Manila are organized around a set of radial and circumferential roads that radiate and circle in and around Manila proper. Roxas Boulevard, easily the most well-known of Manila's streets, circles the southern shores of Manila along Manila Bay. The boulevard is part of the Radial Road 1 that leads south to the province of Cavite. Another well-known radial road is España Boulevard (part of Radial Road 7) that starts in Quiapo and ends at the Welcome Rotunda along the border with Quezon City. Pres. Sergio Osmeña Sr. Highway, part of the South Luzon Expressway or Radial Road 3 is the most important highway linking Manila with the provinces of southern Luzon.

The most common types of public transportation are buses and the jeepney. Tricycles and Pedicabs are used for short distances. In some areas, especially in Divisoria, two stroke motors are fitted in the pedicabs and are used for goods transport.

Roxas Bridge (formerly Del Pan Bridge)

There are eight major bridge spans in Manila, more than half of the total number of bridges connecting the north and south banks of the Pasig River in Metro Manila. Two rail bridges cross the river, the Light Rail Transit 1 and the Philippine National Railways track.

Rail Transport

Manila LRT 2 Station.

Manila is the hub of a railway system on Luzon. The main terminal of the Philippine National Railways is in the Tondo district. Railways extend from this terminal north to the city of San Fernando in Pampanga and south to Legazpi City in Albay, though only the southern railway is currently in operation.

Manila is also serviced by the Manila Light Rail Transit System (separate from Manila Metro Rail Transit System), a national priority project designed to address the overwhelming traffic that congests the national capital. Development of the system began with its inception in the 1970s under the Marcos administration, making it the first light rail transport in Southeast Asia. Recently, a massive multi-billion dollar expansion was carried out to accommodate the rising population of the city and create an alternative form of transportation to meet the demands of an increasingly mobile workforce. After three decades in service, the project has enjoyed great popularity with commuters, mainly because of its extremely low fares that are subsidized by the national government.

Seaports and Piers

The City of Manila is the chief seaport of the Philippines. North Harbor and South Harbor experience busy periods during long holidays such as Holy Week, All Saints Day and the Christmas holidays. The Port of Manila serves the city's commercial needs, it also one of South East Asia's more major ports.


Postal Service

The central office for the Philippine Postal Corporation is located at the foot of the Jones Bridge. The main office is housed in a large art deco style building constructed during the American colonial period, which also contains the Philippine Postal Bank and the central mail sorting-distribution operations for the country.

Print and Publication

Manila is home to major Philippine newspaper publishers with a number of offices and printing presses located at the Port Area. The news industry is one of the legacies of the American colonization of the Philippines, which paved the way for freedom of the press. Some of the major publications based in Manila include the country's oldest newspapers, the Manila Times, the Manila Bulletin, the Philippine Star, the Manila Standard Today, The Daily Tribune and others.

The city serves as host to a number of news and information offices, agencies and services including the Office of the Press Secretary and Radio-TV Malacañang or RTVM (the close-in news team of Philippine Presidents) located at the Malacañang Palace grounds. The National Press Club houses the International Press Center or IPC, a government agency which accredits and grants working permits for visiting foreign news agencies. Manila is also home to Samahang Plaridel, a prestigious and exclusive organization of journalists whose members include prominent publishers, editors, and reporters of the Philippines. The Associated Press, Japan's NHK and Fuji TV, and London-based Global Radio News, Ltd. use Manila as their base for news gathering operations in the Philippines.


Manila City Hall

Like all cities of the Philippines, Manila is governed by a mayor who heads the executive department of the city. The current mayor for the 2007-2010 term is Alfredo Lim, who is making a comeback to the city hall following a three-year term as a Senator. The city mayor is restricted to three consecutive terms (nine years), although he can be elected again after an interruption of one term.

Isko Moreno, the city's incumbent vice-mayor, heads the legislative arm which is composed of the elected city councilors, six from each of the city's six congressional districts.

The city is divided into 897 barangays, which are the smallest unit of local government in the Philippines. Each barangay has its own chairperson and councilors. For administrative convenience, all the barangays in Manila are grouped into 100 zones and which are further grouped into 16 administrative districts. These zones and districts have no form of local government.

The city has six representatives popularly elected to the House of Representatives, the lower legislative branch of the Philippines, representing each of the six Congressional districts of Manila.

Places of interest

General landmarks

Chancery of the Manila American Embassy
  • Apolinario Mabini Shrine
  • Chinatown (Binondo district)
  • Embassy of the United States of America
  • Ermita and Malate Districts, a place for Bohemian night life
  • Fort Santiago
  • Intramuros, the walled city built by the Spaniards, originally considered to be the City of Manila
  • Liwasang Bonifacio
  • Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines
  • Manila Baywalk
  • Manila Boardwalk
  • Manila City Hall
  • Manila Yacht Club
  • Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden (Manila Zoo)
  • Metropolitan Theater
  • Museo Pambata
  • National Library of the Philippines
  • National Museum
  • Paco Park, the location of the hit Paco Park Presents
  • Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz
  • Plaza Miranda
  • Quirino Grandstand
  • Rajah Sulayman Park
  • Remedios Circle
  • Rizal Park, also known as Luneta
  • The Manila Hotel
  • The Supreme Court of the Philippines
  • University Belt Area
  • Victims of Martial Law Memorial Wall - Bonifacio Shrine (near City Hall)


The historic lobby of the Manila Hotel, one of the first of its kind in Southeast Asia built in 1901.

Manila offers a wide range of accommodations ranging from top-rated de-luxe hotels to more affordable universal lodges. Most of these accommodations are located within Roxas Boulevard overlooking Manila Bay, or in the districts of Ermita and Malate. Manila's hotel accommodations are twenty to thirty minutes away from the international and domestic airport.

Sporting venues

  • Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC)
  • San Andres Gym (formerly Mail and More Arena, the home of the Manila Metrostars.)


  • Bahay Tsinoy
  • Intramuros Light and Sound Museum
  • Museo ng Maynila (Museum of Manila)
  • National Museum of the Filipino People
  • Museo Pambata (Children's Museum)
  • Parish of the Our Lady of the Abandoned - Sta. Ana (pre-Spanish artifacts)
  • The Museum - De La Salle University-Manila
  • UST Museum of Arts and Sciences

Manila and Security

Manila has been subject to several attacks by militant terrorists. The metropolis has been targeted twice by the groups Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Abu Sayyaf. In addition, Al-Qaeda cells have been discovered in the metropolis. An apartment fire on the night of January 6, 1995 and the morning of January 7, led investigators to a laptop computer containing the plans for Project Bojinka, a large-scale terrorist attack being planned by Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed with the financial support of Al-Qaeda.

Sister cities

Manila has five sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):

Other sister cities include:


  1. America has come a long way since Pearl Harbor. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  2. 'PEARL OF ORIENT' STRIPPED OF FOOD; Manila, Before Pearl Harbor, Had Been Prosperous—Its Harbor One of Best Focus for Two Attacks Osmena Succeeded Quezon. New York Times (1945-02-05). Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  3. 2010 Census of Population and Housing: National Capital Region. National Statistics Office of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  4. World Urban Areas & Population Projections. Demographia (March 10, 2010). Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  5. A Roster of World Cities, Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network. Retrieved November 23, 2007.
  6. S. Fish. When Britain Ruled the Philippines 1762-1764. (Milton Keynes, UK: Lightning Source, Inc., 2003)
  7. Spanish Colony 1565 - 1898. Philippines, The, Philippine History, DLSU-Manila. Retrieved November 23, 2007.
  8. Max Boot. The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. (New York: Basic Books, 2002. ISBN 0465007201), 125, As many as 200,000 civilians also died, victims of disease and famine and the cruelties of both sides.;
    Amitava Kumar. Poetics/Politics: Radical Aesthetics for the Classroom. (Palgrave, 1999. ISBN 0312218664) “In the fifteen years that followed the defeat of the Spanish in Manila Bay in 1898, more Filipinos were killed by U.S. forces than by the Spanish in 300 years of colonization. Over 1.5 million died out of a total population of 6 million.”
    Nell Irvin Painter. Standing at Armageddon: The United States, 1877–1919. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1989. ISBN 0393305880), 154, Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos died in battle, of disease, or of other war-related causes.
    Ronald H. Bayor. The Columbia Documentary History of Race and Ethnicity in America. (Columbia University Press, 2004. ISBN 0231119941), 335, Some seven thousand Americans and twenty thousand Filipinos were killed or wounded in the war, and hundreds of thousands of Filipinos – some estimates are as high as 1 million – died of war-related disease or famine.
    Emil Guillermo, "A first taste of empire." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel February 8, 2004, 03J. The Philippines: 20,000 military dead; 200,000 civilian dead. Some historians, however, put the toll higher – closer to 1 million Filipinos because of the disease and starvation that ensued.
    "Kipling, the 'White Man's Burden,' and U.S. Imperialism." Monthly Review 55 (November 1, 2003): 1 Although a quarter of the million is the “consensual” figure of historians, estimates of Filipino deaths from the war have ranged as high as one million, which would have meant depopulation of the islands by around one-sixth.
  9. Matthew White, "Death Tolls for the Man-made Megadeaths of the 20th Century." [1] accessdate 2007-08-01
  10. THE 45 SISTER-CITIES OF TAIPEI. Retrieved November 23, 2007.
  11. Sister Cities Board, The City of Santa Barbara. Retrieved November 23, 2007.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Bayor, Ronald H. The Columbia Documentary History of Race and Ethnicity in America. Columbia University Press, 2004. ISBN 0231119941
  • Boot, Max. The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. New York: Basic Books, 2002. ISBN 0465007201
  • Carey, John. 1987. Eyewitness to history. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674287509
  • Conroy, Robert. 1968. The Battle of Manila Bay; the Spanish-American War in the Philippines. New York: Macmillan.
  • Fish, S. When Britain Ruled the Philippines 1762-1764. Milton Keynes, UK: Lightning Source, Inc., 2003.
  • Karnow, Stanley. 1989. In our image America's empire in the Philippines. New York: Random House. ISBN 0394549759
  • National Historical Institute (Philippines). 2006. Daluyan a historical dictionary of the streets of Manila. Ermita, Manila, Philippines: National Historical Institute. ISBN 9715381960
  • Reel, A. Frank. 1949. The case of General Yamashita. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  • Shatkin, Gavin. 2007. Collective action and urban poverty alleviation community organizations and the struggle for shelter in Manila. Aldershot, England: Ashgate. ISBN 9780754647867
  • Torres, Jose Victor Z. 2005. Ciudad Murada a walk through historic Intramuros. Manila, Philippines: Jointly published by Intramuros Administration and Vibal Pub. House. ISBN 971072276X
  • Wilson, Andrew R. 2004. Ambition and identity Chinese merchant elites in colonial Manila, 1880-1916. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0824826507

External links

All links retrieved November 5, 2022.

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