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zh-cn:马尼拉 zh-tw:馬尼拉

To see all articles with the same name, see Manila (disambiguation).

Manila P (Maynila P in Filipino) is the capital city of the Philippines. The city stands on the eastern shore of Manila Bay on the island of Luzon. 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 often called the Pearl of the Orient.

City of Manila

Region: National Capital Region (NCR)
Founded: 1571
2000 census—1,581,082.
Density—41,014 per km².
Area: 38.55 km²
Barangays: 897
Congressional districts: 1st to 6th districts of Manila
Class: 1st class; urban

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 the hub of a thriving metropolitan area of more than 10 million people. This metropolis, called Metro Manila, but often simply called Manila by foreigners and non-residents, consists of 17 cities and municipalities. This articles discusses the city itself; see Metro Manila for the article on the metropolis.

Over the centuries, Manila grew from a small Muslim fishing village on the banks of the Pasig River into the seat of the colonial government of Spain when it controlled the Philippine Islands. Later on, the Americans controlled the Philippines and Manila became and internationally-known city in the Orient. During World War II, much of the city was destroyed, but was eventually rebuilt. In 1975, Manila and the surrounding towns and cities was incoporated into the independent entity of Metro Manila to better manage the affairs of the fast-growing region. Today, the city and the metropolis thrives as an important cultural and economic center. However, overpopulation, traffic congestion, pollution, and crime challenges 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.

Table of contents
1 The City
2 Interesting Spots
3 History
4 External Links

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. These districts correspond to the original 13 Spanish pueblos: Intramuros and the surrounding 12 towns. Two of these districts were later split in recent times to correspond to the city's six congressional districts. Only one district was not an original town. 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 used to be in Sampaloc. Port Area is the only district not previously a town.

All of these districts, with the exception of Port Area, have their own pamilihang bayan (public markets) and churches, and several of the them have achieved recognition in their own rights. The district of Binondo is the city's Chinatown. Tondo is the poorest, while the districts of Ermita and Malate are world-famous 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, Jones Bridge, McArthur Bridge, Ayala Bridge, Nagtahan Bridge (also known as Mabini Bridge), Pandacan Bridge, and Lambingan Bridge.

Map of Manila. See the (233 KB).

Parks and Open Areas

Directly south of Intramuros lies Rizal Park, the country's most significant park. Also known as Luneta and previously as Bagumbayan, Rizal Park sits on the site where José Rizal, the country's national hero, was executed by the Spanish on charges of subversion. Rizal Park is Kilometer Zero for road distances on the island of Luzon.

Aside from Rizal Park, Manila has very few other parks throughout the city. Paco Park, Adriatico Circle, Malate Park, Manila Zoo, 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.

Interesting Spots


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 Miguel López de Legaspi and led by Martin de Goiti departed from Cebu and arrived in Manila. The natives tentatively welcomed the foreigners but a later conflict pushed Goiti to conquer the settlements. Legaspi 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. The enclave of 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 Distinguished and Ever Loyal City. In 1595, Manila was proclaimed as the capital of the Philippine Islands.

The Philippine Revolution

American Period

The headquarters for USAFFE were located here as were the 31st Infantry Regiment and the 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 USAFFE Air Force was on the outskirts of town, at Nielson Field. Nearby, at Nichols Field was the 20th Air Base Group. A battalion of the 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

Manila was captured by Japanese forces on January 2, 1942 but on February 5, 1945 American General Douglas MacArthur fulfilled a promise to return to Manila and on February 23 the city was liberated.

Manila and Terrorism

Manila has become a hotbed for terrorism. Targets in the city have been targeted several times by groups Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Abu Sayyaf. In addition, Al-Qaida allegedly used Manila as a recruiting base.

Project Bojinka, which was a large-scale terrorist 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.

External Links

Metro Manila: Caloocan City | Las Piñas City | Makati City | Malabon City | Mandaluyong City | Manila | Marikina City | Muntinlupa City | Navotas | Parañaque City | Pasay City | Pasig City | Pateros | Quezon City | San Juan | Taguig | Valenzuela City