City of Manila
Lungsod ng Maynila
—  Capital City  —
City of Manila
Top: The skyline of the City of Manila
Center: Fort Santiago, Rizal Monument and the Quirino Grandstand, Manila City Hall, Roxas Boulevard, the Cultural Center of the Philippines
Bottom: Malacañang Palace, Manila Cathedral and Manila by night

Nickname(s): Pearl of the Orient[1][2]
Queen of the Orient
The City of Our Affections
City by the Bay
Distinguished and Ever Loyal City
Motto: Linisin at Ikarangal ang Maynila
Map of Metro Manila showing the location of the City of Manila
[[Image:|250px|City of Manila is located in ]]
Map of the Philippines showing the location of Manila
Coordinates: 14°35′N 120°58′E / 14.583°N 120.967°E / 14.583; 120.967
Country 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 S. Lim (Liberal)
 - Vice Mayor Francisco M. Domagoso (Nacionalista)
 - Representatives
 - City Council
 - Capital City  dunams (38.55 km2 / 
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 sq mi)
 - Metro
Population (2007)[3][4]
 - Capital City 1660714
 Urban 20795000
 - Urban density
 - Rural density
 Metro 11553427
 - Metro density
 -  Density
 -  Density
Demonym Manilans/Manileños
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 0900 to 1096
Area code(s) 2
Website /

Manila (; pronounced /maɪˈnilaʔ/ in Tagalog; pronounced English pronunciation: /məˈnɪlə/ () in English) is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities comprising the Metropolis of Manila. It has been opined that Manila was the original Global City because it was the apex of the first complete world trade, the Manila Galleons.[5]

Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, while Makati sits on the southeast, and Pasay to the south. It is listed as one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world with a population of 20 million people.[6][7] With a (2006) population of 1,660,714 Manila is the second most populous city in the Philippines behind Quezon City. However, the populace inhabit an area of only 38.55 square kilometers, making Manila not only the most densely populated city in the Philippines but also the most densely populated city in the world.[8]

The city is divided into six legislative districts and consists of sixteen geographical districts: Binondo, Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Paco, Pandacan, Port Area, Quiapo, Sampaloc, San Andres, San Miguel, San Nicolas, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz, Santa Mesa and Tondo. Within their precincts can be found areas of bustling commerce and some of the most historically and culturally significant iconic landmarks in the country as well as the seat of the executive and judicial branches of the government. It is home to many scientific and educational institutions, as well as numerous sport facilities. These make the city a major political, commercial, cosmopolitan, cultural, educational, religious, and transportation center of the Philippines.

The earliest written account of the city is the 10th Century Laguna Copperplate Inscription which describe an Indianized kingdom maintaining diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Medang and commercial exchanges with Ancient Japan and Song Dynasty China. The city was invaded by Brunei's Sultan Bolkiah and was already Islamized by the 15th century when the Spanish first arrived. Manila eventually became the center of Spanish activity in the Far East and one end of the Manila–Acapulco galleon trade route linking Latin America and Asia. This caused it to be called the "Pearl of the Orient". Several Chinese insurrections, local revolts, a British Occupation and a Sepoy mutiny also occurred thereafter. Later, it saw the rise of the Philippine Revolution which was followed by the arrival of the Americans who made contributions to the city's urban planning and development only to have most of those improvements lost in the devastation of World War II. Since then the city has been rebuilt.


Manila was first known as Ginto (land of gold) or Suvarnadvipa by its neighboring provinces, and was officially the Kingdom of Maynila. The Kingdom of Maynila flourished during the latter half of the Ming Dynasty as a result of trade relations with China. Ancient Tondo was maintained as the traditional capital of the empire. Its rulers were equivalent 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"). During the 13th century, the city consisted of a fortified settlement and trading quarter at the shores of the Pasig river, on top of previous older towns. There is also early evidence of Manila being invaded by the Indianized empire of Majapahit, due to the epic eulogy poem Nagarakretagama which inscribed its conquest by Maharaja Hayam Wuruk.[9] Saludong or Selurong which is a historical name for the city of Manila is listed in Canto 14 alongside Sulot, which is now Sulu, and Kalka.[9]

During the reign of Sultan Bolkiah in 1485 to 1521, the Sultanate of Brunei decided to break the Dynasty of Tondo's monopoly in the China trade by attacking it and establishing the state of Selurong (now Manila) as a Bruneian satellite-state.[10] A new dynasty under the Islamized Rajah Salalila. was also established to challenge the House of Lakandula in Tondo. Islam was further strengthened by the arrival to the Philippines of traders and proselytizers from Malaysia and Indonesia.[11] The multiple states competing over the territory and the people of the islands simplified Spanish colonization by allowing its conquistadors to effectively employ a strategy of divide and conquer for rapid conquest.

Manila was temporarily threatened by the invasion of Chinese pirate-warlord Limahong before it became the seat of the colonial government of Spain when the latter officially controlled the Philippine Islands for over three centuries, from 1565 to 1898. The city was occupied by Great Britain for two years from 1762 to 1764 as part of the Seven Years' War.[12] The city remained the capital of the Philippines under the government of the provisional British governor, acting through the Mexican-born Archbishop of Manila, Manuel Rojo del Rio y Vieyra and the captive Real Audiencia.[13] However, armed resistance to the British persisted, centered in Pampanga, and was lead by Oidor Don Simón de Anda y Salazar.[13]

Manila also became famous during the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade which lasted for three centuries and brought goods from as far as Mexico and Peru all the way to Southeast Asia. Silver that was mined in Mexico and Peru were exchanged for Chinese silk, Indian gems, and the spices of the East Indies.

In 1898, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States. Under the American control, the new government invited Daniel Burnham to plan a modern Manila.[14] The Burnham Plan was a project that attempted to create Manila as Paris on the Prairie, with a vision of a government center occupying all of Wallace Field, which extends from Luneta to the present Taft Avenue. The Philippines Capitol was to rise on the Taft Avenue end of the field, facing toward the sea, and would form, with the buildings of different government bureaus and departments, a mighty quadrangle, lagoon in the center and a monument to Rizal at its Luneta end. Of Burnham’s proposed government center, only three units were built: the Legislative Building and the building of the Finance and Agricultural departments, which were completed on the eve of the War. By then, President Manuel L. Quezon had doomed the Burnham Plan by creating a new capital outside Manila, which was named after him, Quezon City

Manila was the site of the most fierce battle in the Pacific theater during the war. During the battle, Manila became a city of bloodbath in Asia where 100,000 civilians were killed.[15] It was the second most devastated city in the world after Warsaw during the Second World War. Since then the city has been rebuilt.

With Arsenio Lacson becoming the first elected mayor (prior to this all mayors were appointed), Manila underwent The Golden Age,[16] Manila was revitalized and became once again the pearl of the orient, which Manila has earned before the outbreak of World War II. During the Marcos dictatorship, the region of the Manila metropolitan area was enacted as an independent entity in 1975 encompassing several cities and towns, being as a whole the seat of government of the Philippines.

On 1992, Alfredo Lim became the mayor, and was known for his anti-crime crusades. When Lim ran for the presidency during the 1998 presidential election, his vice mayor Lito Atienza was elected as city mayor. Atienza was known for renovating most of the city's plaza, and projects that would benefit the populace. He was the Mayor of Manila for 3 terms (9 years); barred for seeking a fourth consecutive term. Lim defeated Atienza's son Ali in the 2007 city election and immediately reversed all of Atienza's projects[17] claiming the projects made little contribution to the improvements of the city. On July 17, 2008, councilor Dennis Alcoreza, filed human rights complaints before the Commission on Human Rights, against Lim, and other Manila officials.[18] Twenty four Manila officials also resigned because of the maltreatment of Lim's police forces.

While the eastern part of Manila faced a catastrophe during the flooding of Tropical Storm Ketsana in 2009, the only major inconvenience in the city was the flooded Quezon Boulevard underpass which took two days to clean up and the district of Santa Mesa, the most flooded area within the city. During the 2010 city elections, Alfredo Lim won against secretary Lito Atienza. After a few months of taking office, Lim was harshly criticized on the bloody resolution of the Manila hostage crisis, one of the deadliest hostage crisis in the Philippines.


Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila bay, which rests on the western shores of Luzon. The city lies 800 miles (1,300 km) from mainland Asia.[19] 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 and on some land reclaimed from Manila Bay. The city's land has been altered substantially by human intervention, with considerable land reclamation along the waterfronts since the American colonial times. Some of the natural variations in topography have been evened out due to the urbanization of the city. The city occupies an area of 38.55 square kilometers and was divided into 897 barangays, 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 geographical districts. These zones and districts have no form of local government. These 16 geographical districts are further grouped into the six legislative districts of Manila.


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 Philippines, 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.

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