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This article is about Manila City. For the greater metropolitan area, see Metro Manilamarker. For the pre-Hispanic entity, see Kingdom of Maynila. For other meanings of the word, see Manila .

The City of Manila ( ), or simply Manila or Maynila, is the capital of the Philippinesmarker and one of the 17 cities and municipalities that make up Metro Manilamarker. It is located on the eastern shores of Manila Baymarker, on the western portion of the National Capital Regionmarker, in the western side of Luzonmarker. Manila is one of the central hubs of a thriving metropolitan area home to over 19 million people.. , Manila ranks as the world's eleventh largest metropolitan area and the fifth largest urban area by population. Manila is also ranked as one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The city itself had more than 100 parks scattered throughout the city.

Manila occupies a total land area of 38.55 square kilometres, is the second most populous city in the Philippinesmarker, with more than 1.6 million inhabitants. Only nearby Quezon Citymarker, the country's former capital, is more populous. The metropolitan area is the second most populous in Southeast Asia.

Manila lies about 950 km southeast of Hong Kongmarker, 2,400 km northeast of Singaporemarker and more than 2,100 km northeast of Kuala Lumpurmarker. The Pasig 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.

Manila is bordered by several cities in Metro Manilamarker such as Navotas Citymarker and Caloocan Citymarker to the north, Quezon Citymarker to the northeast, San Juanmarker and Mandaluyong Citymarker to the east, Makati Citymarker to the southeast, and Pasay Citymarker to the south.

Manila has been classified as a "Beta+" global city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network in 2008.


The city became known by the name given, "Manila", by its Tagalog inhabitants, as Maynila, first recorded as Maynilad. The name is based on the nila, a flowering mangrove plant that grew on the marshy shores of the bay, used to produce soap for regional trade; it is either from the phrase may nila, Tagalog for "there is nila," or it has a prefix ma- indicating the place where something is prevalent (nila itself is probably from Sanskrit nila 'indigo tree'). (The idea that the plant name is actually "nilad" is a myth.)


Prehistory and indigenous civilizations

Under the Malay aristocracy, the city was known Seludong/Selurung, which was the same name given for the general region of southwestern Luzonmarker at that time, suggesting that it was the capital of Ancient Tondo. It was also known as Gintu ("The Land/Island of Gold") or Suvarnadvipa by its neighbors. The said kingdom flourished during the latter half of the Ming Dynastymarker as a result of trade relations with China. Ancient Tondo has always been the traditional capital of the empire. Its rulers were equivalents to kings and not mere chieftains, and they were addressed as panginuan or panginoon ("lords"), anak banwa ("son of heaven") or lakandula ("lord of the palace"). Well into the 13th century, the city consisted of a fortified settlement and trading quarter at the bay of the Pasig River, on top of previous older towns.

During the reign of Bolkiah (1485-1521) the Sultanate of Bruneimarker decided to break the Kingdom of Tondo's monopoly in the China trade by attacking Tondo and establishing the city state of Selurong (now Manila) as a Burneian satellite. A new dynasty under the Salalila was also established to challenge the House of Lakandula in Tondo. Another kingdom, named Namayan, was established as a confederation of barangays that began to peak in 1175 and extended from Manila Bay to Laguna de Bay. The royal capital of the kingdom was built in Sapa, known today as Sta.marker Anamarker.

In the mid-16th century, the areas of present-day Manila were part of larger thalassocracies governed by Muslim Rajahs. Rajah Sulayman and Rajah Matanda ruled the Muslim communities south of the Pasig River, and Rajah Lakandula ruled the Kingdom of Tondo, the Hindu-Buddhist community north of the river. The two Muslim communities of Sulayman and Matanda were unified into the Kingdom of Maynila. Both city-states were officially Malay-speaking and held diplomatic ties with the Bolkiah dynasty of Bruneimarker, and the sultanates of Sulu, and Ternate.

Spanish period (1581-1898)

Governor-General Miguel López de Legazpi, searching for a suitable place to establish his capital after being compelled to move from Cebumarker to Panaymarker by Portuguese pirates, and hearing of the existence of a prosperous sultanate in Luzonmarker, sent an expedition under Marshal Martin de Goiti and Captain Juan de Salcedo to discover its location and potentials. De Goiti anchored at Cavitemarker, and tried to establish his authority peacefully by sending a message of friendship to Maynilad. Rajah Sulayman, then its ruler, was willing to accept the friendship that the Spaniards were offering, but did not want to submit to its sovereignty unto them and waged war against them. As a result, De Goiti and his army attacked Maynilad on June 1570. After a stout fight, he captured the city before returning to Panay.

In 1571, the unity of the Luzon Empire was already threatened by the uneasy alliance of the Rajah Matanda of Sapa, the Lakandula of Tondo, and Rajah Sulayman, the rajah muda or "crown prince" of Maynila and laxamana or "grand admiral" of the Macabebe Armada. Powerful states like Lubao, Betis and Macabebemarker became bold enough to challenge the traditional leadership of Tondo and Maynila. In about the same year, the Spaniards returned, this time led by López de Legazpi himself along with his entire force (consisting of 280 Spaniards and 600 native allies). Seeing them approach, the natives set the city on fire and fled to ancient Tondo and neighboring towns. The Spaniards occupied the ruins of Maynilad and established a settlement there. On June 3, 1571, López de Legazpi gave the title city to the colony of Manila. The title was certified on June 19, 1572. Under Spain, Manila became the colonial entrepot in the Far East. The Philippines was a Spanish colony administered under the Viceroyalty of New Spain and the Governor-General of the Philippines who ruled from Manila was sub-ordinate to the Viceroy in Mexico City. The Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade route between the Philippines and Mexicomarker flourished from 1571 until 1815. Manila became famous during the Manila-Acapulcomarker trade which brought the goods as far as Mexico all the way to South East Asia.

Because of the Spanish presence in the area, the Chinese people, who were living in the area and engaging in free trade relations with the natives, were subjected to commercial restrictions as well as laws requiring them to pay tribute to Spanish authorities. As a result, the Chinese revolted against the Spaniards in 1574, when a force of about 3,000 men and 62 Chinese warships under the command of Limahong attacked the city. The said attempt was fruitless, and the Chinese were defeated. In order to safeguard the city from similar uprisings later, the Spanish authorities confined the Chinese residents and merchants to a separate district called Parian de Alcaceria.

On June 19, 1591, after the commencement of the construction of a fortmarker there, López de Legazpi made overtures of friendship with Rajah Lakandula of Tondo, which was prudently accepted. However, Rajah Sulayman refused to submit to the Spaniards and gathered together a force composed of Tagalog warriors after failing to get the support of Lakandula and that of the chieftains of Hagonoy and Macabebemarker. On June 3, 1571, Sulayman led his troops and attacked the Spaniards in a decisive battle at the town of Bangkusay, but were defeated. With the destruction of Sulayman's army and the friendship with Rajah Lakandula, the Spaniards began to establish themselves throughout the city and its neighboring towns. Then came the rapid Christianization of the city. The first missionaries to arrive were the Augustinians, followed by the Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominican, Augustinians and other religious orders. The friars also began to establish schools and churches dedicated to the Christian faith, eventually spreading throughout Manila and beyond.

In 1595, Manila was decreed to be the capital of the Philippines, although it had already in fact served that function practically from its founding in 1571. Legazpi then ordered the creation of a municipal government or cabildo with a set of Spanish-style houses, monasteries, nunneries, churches, and schools giving birth to Intramurosmarker. The layout of the city was haphazardly planned during this era as a set of communities surrounding the fortified walls of Intramurosmarker (within the walls), which was the original Manila. Intramuros, one of the oldest walled cities in the Far East, was constructed and designed by Spanish Jesuit missionaries to keep from invading Chinese pirates and native uprisings.

At various times in the following century, the Chinese rose in revolt against the Spaniards. In 1602, they set fire to Quiapo and Tondo, and for a time threatened to capture Intramuros. In 1662, they again revolted, while in 1686, a conspiracy led by Tingco plotted to kill all the Spaniards. These events led to the expulsion of the Chinese from Manila and the entire country by virtue of the decrees that were made by the Spanish authorities to that effect. However, later reconciliations nearly always permitted the continuation of the Chinese community in the city.

British rule (1762-1764)

There was a brief British occupation of Manila from 1762-1764 as a result of the Seven Years' War, which was fought between Francemarker and Britainmarker. Spain became Britain's enemy when it sided with France due to ties between their royal families. The fleeing Spaniards destroyed many of the records, and in the ensuing sack of the town by the British, many historical documents of great value were destroyed or stolen from the archives.

In reality the British only controlled Manila and Cavite. But Manila was the capital, and key, to the Spanish Philippines, and the British accepted the written surrender of the Spanish government in the Philippines from Archbishop Rojo and the Real Audiencia on 30 October 1762. The city remained the capital of the Philippines under the government of the provisional British governor, acting through the Archbishop of Manila and the Real Audiencia.

The terms of surrender proposed by the Audencia Real and agreed to by the British leaders, secured private property, guaranteed the Roman Catholic religion and its episcopal government, and granted the citizens of the former Spanish colony the rights of peaceful travel and of trade 'as British subjects'. Under the direction of the provisional British governor, the Philippines continued to be governed by the Audencia Real, the expenses of which were agreed to be paid for by Spain.

The only armed resistance to the British was in Pampanga where Oidor Don Simón de Anda y Salazar established his headquarters first in Bulacan, then in Bacolor.,

The terms of surrender dated 29 October 1762 signed by Archbishop Rojo and the Real Audencia, and sealed with the Spanish Royal Seal, ceded the entire archipelago to Great Britain. The Seven Years War was ended by the Peace of Paris signed on 10 February 1763. At the time of signing the treaty, the signatories were not aware that the Philippines had been taken by the British and was being administered as a British colony. Consequently no specific provision was made for the Philippines. Instead they fell under the general provision that all other lands not otherwise provided for be returned to the Spanish Crown.

An unknown number of Indian soldiers known as Sepoys, who came with the British, deserted and settled in Cainta, Rizalmarker, which explains the uniquely Indian features of generations of Cainta residents.

Manila fishermen, early 1800s.
Original caption: Pêcheurs de Manille.
From Aventures d'un Gentilhomme Breton aux iles Philippines by Paul de la Gironiere, published in 1855.

Spanish rule in the 19th Century

Being the traditional seat of education and liberal thinking in the Philippines, Manila was a rich field for anticlerical propaganda. The seeds of revolution germinated in 1886 with the publication of José Rizal's book Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not), a novel critical of the way the Spanish friars were governing the Philippines. The Spanish government condemned the book, and Rizal was exiled to Dapitanmarker. In 1892, he returned to Manila to found La Liga Filipina, a nationalistic organization. Later that year, in Tondo, Andrés Bonifacio founded the Katipunan, a secret organization with aim of overthrowing Spanish colonial rule.

The Katipunan movement grew until open rebellion broke out in August 1896 after its discovery by the Spaniards. Bonifacio's attack on Manila was unsuccessful. Rizal became a martyr of the revolution when the Spaniards executed him by firing squad on December 30, 1896 in Bagumbayanmarker. After several months of fighting, a revolutionary government was formed at the Tejeros Convention in Cavite province with Emilio Aguinaldo at its head. Aguinaldo's government was also unsuccessful in its fight for independence, and as part of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato peace treaty, Aguinaldo accepted exile in Hong Kong.

American period (1898-1942)

U.S. Troops invaded Manila in 1898 and waged war with the Spaniards and Filipinos in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War. Following the defeat of Spain, U.S. forces took control of the city and the islands in one of the most brutal and forgotten chapters of Philippine American history.

The American Navy, under Admiral George Dewey, defeated the Spanish squadron in theBattle of Manila Baymarker on May 1, 1898. Admiral Dewey testified that after the battle the Spanish Governor wishedto surrender to the Americans rather than the Filipinos, whom he feared.

Having just won their independence from Spain, the Filipinos were fiercely opposed to once again being occupied. Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed the First Philippine Republic at the Malolos Congress and had begun to build the foundations for an independent nation.Admiral Dewey, however, claimed he never recognized the Philippine Republic, as he did not have the authority to do soand did not consider it an organized government. War broke out between the Filipinos and the Americans on February 4, 1899, when an American soldier shot and killed a Filipino in Manila. The Americans pursued the retreating Filipino forces province by province, until General Emilio Aguinaldo (then president of the Republic) surrendered in Palananmarker, Isabela, on March 23, 1901.

American high command at that time was headed by General Otis who ordered invasion and occupation. By that time the Filipino troops had taken classic defensive positions around Manila to attempt to keep them out. However, the poorly armed, ill-trained soldiers could not compete with the superior firepower of the Americans and they lost and were severely beaten; so much so that it has been reported that the dead were used as breastworks.

Under Aguinaldo's command the Filipinos began a guerrilla campaign to resist the new occupiers. This campaign had limited success in the early days following the initial occupation of the Americans although any successes were short-lived. The replacement of Otis by General Arthur MacArthur, Jr. began an extensive campaign to suppress the local population.

This campaign by the USA has been reported as being a particularly bloody suppression with wild reports of commanders ordering the murder of everyone over 10 years old. Several books have been written on this war and its implications for both the local peoples and the US.

In the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain handed over the Philippines to the United States of America for US$ 20,000,000 and ending 333 years of Spanish rule in the islands.

Manila continued under an American military government until civil government was established for the city on July 31, 1901. During the American Period, some semblance of city planning using the architectural designs and master plans by Daniel Burnham was done on the portions of the city south of the Pasig River.The Philippine-American War continued through 1903 at the cost of many lives both in Manila and elsewhere in the Islands. In 1935, the United Statesmarker government committed itself to granting the Philippines Independence after a ten-year transition, a period that was extended by one year due to World War II.

World War II and Japanese occupation

American combat units were ordered to withdraw from the city and all military installations removed on December 26, 1941. Manila was declared an open city by President Manuel L. Quezon, to spare the city from death and destruction but the Japanese forces bombarded Manila using war planes and for the first time, Manileños experience the first air raid. Quezon issued a decree enlarging the safe zone to include outlying areas of Manila as safe zones, establishing the new administrative jurisdiction, 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 Parañaquemarker would enter Greater Manila the following day. From 9 am to 10 am of January 2, Japanese imperialmarker forces marched into the City of Manila.

Manila after the fall of Corregidor, May 9, 1943.

Vargas was tasked to hand over to the new authorities Greater Manila and present the remaining Filipino leaders to Japanese authorities. Vargas and the Filipino leaders present were asked to choose three options; (1) a purely Japanese military administration, (2) a dictatorial government run by a Filipino under General Artemio Ricarte who went on self-exile to Japan after the Filipino-American war, or (3) a government by commission selected by Filipinos. Vargas and the local leaders chose the third option and established the Philippine Executive Commission to manage initially Greater Manila, and was later 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.

On October 20, 1944, American and Philippine troops, led by American General Douglas MacArthur , began the reconquest of the Philippines. Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita ordered the commander of Shimbu Group, Gen. Shizuo Yokoyama, to destroy all bridges and other vital installations and evacuate the city. However, units of the Imperial Japanese Navy, led by Sanji Iwabuchi, refused to leave the city. Thus, from February 3 to March 3 1945, much of the city was destroyed during the Battle of Manila and 100 000 civilians were killed during the Manila Massacre. As a result of these events in World War II, Manila was the second most destroyed city in the world after Warsawmarker, Poland during World War II. Once Manila was officially liberated, Greater Manila was dissolved, and its towns returned to their pre-war status. On July 4, 1946, the Philippine flag was raised for the first time in Rizal Parkmarker.

Contemporary period (1946-present)

Lacson Administration and the Golden Age

Arsenio H. Lacson was the first publicly elected mayor of Manila in 1951. Lacson successfully unseated the incumbent presidentially-appointed mayor Manuel de la Fuente in the first ever mayoralty election in the city. He assumed the office of mayor on January 1, 1952. He was consecutively re-elected in 1955 and 1959. Lacson forged a reputation as a tough-minded reformist mayor, and in the 1950s, he and Zamboanga Citymarker mayor Cesar Climaco were touted as exemplars of good local governance. His administration of the City of Manila is regarded as Manila's "Golden Age".

At the time Lacson assumed office, Manila had around 23.5 million pesos in debt, some of which had been contracted thirty years earlier, and had no money to pay its employees. Within three years, the debt had been reduced in half, [8] and by 1959, the city had a budget surplus of 4.3 million pesos and paid its employees twice the amount earned by other local government employees. By that time, Lacson claimed that the income earned by Manila for the Philippines supported 70% of the salaries of the national government officials and members of Congress, as well as 70% of the expenses of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. To date, no Filipino politician has replicated Lacson's success in local governance.

Lacson embarked on crusades to maintain peace and order and good government in Manila. He fired 600 city employees for incompetence, and dismissed corrupt policemen. He personally led raids on brothels masquerading as massage parlors and on unauthorized market vendors. Lacson ordered bulldozers to clear a squatter colony in Malate that had stood since shortly after the war. Lacson established a mobile 60-car patrol unit that patrolled the city at all hours, and he himself would patrol the city at nights in a black police car. Lacson also established the Manila Zoo and the first city underpass, located in Quiapo, posthumously named after him.

Though the hard-drinking, gun-toting Lacson projected an image of machismo, the author and Manila resident Nick Joaquin observed:

"Lacson has sedulously cultivated the yahoo manner, the siga-siga style, but one suspects that the bristles on the surface do not go all the way down; for this guy with a pug’s battered nose comes from a good family and went to the right schools; this character who talks like a stevedore is a literate, even a literary, man; and this toughie who has often been accused of being too chummy with the underworld belonged to the most “idealistic” of the wartime underground groups: the Free Philippines."

Marcos era and martial law (1965-1986)

Between 1972 and 1981, Manila and the rest of the country was placed under Martial Law by President Ferdinand Marcos. During that period, the local economy continued disintegration amid charges of overwhelming corruption by Marcos and his associates.

During Ferdinand Marcos' rule, he declared Martial Law just before the election of 1972 and suspended the writ of habeas corpus. From 1972 to the February 1986 EDSA Revolution, Marcos and his generals have caused the imprisonment and disappearance of tens of thousands of social activists who opposed his extended martial rule and clamored for change through free elections. After he was deposed in February 1986, the 1081 Claimants or victims of Martial Law won a record decision against the Marcos estate when a US Court in Hawaii ruled in their favor granting them more than US$500 million dollars in compensatory damages.

In 1963, Mayor Antonio Villegas worked hard for the creation of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, which was to become first university in the country fully-subsidized by a local government unit. It took about two years for the bill seeking for its establishment to be passed by Philippine Congress, and eventually signed by the then-President Diosdado Macapagal.

On August 21, 1983, opposition leader Benigno Aquino flew to Manila from the United States and was assassinated as he left the airplane in Manila. Increasingly, the population opposed Marcos' rule.

Fifth Republic (1986–present)

View of the Manila skyline by night from the Harbour Square.
After the People Power Revolution, Aquino's widow, Corazon, was installed as president in 1986. During the Aquino presidency, Manila witnessed six unsuccessful coup attempts, the most serious occurring in December 1989.

In 1992, Alfredo Lim was elected Mayor of Manila, beating six opponents. He won re-election in 1995 with a margin of 250,000 votes, the highest majority of vote in the city’s political history. During his first two-terms in office, he earned the nickname "Dirty Harry" for his anti-crime crusades. He founded the City College of Manilamarker that would serve to complement Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

In 1998, Lito Atienza was elected Mayor, and he completed two more consecutive terms by being re-elected in 2001 and in 2004. His administration focused on social welfare and development as well as urban renewal and city beautification projects. Upon the end of Atienza's third term, Alfredo Lim was elected once again in 2007. Lim immediately ordered the reversal of all Atienza projects and rerouted major roadways so as to erase so-called traces of "progress" in his absence. Lim's actions mark a city government wastage in the hundreds of millions of pesos spent in the last 9 years.

Geographical History

Before and during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, Manila was the provincial capital over a province whose territory at one time covered nearly all of Luzon, and included the modern territorial subdivisions of Pampangamarker, Bulacanmarker, Rizalmarker, Lagunamarker, Batangasmarker, Quezonmarker, Mindoromarker, Masbate and Marinduquemarker. Later, these subdivisions were themselves made provinces, leaving Manila province with a territory roughly equal to the present City of Manila proper (except Intramuros, the capital site), and the northwestern two-thirds of Rizal province. The boundary of Manila province went from northeast to southwest, including Antipolomarker, Caintamarker, Taytay and Taguigmarker, and all of the towns north and west of them, in Manila province; and Angonomarker, Teresamarker, Morong, and the towns south and east of them, in Laguna province. Early in the province's history, the provincial name was changed from Manila to Tondo Province, by which it was known for most of the Spanish era.

In about 1853, four pueblos or towns of Tondo Province were joined with the northeastern towns of Laguna province to form the politico-military Distrito de los Montes de San Mateo, or District of the San Mateo Mountains. The Tondo Province annexed to this new district the towns of Caintamarker, Taytay, Antipolomarker and Boso-boso, while Laguna contributed the towns of Angonomarker, Binangonanmarker, Cardonamarker, Morong, Baras, Tanay, Pilillamarker and Jalajalamarker. But the name of the new district proved unwieldy, too long, and misled many into thinking the town of San Mateo (in Tondo province) was the capital of the San Mateo Mountain District, when in reality the district capital was in Morong. So, in 1859, following common practice of the day, the district was renamed after its capital; namely, Morong District. At about the same time, Tondo Province was renamed Manila Province.

When the Spaniards turned over the Philippines to the hands of the Americans, a civil government was formed. In about the same period, the Manila Province was dissolved by the Philippine Commission, and its pueblos were incorporated with those of the District of Morong, forming the new Province of Rizalmarker. A few weeks, a new charter for the City of Manila, defining its boundaries and annexing some of towns of the Province of Rizal to its districts. These boundaries were slightly revised and redefined on January 29, 1902 when the suburb of Gagalangin was annexed to the city district of Tondo, and the former pueblo of Santa Anamarker was turned into a city district of Manila. On July 30 of the same year, the city board officially divided the city into 13 political subdivisions named as districts, and the boundaries of each were defined. On August 15 of the same year, the pueblo of Pandacanmarker was annexed as a city district. Since then the boundaries and city districts of Manila have remained essentially the same.

The destruction brought about by the Japanese forces in Manila.

During World War II, the city of Manila was declared an open city and its administrative boundaries expanded to outlying cities and municipalities. It was called the Greater Manila and included districts such as Bagumbayan means New Town (South of Manila), Bagumpanahon means "New Era" (Sampaloc, Quiapo, San Miguel and Santa Cruz), Bagumbuhay means "New Life" (Tondo), Bagong Diwa means "New Order" (Binondo & San Nicholas), the then newly established Quezon Citymarker was collapsed and divided into two districts, while the municipalities of Caloocanmarker, Las Piñasmarker, Malabonmarker, Makatimarker, Mandaluyongmarker, Navotasmarker, Parañaquemarker, Pasaymarker, and San Juanmarker became districts of Manila.

In 1948, Quezon Citymarker was declared the national capital of the new Republic of the Philippines. But on May 29, 1976, President Ferdinant E. Marcos returned the national capital to Manila (in honor of its history) by virtue of the Presidential Decree No. 940, declaring that "the area prescribed as Metro Manila by Presidential Decree 824 was to be the seat of the national government.


Under the Köppen climate classification system, Manila features a tropical wet and dry climate that borders on a tropical monsoon climate. Together with the rest of the Philippinesmarker, Manila lies entirely within the tropics. Its proximity to the equator means that the temperature range is very small, rarely going lower than 20°C and going higher than 38°C. However, humidity levels are usually very high which makes it feel much warmer. It has a distinct, albeit relatively short dry season from January through April, and a relatively lengthy wet season from May through December.


The current mayor for the 2007-2010 term is Alfredo Lim, who is making a comeback following a three-year stint as a Senator. The city mayor is restricted to three consecutive terms, totaling 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 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 further has six representatives popularly elected to the House of Representatives, the lower legislative branch of the Philippines. Each representative represents one of the six Congressional districts of Manila. Current district representatives of the city are Benjamin Asilo (District 1), Jaime C. Lopez (District 2), Zenaida Angping (District 3), Trisha Bonoan - David (District 4), Amado Bagatsing (District 5), Bienvenido Abante (District 6).

City seal

The City Seal 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 Baymarker in the bottom portion. The colors of the seal mirror that of the Flag of the Philippines. The sea lion in the seal of Manila was adopted by Singapore into its merlion.

Geographical districts

Map of Manila

The city is divided into sixteen (16) geographical districts. Only one district was not an original town - Port Area. Eight (8) districts are located north of the Pasig River and eight (8) are in the south. San Andrés Bukid was previously part of Santa Ana, while Santa Mesa was once a part of Sampaloc. These districts should not be confused with the six congressional districts of Manila.

Geographical district Barangays Population

(2007 census)

Pop. density

(per km²)
Binondomarker 10 12,100 66.11 18,304.1
Ermitamarker 13 6,205 158.91 3,904.8
Intramurosmarker 5 5,015 67.26 7,455.7
Malatemarker 57 78,132 259.58 30,099.8
Pacomarker 43 69,300 278.69 24,866.7
Pandacanmarker 38 76,134 166.00 45,862.9
Port Area 5 48,684 315.28 15,441.4
Quiapomarker 16 23,138 84.69 27,322.0
Sampaloc 192 255,613 513.71 49,758.5
San Andrésmarker 65 116,585 168.02 69,386.2
San Miguelmarker 12 16,115 91.37 17,636.9
San Nicolas 15 43,225 163.85 26,380.5
Santa Anamarker 34 62,184 169.42 36,703.5
Santa Cruz 82 118,779 309.01 38,438.1
Santa Mesamarker 51 98,901 261.01 37,892.2
Tondomarker 259 630,604 865.13 72,891.6

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 being 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 with 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 hosts the official residence of the President of the country, Malacañan Palacemarker.

National government offices

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, they envisioned a well designed city outside the walls of Intramuros. In nearby "Bagumbayan" or what is now Rizal Park, was chosen to become the center of government and a design commission was given to Daniel Burnham to create a master plan for the city patterned after Washington D.C.marker The plan was abandoned and construction was halted due to World War II.

Eventually, under the Commonwealth Government of Manuel L. Quezon, a new government center was to be built on the hills northeast of Manila, or what is now Quezon Citymarker. Several government agencies have set-up base in Quezon City but several key government offices are in Manila such as, the Office of the President, the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Departments of Budget and Management, Finance, Health, Justice, Labor & Employment, and Tourism. Manila also hosts important national institutions such as the National Library, National Archives, National Museum and the Philippine General Hospital.


Manila's economy is diverse and multifaceted. With its excellent protected harbor, Manila serves as the nation's chief seaport. In addition, it is a major publishing center for the Philippines.

Diverse manufactures include chemicals, textiles, clothing, and electronic goods. Watches, iron and steel, leather goods, and shoes are also manufactured within the city. Food and beverages and tobacco products also employ many residents. Additionally, local entrepreneurs continue to process primary commodities for export, including rope, plywood, refined sugar, copra, and coconut oil.

Tourism is also a thriving industry. Being one of the major tourist destinations in the country, the city attracts over 1 million visitors from all over the world annually. Many of Manila's tourist sites are found in Binondomarker, Intramurosmarker and Malate. Manila also has a booming growth rate which projected to surpass that of Singapore by the year 2020.

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 Santa Ana Public Market and the Pritil Public Market. Cheap buys or goods being sold at rock-bottom prices are available in the flea markets of Divisoriamarker and Quiapo, where bargaining is a major shopping experience.

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, while the original SM Department store still operates in Carriedo in Santa Cruz. 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.


Population density

With a population of 1,660,714 and a land area of 38.55 km², Manila has one of the highest population densities of any major city in the world with 43,079 people/km². District 6 is listed as 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).

Manila's population density dwarfs that of Parismarker (20,164 inhabitants per km²), Buenos Airesmarker (2,179 people/km², with its most dense inner suburb Lanus' 10,444 density), Mexico Citymarker (11,700 people/km²), Istanbulmarker (1,878 people/km², with its most dense district Fatih's 48,173 density), Shanghai (16,364 people/km², with its most dense district of Nanshi's 56,785 density), and Tokyomarker (10,087 people/km²).

But when accounting for the entire urban area, Metro Manila drops to 85th place with 12,550 people/km² in a land area of 1,334 km², behind even Cebu Citymarker, which ranks 80th.


The vernacular language is Tagalog in the form of Filipino, while English is the language most widely used in education and business throughout the Metro Manila region. A number of older residents can still speak basic Spanish, which was a mandatory subject in the curriculum of Philippine universities and colleges, and many children of European, Arab, Indian, Latin American or other migrants or expatriates also speak their parents' languages at home, aside from English or Filipino for everyday use. Minnan Chinese (known as Lannang-oe) is spoken by the city's Chinese-Filipino community.


The cosmopolitan atmosphere and cultural diversity of Manila is reflected in the number of places of worship scattered around the city. The freedom of worship in the Philippines, which has existed since the creation of the republic, allowed the diverse population to build their sacred sites without the fear of persecution. People of different denominations are represented here with the presence of Christian churches, Buddhist temples, Jewish synagogues, and Islamic mosques.

Roman Catholicism

Almost 90% of the city's population are Roman Catholics. Manila is the seat of the Archdiocese of Manila, the oldest archdiocese in the country, and the Primate of the Philippines. The archdiocese's offices is located in the Manila Cathedralmarker (Basilica Minore de la Nuestra Señora de la Immaculada Concepcion) inside the Intramuros. The city celebrates it's foundation day every 24 June, hence it is under the patronage of John the Baptist.

Today, aside from the Manila Cathedralmarker (also known as the Basilica Minore de la Inmaculada Concetion), Manila is also home to 3 other basilicas, the Basilica of the Black Nazarene, Basilica of St. Lorenzo Riuz and the Basilica Minore de San Sebastian.

Being the seat of the Spanish colonial government in past centuries, it has been used as the base of numerous Roman Catholic missions to the Philippines. Among the religious orders that have gone to the Philippines include the Dominican, the Jesuits, the Franciscans, the Augustinian, the Augustinian Recollects, the Benedictines, the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, the Vincentian Fathers, the Congregatio of the Immaculati Cordis Mariae, and the De La Salle Christian Brothers.

Other notable churches in the city include San Agustin Church in Intramuros, the shrine of the canonically crowned image of Nuestra Señora de Consolación y Correa, a UNESCOmarker World Heritage Site, and a favorite wedding place of notable people and one of two fully air-conditioned churches in the city; the Binondo Church, also known as Basilica Minore de San Lorenzo Ruiz; Malate Church, the shrine of Nuestra Señora de Remedios; Ermita Church, home of the oldest Marian Image in the Philippines, Nuestra Señora de Guia; Tondo Church, home of the century-old ivory image of Sto. Niño (Child Jesus); and Sta. Ana Church, shrine of the canonically crowned image of Nuestra Senora de los Desamparados.

Protestant churches

Manila is home to some of the older and larger Protestant churches in the Philippines. While most of the older churches established by American missionaries are located within the Manila city limits, a greater number of the larger churches are in the suburbs and satellite cities.

After the Second World War, a great influx of foreign Protestant missionaries came to the islands among which are the Baptists, Nazarenes, Pentecostals, Christian and Missionary Alliance established churches and schools throughout the islands making Manila their headquarters of operations. The Baptist Bible Church in Santa Mesa, Manila is the first church founded under the auspices of the Baptist Bible Fellowship in 1947. Since its founding, the Springfield, Missourimarker-based Baptist Bible Missions have established 2000 churches in the Philippines.

Aside from the Evangelical Christians, Manila is also the home of most of the country's Mainline Protestants. Today, the Pro-Cathedral of the Saint Stephen, the centre of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines is located at 1267 G. Masangkay Street, Sta. Cruz. Also, the mainly Ilocano revolutionary church Iglesia Filipina Independiente has its headquarters at 1500 Taft Avenue, Ermita. Both of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines and the Iglesia Filipina Independiente belong to the Anglican Communion.

Iglesia Ni Cristo

The largest entirely indigenous Christian church in the Philippines, and the largest independent church in Asia. Iglesia has numerous chapels and churches across the city, notable for the narrow-pointed spires. The central chapel is located on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, Philippines.

Islam, Buddhism and other faiths

There are many Buddhist and Taoist temples built by the Chinese community in Manila. The Quiapo district is home to a sizable Muslim population in Manila, and The Golden Mosque is located there. In Ermita, there is a large Hindu temple for the Indian population, while a Sikh Temple is located alongside U.N. Avenue. There is also a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In Malate, along Quirino Avenue, there once was a synagogue for the small Jewish community in the Philippines; a new synagogue has since been erected in neighboring Makatimarker, along Tordesillas Street.


Manila is home to 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 Miguel, 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 the state universities University of the Philippines in Ermita; University of Santo Tomasmarker, the oldest higher institution of learning in the Far East founded in 1611, on Espana Boulevard; The Philippine Women's University, De La Salle Universitymarker and De La Salle-College of Saint Benildemarker along Taft Avenue; San Beda College in San Miguel, Adamson Universitymarker and St. Paul Universitymarker in Ermita; University of the East and San Sebastian College in Recto Avenue; Far Eastern University in Nicanor Reyes Street; and Centro Escolar University in Mendiola Street; College of the Holy Spirit, Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Intramuros, Mapúa Institute of Technology, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa; Philippine Normal University, Technological University of the Philippines, Philippine Christian University, Emilio Aguinaldo Collegemarker, Paco Catholic School in Paco, and the city-owned Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila at Intramuros.

The Division of City Schools-Manila, a branch of the Department of Education, refers to the city's three-tier public education system. It governs the 71 public elementary schools, 32 public high schools, and 2 public universities.

The city also plays host to Manila Science High School, the Philippines' pilot science high school; the National Museum, where the Spoliarium of Juan Luna is housed; the Metropolitan Museum, the premier museum of modern and contemporary visual arts; Museo Pambata (Children's Museum), a place of hands-on discovery and fun learning; and, the National Librarymarker, the repository of the country's printed and recorded cultural heritage and other literary and information resources.


Public transport

Manila, being a major city, affords various transportation options. Famous of all these forms of transportation is the public jeepney, which has been in use since the years immediately after World War II. Buses, air-conditioned metered taxi and Tamaraw FX mini-vans are also popular forms of transportation. Tricycles and Pedicabs are used for short distances. In some areas, especially in Divisoriamarker, two stroke motors are fitted in the pedicabs and are used for goods transport. Regardless of modernity, horse-drawn calesas are still used in the streets of Binondomarker and Intramurosmarker.

Aside from those means of transportation, the city is 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 railway system began with its inception in the 1970s under the Marcos administration, making it the first light rail transport in Southeast Asia. Recently, the system saw a massive multi-billion dollar expansion in correlation with the rising population of the city; its purpose: to create an alternative form of transportation to solve the demand of an increasingly mobile workforce. Two lines service the city residents, the Yellow Line that runs along the length of Taft Avenue (R-2) and Rizal Avenue (R-9), and the Purple Line that runs along Ramon Magsaysay Blvd (R-6) from Santa Cruz, through Quezon Citymarker, up to Santolan in Pasig Citymarker.

In addition, the city 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 Fernandomarker in Pampangamarker and south to Legazpi Citymarker in Albaymarker, though only the southern railway is currently in operation.

These are the major rail systems, with their stations within Manila:


Ninoy Aquino International Airportmarker (NAIA), eight km south of the city center, serves Manila, Metro Manila and nearby provinces. A second terminal, Terminal 2 (or the Centennial Terminal) opened in October 1999. The Philippines' official flag-carrier Philippine Airlines uses this terminal exclusively for both its domestic and international service, while all other international flights use the original NAIA terminal. A third terminal opened in August 2008. It currently houses the domestic flights of Air Philippines, PAL Express and Cebu Pacific's international and domestic flights. The main carrier serving NAIA is Philippine Airlines. KLM is the only European airline to serve the airport.


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, line the southern shores of Manila with Manila Bay. The boulevard is part of the Radial Road 1 that leads south to the province of Cavitemarker. Another well-known radial road is España Boulevard (part of Radial Road 7) that starts in Quiapo and ends at the Welcome Rotonda 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.


Puente de España (now Jones Bridge), connecting Binondo to Ermita, as featured in a postcard in 1903.
There are eight major bridge spans in Manila, more than half of the number of bridges that connects the north and south banks of the Pasig River in Metro Manila. There are two rail bridges that crosses the river, the Light Rail Transit 1 and the Philippine National Railways track. The bridges listed below are in a west to east order, with the first bridge Del Pan, nearest to the mouth of the Pasig River into Manila Baymarker.

Seaports and Piers

The Port of Manila, located in the vicinity of Manila Baymarker, is the chief seaport of the Philippines. It primarily serves the city's commercial needs. North Harbor and South Harbor experience busy periods during long holidays such as Holy Week, All Saints Day and the Christmas holidays.

Pasig River Ferry Service

The mouth of Pasig River is located here on this city. The Pasig River Ferry Service operates 17 stations along the Pasig River from Plaza Mexico in Intramurosmarker to Pasig Citymarker.

The number of stations here on this city is only 7 Stations. These are the following stations:

Medical facilities

Manila is home to the office of the World Health Organization in the Philippines, main office of the Department of Health, and several hospitals and medical centers. Major hospitals such as The Asian Hospital, in Muntinlupa Citymarker and St. Luke's Medical Center, in Quezon Citymarker house world-class facilities that are comparable to major hospitals found in the United Statesmarker. One of the many programs of the Department of Tourism is to promote Medical Tourism in the Philippines which hosts to a large number of wellness centers and spa facilities.The Manila Health Department, which responsible for the planning and implementation of the health programs of the city government, is operating the 44 health centers and lying-in facilities scattered throughout the city. Some of the notable hospitals in the city are the Manila Doctors' Hospital and the Philippine General Hospital in Taft Avenue; The Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute in East Avenue,Quezon City; Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center, Dr. José R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, and San Lazaro Hospital in Santa Cruz, University of Santo Tomas Hospital in Sampaloc; and the city-owned Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center in Malate.

Places of interest

Directly south of Intramuros lies Rizal Parkmarker, the country's most significant park. Also known as Luneta (Spanish term for "crescent-shaped") and previously as Bagumbayan ("New Town"), the 53 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. The big flagpole west of the Rizal Monument is the Kilometer Zero for road distances on the island of Luzonmarker 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 Philippinesmarker, 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, the Quirino Grandstandmarker and the Manila Ocean Park.

Aside from Rizal Park, Manila has very few other open public spaces. Rajah Sulayman Park, Manila Boardwalk, Liwasang Bonifacio, Plaza Miranda, Mehan Garden, Paco Parkmarker, 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 that served as a buffer zone between the oil depot and the residential-commercial properties in Pandacan and could be found along the banks of the Pasig River. In the northern most part of the city lies the three cemeteries of Loyola, Chinese, and Manila North Green Park, the largest public cemetery in Metropolitan Manila. A newly opened and functioned Manila Ocean Park features a wide variety of marine animals.

The city offers a wide range of accommodations ranging from top-rated deluxe hotels to more affordable universal lodges. Most of these accommodations, including the world-renowned Manila Hotelmarker, are located within Roxas Boulevardmarker overlooking Manila Bay, or in the districts of Ermita and Malate.

The popular districts of Malate and Ermita showcase a wide variety of hotels, restaurants, clubs, bars, cafes, art and antique shops. The nightlife offers everything from cultural shows to discothèques, casinos, entertainment lounges, and fashionable cafes. Right at the heart of the city lies the Intramuros, and it is the site of forts and dungeons, old churches, colonial houses, and horse-drawn carriages. other historical buildings and landmarks, parks and open spaces, museums, shopping centers, and sports facililities can be found all over the city.

General landmarks

The Philippine National Museum



  • Bahay Tsinoy
  • Intramuros Light and Sound Museum
  • Main National Museum, Padre Burgos Street
  • Museo ng Maynila (Museum of Manila), formerly the Pre-War Army-Navy Club Bldg., Rizal Park
  • Museo Pambata (Children's Museum), formerly the Pre-War Elk's Club Bldg., Rizal Park
  • National Museum of the Philippines, Rizal Park
  • Parish of the Our Lady of the Abandoned-Sta. Ana (pre-Spanish artifacts)
  • Plaza San Luis, Intramuros
  • San Agustin Church Museum, Intramuros
  • The Museum at De La Salle University-Manila, Taft Avenue, Malate
  • UST Museum of Arts and Sciences
  • DLS-CSB Museum of Contemporary Arts and Design (MCAD)

Sporting venues

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Manila has a number of sister cities worldwide:


Friendly location

Local City

See also



  1. Demographia World Urban Areas and Population Projections
  2. The Principal Agglomerations of the World
  3. World Gazetteer
  4. R.L. Forstall, R.P. Greene, and J.B. Pick, "Which are the largest? Why published populations for major world urban areas vary so greatly", City Futures Conference, (University of Illinois at Chicago, July 2004) – Table 5 (p.34)
  5. Manila City Population. Accessed February 02, 2009.
  6. "GaWC - The World According to GaWC 2008". Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Retrieved on 2009-03-01.
  7. E.M. Pospelov, Geograficheskie nazvanie mira (Moscow 1998).
  8. San Agustin, Gaspar de, Conquistas de las Islas Philipinas 1565-1615, Translated by Luis Antonio Mañeru, 1st bilingual ed [Spanish and English], published by Pedro Galende, OSA: Intramuros, Manila, 1998
  9. Scott, William Henry, Prehispanic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History, Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1984
  10. Pusat Sejarah Brunei. Accessed February 07, 2009.
  11. Henson, Mariano A. 1965. The Province of Pampanga and Its Towns: A.D. 1300-1965. 4th ed. revised. Angeles City: By the author.
  12. Filipiniana: Act of Taking Possession of Luzon by Martin de Goiti. Accessed September 06, 2008.
  13. The Philippines was an autonomous Captaincy-General under the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1521 until 1815 [1]
  14. The Manila Galleon Trade. The Metropolitan Museum of Manila. Accessed February 07, 2009.
  15. History of the Philippine Islands by Dr. Antonio de Morga. Accessed January 24, 2009.
  16. History of Manila. Accessed September 08, 2008.
  17. Battle of Manila Bay, 1 May 1898. Accessed September 08, 2008.
  18. Admiral Dewey Testifies. Accessed September 05, 2008.
  19. .
  20. The Plane Bombings
  21. Mayor Alfredo Lim's 100 Days. Malaya Online Newspaper. October 25, 2007.
  22. I won't help my son: Manila mayor. The Australian News. March 17, 2008.
  23. Manila Mayor City of Manila. Retrieved 20 June 2009
  24. . Manila Vice Mayor Info City of Manila. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  25. Manila Representatives City of Manila. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  26. MSN Encarta: Manila. Accessed September 06, 2008. Archived 2009-11-01.
  27. Manila City Government website. Accessed September 06, 2008.
  28. World's Densest Cities Forbes Retrieved 4 June 2009
  29. Wow Philippines: Manila-Cosmopolitan City of the Philippines. Accessed September 08, 2008.
  30. Free hospital, health aid in Manila assured. Accessed September 09, 2008.
  31. Sister Cities of Guangzhou GZFAO
  32. Mapa Mundi de las ciudades hermanadas (Spanish),
  33. Manila-Montreal Sister City Agreement Holds Potential for Better Cooperation : Philippines : Gov.Ph : News
  34. (archived from the original on 2005-12-28)


  • .
  • , (Vol. 1, no. 3).
  • .
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  • ISBN 0859894266, ISBN 9780859894265

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