- For other meanings of the word, see Manila (disambiguation).
Manila (Maynila in Filipino) is the capital city of the Philippines. The city stands on the eastern shore of Manila Bay on the island of Luzon. Despite pockets of grinding poverty, it is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and its metropolitan area is the country's economic, cultural, educational, and industrial center. Manila is often called the Pearl of the Orient.
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 article discusses the city itself; see Metro Manila for the article on the metropolis.
The city itself is the Philippines' second most populous city at more than 1.5 million inhabitants. Only Quezon City, a suburb and the country's former capital, is more populous.
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 an 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.
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 churches, and several of the these districts have achieved recognition in their own right. The district of Binondo is the city's Chinatown. Tondo is the poorest, while the districts of Ermita and Malate are well-known and popular with tourists, having many bars, restaurants, five-star hotels, and shopping malls.
The Pasig River is crossed by a number of bridges in Manila. Eastward they are Roxas Bridge (commonly referred to as the Del Pan Bridge), Jones Bridge, McArthur Bridge, Quezon Bridge, Ayala Bridge, Nagtahan Bridge (also known as Mabini Bridge), Pandacan Bridge, and Lambingan Bridge.
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 [[Jos� 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 open public spaces. Paco Park, Adriatico Circle, Malate Park, Manila Zoo, and the Malaca�ang 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.
Shopping Malls and Markets
Every district in the town with the exception of Port Area has its own public market, locally called the pamilihang bayan. The Sta. Ana public market is one of the more advanced markets in the city featuring a modern 2-storey building. In Binondo, an area called Divisoria is a haven for bargain-hunting shoppers. People go in here to buy items of many different kinds in very cheap prices.
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 besides the Manila City Hall. One of the more popular malls is Robinson's Place Ermita. In the southern part of the city in Malate is Harrison Plaza, one of the city's oldest shopping malls.
- Rizal Park or Luneta
- Fort Santiago
- Malaca�ang Palace
- Ermita and Malate Night Life
- National Museum
- National Library
- Cultural Center of the Philippines
- Folk Arts Theater
- University Belt
- Port Area
- Coconut Palace
- Bay Walk
- Malls and Shopping Centers
- Harrison Plaza
- Robinson's Place Manila
- SM City Manila
- Tutuban Center
- Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene)
- San Agustin Church
- Binondo Church (Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz)
- Malate Church (Our Lady of Remedies Church)
- San Sebastian Church (Minor Basilica of San Sebastian) - an all-steel church in the Gothic style
- San Lazaro Hippodrome
- Rizal Memorial Complex
- North Cemetery
- La Loma Cemetery
- Chinese Cemetery
Manila began as a Muslim settlement at the mouth of the Pasig River along the shores of Manila Bay. The name came from the term maynilad, literally "there is nilad." Nilad is a white-flowered mangrove plant that grew in abundance in the area.
In the mid-1500s, the areas in present-day Manila was governed by three rajahs, or Muslim community leaders. They were Rajah Sulayman and Rajah Matanda who ruled the communities south of the Pasig, and Rajah Lakandula who ruled the community north of the river. Manila was then the northernmost Muslim sultanate in the islands. It held ties with the sultanates of Brunei, Sulu, and Ternate in Cavite.
Arrival of the Spanish
In 1570, a Spanish expedition ordered by [[Miguel L�pez 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 Insigne y Siempre Leal Ciudad ("Distinguished and Ever Loyal City"). In 1595, Manila was proclaimed as the capital of the Philippine Islands.
The Philippine Revolution
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.
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 the Philippines (see Leyte. On February 23 Manila was liberated. Allied troops did not reach the city in time to prevent the Manila Massacre though.
Manila and Security
Manila has been subject to acts of terrorism. The metropolis have been targeted twice by groups Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Abu Sayyaf. In addition, Al-Qaida cells have been discovered in the metropolis.
Project Bojinka, which was a large-scale 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.