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This article is about the City of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. For the metro area, see Metro Manila. For other uses, see Manila (disambiguation).
Capital City
City of Manila

(From top, left to right): Skyline as seen from the Manila Bay, Manila Central Post Office, Manila City Hall, Rizal Monument, Binondo, Malacañang Palace, Manila Bay, Church of Tondo


Nickname(s): Pearl of the Orient
The City of Our Affections
Distinguished and Ever Loyal City

Map of Metro Manila showing the location of the city of Manila
Map of the Philippines showing the location of Manila
Coordinates: 14°35′N 120°58′E / 14.583°N 120.967°E / 14.583; 120.967Coordinates: 14°35′N 120°58′E / 14.583°N 120.967°E / 14.583; 120.967
Country Philippines
Region National Capital Region
District 1st to 6th districts of Manila
Kingdom of Maynila 1500s
Spanish City of Manila June 24, 1571
Barangays 897
 • Type Mayor–council
 • Mayor Joseph Estrada
 • Vice Mayor Isko Moreno
 • Representatives
 • City Council
 • City 38.55 km2 (14.88 sq mi)
 • Urban 1,474.82 km2 (569.43 sq mi)
 • Metro 638.55 km2 (246.55 sq mi)
Elevation 16.0 m (52.5 ft)
Population (2010)
 • City 1,652,171
 • Density 66,140/km2 (171,300/sq mi)
 • Urban 21,241,000 (March '13)
 • Urban density 15,400/km2 (40,000/sq mi)
 • Metro 11,855,975
 • Metro density 18,567/km2 (48,090/sq mi)
Demonym Manileño (m) / Manileña (f), Manilan
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 0900 to 1096
Area code 2

Manila (Philippine English: /məˈnɪlə/; Tagalog: Maynilà, [majˈnilaʔ]) is the capital and second largest city of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities which, along with the municipality of Pateros, make up Metro Manila, the National Capital Region, whose overall population is around 12 million.

The city of Manila is located on the eastern shore of Manila Bay and is bordered by the cities of Navotas and Caloocan to the north; Quezon City and San Juan to the northeast; Mandaluyong to the east; Makati to the southeast, and Pasay to the south. It has a total population of 1,652,171 according to the 2010 census and is the second most populous city in the Philippines, behind Quezon City. The populace inhabit an area of only 3,855 hectares (9,525.91 acres), making Manila the most densely populated city in the world.

Manila (and more broadly, Metro Manila) is the economic and political heart of the Philippines, home to extensive commerce and some of the most historically and culturally significant landmarks in the country, as well as the seat of the executive and judicial branches of the government. Manila is listed as a global city, containing many scientific and educational institutions, numerous sport facilities, and other culturally and historically significant venues. The city is divided into six legislative districts and consists of sixteen areas: Binondo, Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Paco, Pandacan, Port Area, Quiapo, Sampaloc, San Andrés, San Miguel, San Nicolas, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz, Santa Mesa and Tondo.

The earliest written account of the city is the 10th-century Laguna Copperplate Inscription which describes a Malay kingdom in what is now Manila maintaining diplomatic relations with the Indianized Kingdom of Medang in modern-day Java. The city had preferential trade with Ming Dynasty China, which registered the place as "東都" (Dongdu). It then became a province of the Maharajanate of Majapahit and was called by its Sanskrit title, "षेलुरोन्ग्" (Selurong) before it was invaded by Brunei's Sultan Bolkiah and renamed كوتا سلودونڠ (Kota Saludong) or simply Maynilà. By the 15th century, it was nominally Islamized until the Spanish Conquistadors arrived. They renamed the area Nuevo Reino de Castilla (New Kingdom of Castille) and shortened the alternative name, Maynilà to Manila.

Manila eventually became the center of Spanish activity in the Far East and one end of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade route linking Europe, Latin America and Asia. The city would eventually be given the moniker of the "Pearl of the Orient", as a result of its central location in the vital Pacific sea trade routes. Several Chinese insurrections, local revolts, a British Occupation and a Sepoy mutiny also occurred shortly thereafter. Manila also 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 and has rapidly grown.


Main article: History of Manila
A page from the 16th century Boxer Codex showing a Tagalog couple of the Maginoo caste.

The earliest evidence of human life in and around the area of Manila is found the via the nearby Angono Petroglyphs dated to around 3000 BC. Furthermore, negritos, a class of Australoid peoples, became the aboriginal inhabitants of the Philippines. They were found across Luzon before the Malayo-Polynesians migrated in and assimilated them.

The Kingdom of Maynila flourished during the latter half of the Ming Dynasty as a result of direct trade relations with China. Ancient Tondo was maintained as the traditional capital of the empire, with its rulers as sovereign kings and not mere chieftains, and were addressed variously as panginuan ln Meranau or panginoón in Tagalog ("lords"); anák banwa ("son of heaven"); or lakandula ("lord of the palace"), the Emperor of China considered the Lakans (rulers of ancient Manila) "王" (Kings). In 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. Manila was then invaded by the indianized empire of Majapahit as referenced in the epic eulogy poem Nagarakretagama which inscribed its conquest by Maharaja Hayam Wuruk. Selurong "षेलुरोन्ग्" which is a historical name for the city of Manila is listed in Canto 14 alongside Sulot, which is now Sulu, and Kalka.

During the reign of Sultan Bolkiah from 1485 to 1521, the Sultanate of Brunei invaded, wanting to take advantage of Tondo's China trade by attacking its environs and establishing "كوتا سلودوڠ Kota Saludong" (Now Manila). They ruled under and gave yearly tribute to the Sultanate of Brunei as its satellite state. They established a new dynasty under the local leader who accepted Islam and became Rajah Salalila or Tariq Sulayman I. He also established a trading challenge to the already rich House of Lakan Dula in Tondo. Islam was further strengthened by the arrival of Muslim traders from the Arab-Indian area and Southeast Asia. Manila was temporarily besieged by the invasion of Chinese pirate-warlord Limahong (1574) before it became the seat of the colonial government of Spain.

On June 24, 1571, Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi arrived from New Spain (now Mexico), and then exercised rule of the Spanish city of Manila as a territory of New Spain with the establishment of a city council in what today is the district of Intramuros. López de Legazpi had the local royalty executed, after the failure of the Tondo Conspiracy; a plot wherein an alliance between Japanese merchants, Luzon's Huangs with several Datus and Rajahs plus the Brunei Sultanate would band together to execute the Spaniards and their Amerindian mercenaries, African slaves and Visayan allies. At the conclusion of which, the victorious Spaniards made Manila the capital of the Spanish East Indies and of the Philippines, which the empire would control for the next three centuries, from 1565 to 1898. (Still, the Spanish also massacred about 26,000 Chinese residents of Manila in 1603.)

Manila then became famous during the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade which lasted for three centuries and brought goods from Europe, Africa and Latin America across the Pacific Islands to Southeast Asia (Which was already an entrepot for goods coming from India, Indonesia and China) and trade also flowed vice versa. Silver that was mined in Mexico and Peru were exchanged for Chinese silk, Indian gems, and the spices of the Southeast Asia, some of which even flowed to Europe. Likewise wines and olives grown from Europe and North Africa were transshipped via Mexico towards Manila.

The city was occupied by Great Britain for two years, from 1762 to 1764, as part of the European Seven Years' War between Spain and France and Great Britain. The city remained the capital of the Philippines under the government of the provisional British governor, Dawsonne Drake, acting through the Mexico-born Archbishop of Manila, Manuel Rojo del Río y Vieyra and the captive Audiencia Real. However, armed resistance to the British persisted, centered in Pampanga, and was led by Oidor Don Simón de Anda y Salazar. During the course of the occupation, the captive Hashemite Sultan of Sulu, Azim ud-Din I, was used as a hostage by both the British and Spanish. Also, the Chinese at Binondo rebelled against Spain and afterwards, the British's Sepoy mercenaries from India, mutinied against them. Eventually, the British withdrew as per agreements in the Treaty of Paris (1763). The Sepoys however, elected to stay and they settled in the area around Cainta, Rizal. As for the Chinese, thereafter, the fortress-city of Intramuros always pointed their cannons against Binondo to create a quick response against any more Chinese uprisings.

After the British occupation, direct trade and communications with Spain facilitated by the opening of the Suez Canal, supplanted indirect rule via the Viceroyalty. Eventually, Mexican Independence in 1821 necessitated direct rule from Spain. Under direct Spanish rule, banking, industry and education flourished more than in the past two centuries.

The growing wealth and education attracted Indian, Chinese, Latino, European, and local migrants from the Philippine provinces to Manila, all of whom elected a nascent Filipino nationality regardless of ethnicity. The developments also facilitated the rise of an illustrado class which espoused liberal ideas, the ideological foundations of the Philippine Revolution which sought independence from Spain.

The Burnham Plan of Manila. North is at the left.

After the Battle of Manila (1898), Spain ceded the surrendered city of Manila to the United States. The First Philippine Republic based at nearby Bulacan fought against the Americans for control of the city of Manila. The Americans defeated the First Philippine Republic and captured president Emilio Aguinaldo who announced allegiance to the United States on April 1, 1901.

Under American control, a new civilian oriented Insular Government headed by then Governor-General William Howard Taft invited city planner Daniel Burnham for the transformation of Manila, to adapt the old city to changed times and modern needs. The Burnham Plan included development of the road system, the use of waterways for transportation, and beautification of Manila with the improvement of waterfronts, construction of parks, parkways and various building for various activities. The latter included a government center occupying all of Wallace Field, which extends from Luneta to the present Taft Avenue. The Philippine Capitol was to rise at the Taft Avenue end of the field, facing toward the sea, and would form, with the buildings of different government bureaus and departments, a quadrangle, lagoon in the center, and a monument to José Rizal at its Luneta end. Of Burnham’s proposed government center, only three units — the Legislative Building and the building of the Finance and Agricultural departments — were completed when World War II erupted.

The destruction brought about by the Battle of Manila

Due to the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, American soldiers were ordered to withdraw from the city and all military installations were removed on December 24, 1941. General Douglas MacArthur declared Manila an open city to prevent further death and destruction; despite this, the Japanese warplanes continued to bomb the city. Manila was occupied by the Japanese forces on January 2, 1942.

Manila was also the site of the bloodiest battle in the Pacific theater during the Second World War. After falling to the Empire of Japan on January 2, 1942, it was recaptured by joint American and Filipino troops from February 3 to March 3, 1945. Some 100,000 civilians were killed in Manila in February 1945. It was the second most devastated city in the world after Warsaw during the Second World War. At the end of World War II, almost all of the structures in the city, particularly Intramuros, were destroyed but after the war, reconstruction took place.

In 1948, President Elpidio Quirino moved the seat of government of the Philippines to Quezon City, a new capital city in the suburbs and fields northeast of Manila, created in 1938 by former President Manuel L. Quezon, which was named after him. The move ended any implementation of the Burnham Plan's intent for the government centre to be at Luneta.

With the Visayan-born Arsenio Lacson as its first elected mayor in 1952 (all mayors were appointed prior to this), the city of Manila underwent The Golden Age, was revitalized, and once again became the "Pearl of the Orient", a moniker it earned before the Second World War. After Lacson's term in the 1950s, the city was led by Antonio Villegas during most of the 1960s, and Ramon Bagatsing (An Indian-Filipino) for nearly the entire decade of the 1970s until the 1986 People Power Revolution, making him the longest serving Mayor of Manila. Mayors Lacson, Villegas, and Bagatsing are often collectively considered as the "Big Three of Manila" less for their rather long tenures as the city's chief executive (continuously for over three decades, from 1952–1986), but more for their indelible contribution to the development and progress of the city and their lasting legacy in uplifting the quality of life and welfare of the people of the city of Manila.

During the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos, the region of the Greater Manila Area was created as an integrated unit with the enactment of Presidential Decree No. 824 on November 7, 1975. The area encompassed four cities and thirteen adjoining towns, as a separate regional unit of government. On the 405th anniversary of the city's foundation on June 24, 1976, Manila was reinstated by Marcos as the capital of the Philippines for its historical significance as the seat of government since the Spanish Period. Presidential Decree No. 940 states that Manila has always been to the Filipino people and in the eyes of the world, the premier city of the Philippines being the center of trade, commerce, education and culture.

In 1992, Alfredo Lim was elected mayor, the first Chinese-Filipino to hold the office. He was known for his anti-crime crusades. Lim was succeeded by Lito Atienza, who served as his vice-mayor. Atienza was known for his campaign (and city slogan) "Buhayin ang Maynila" (Revive Manila), which saw the establishment of several parks and the repair and rehabilitation of the city's deteriorating facilities. He was the city's mayor for 3 terms (9 years) before being termed out of office.

Alfredo Lim once again ran for mayor and defeated Atienza's son Ali in the 2007 city election and immediately reversed all of Atienza's projects claiming Atienza's projects made little contribution to the improvements of the city. The relationship of both parties turned bitter, with the two pitting again during the 2010 city elections in which Lim won against Atienza.

Among the numerous controversies surrounding Lim's administration were the filing of human rights complaints against him and other city officials by councilor Dennis Alcoreza on 2008, the resignation of 24 city officials because of the maltreatment of Lim's police forces, and his bloody resolution of the Manila hostage crisis, one of the deadliest hostage crisis in the Philippines. Lim was also accused of graft and corruption, believed to be the cause of the city's bankruptcy. These allegations were later followed by a complaint on 2012 by Vice Mayor Isko Moreno and 28 city councilors which cited that Lim's statement in a meeting were "life-threatening" to them. On the 2013 elections, former President Joseph Estrada defeated Lim in the mayoral race.

The bay skyline of the City of Manila as viewed from Harbour Square in the CCP Complex.


A satellite photo of Metro Manila. (2006)

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 kilometers) from mainland Asia. The Pasig River bisects the city. 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 kilometres (14.88 sq mi).

Manila is 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. These zones have no form of local government. Manila is composed of 16 former towns and municipalities which was absorbed by the city in the 19th century. These settlements are now known as places within the city. They are further grouped into the six legislative districts of Manila.


Under the Köppen climate classification system, Manila features a tropical savanna climate that borders on a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen climate classification Aw/Am). 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 below 20 °C (68 °F) or above 38 °C (100 °F) .

Humidity levels are usually very high all year round. Manila has a distinct dry season from late December through May, and a relatively lengthy and cooler wet season that covers the remaining period with mild to warm temperatures. In the rainy season it rarely rains all day but the rainfall is very heavy during short periods. Typhoons can occur from June to September and can cause flooding in parts of the city.

Climate data for Manila, Philippines
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 25.6
Average low °C (°F) 20.9
Precipitation mm (inches) 19
Avg. rainy days 1 1 1 1 7 14 16 19 17 13 9 5 104
Mean monthly sunshine hours 186 197.8 217 270 217 150 124 124 120 155 150 155 2,065.8
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization
Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory, BBC Weather (sunshine data)

Environmental issues

Largely due to industrial waste and heavy reliance on automobiles, Manila suffers from air pollution in the form of smog which affects 98% of the residents of the city and results in more than 4,000 deaths per year. Open dump sites and industrial waste contribute to increasing pollution within the city. Several rivers in Manila have been considered biologically dead. The Pasig River, where 150 tons of domestic waste and 75 tons of industrial waste were dumped daily according to a report in 2003, is now one of the most polluted rivers in the world.

Lack of adequate infrastructure is one of the causes of pollution in the city. The district of Ermita is the most air polluted district in the city.

Rehabilitation projects are now seen in several waterways around Manila. The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission is in charge of cleaning up the Pasig River for transportation, recreation and tourism purposes. Because of rehabilitation efforts, several waterways in Manila are now cleaned-up and already lined with trees, plants and flowers instead of slums, which are now relocated in other areas.



The first two recorded battles in Manila occurred in 1365 in which Maharaja Hayam Wuruk invaded the kingdom of Selurong, followed by the subjugation of the Kingdom of Tondo by Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei caused moderate damage to the city. It was followed by another battle in 1571, wherein the conquistador Martin de Goiti arrived from Mexico to drive out the Muslim elite, and the city was razed to the ground. It explains the absence of any pre-Hispanic architecture in Manila. The battle of Manila in 1574, between Chinese pirate-warlord Limahong and Don Galo only produced minimal damage to Manila.

After the battle and occupation of Manila by Britain in 1762, the city was pillaged for 40 hours. The next two consecutive battles for Manila; the battle in 1896 and the battle in 1898 did little damage to the city as whole. The battle of 1899, the first battle of the Philippine-American War, caused more than 200 Filipino casualties.

The battle of Manila in 1945 between the Japanese Empire and the Allied forces killed 100,000 of Manila's civilians. The whole city was devastated, erasing its cultural and historic identity, including the destruction of the walled city of Intramuros. Reconstruction of the city took place afterwards, with some of Manila's landmarks restored.

Natural disasters

Manila sits astride the Pacific typhoon belt and is criss-crossed by several fault lines. This led to Manila and its metropolitan region to be ranked as the second riskiest capital to live in by Swiss Re. The Marikina Valley Fault System poses a threat to the City and the metropolis because it is seismically active. Manila endured several deadly earthquakes, notably in 1645 and in 1677 which destroyed the stone and brick medieval city. To cope with this, the Colonial architects invented the style called Earthquake Baroque which churches and government buildings during the Spanish colonial period adopted. As a result, succeeding deadly earthquakes of the 18th and 19th centuries barely affected Manila, although it did periodically level the surrounding area. Modern buildings in and around Manila are designed and retrofitted to withstand earthquake in accordance to the country's building code and the international standard code.

Manila is also affected by as many as 6 or 7 typhoons every year, which causes constant flooding. In order to adapt, the city has resorted to dredging its rivers and improving its drainage network. Planting of trees in different parts of the city, most notably in La Mesa, Quezon City, is also a way Manila's citizens use to adapt for climate change. The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission spearheads the cleaning and restoration of creeks in and around Manila.


The bay skyline of Manila as seen from the Manila Bay
Population Census
Year Pop.   ±% p.a.  
1903 219,928 —    
1960 1,138,611 +2.93%
1970 1,330,788 +1.57%
1975 1,479,116 +2.14%
1980 1,630,485 +1.97%
1990 1,601,234 −0.18%
1995 1,654,761 +0.66%
2000 1,581,082 −0.91%
2007 1,660,714 +0.70%
2010 1,652,171 −0.17%

As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 1,652,171 making it the second most populous city in the Philippines.

Manila is the most densely populated city in the world with 43,079 inhabitants per km2. District 6 is listed as being the most dense with 68,266 inhabitants per km2, followed by the first two districts with 64,936 and 64,710, respectively, and district 5 being the least dense with 19,235.

Manila's population density dwarfs that of Kolkata (27,774 inhabitants per km2), Mumbai (22,937 inhabitants per km2), Paris (20,164 inhabitants per km2), Dhaka (19,447 inhabitants per km2), Shanghai (16,364 inhabitants per km2, with its most dense district, Nanshi, having a density of 56,785 inhabitants per km2), and Tokyo (10,087 inhabitants per km2).

The vernacular language is Filipino, based mostly on the Tagalog of surrounding areas, and this Manila form of speaking Tagalog has essentially become the lingua franca of the Philippines, having spread throughout the archipelago through mass media and entertainment. Meanwhile, English is the language most widely used in education, business, and heavily in everyday usage throughout the Metro Manila region and the Philippines itself. A number of older residents can still speak basic Spanish, which used to be a mandatory subject in the curriculum of Philippine universities and colleges, and many children of Japanese Filipino, Indian Filipino, and other migrants or expatriates also speak their parents' languages at home, aside from English and/or Filipino for everyday use. Minnan Chinese (known as Lannang-oe) is spoken by the city's Chinese-Filipino community.


A view of Roxas Boulevard, where the business hub of Manila is located.

Manila's economy is diverse and multifaceted. Manila is classified as an "Beta+ world city" according to the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC). Being the capital city of the Philippines, many residents here are employed by the national government. Some are employed in educational institutions along the University Belt.

With its protected harbor, Manila serves as the chief seaport of the country. International Container Terminal Services Inc. has its main headquarters and operations on its port in the southern part of Manila North Harbor. The company has been cited by the Asian Development Bank as one of the top five major maritime terminal operators in the world.Port of Manila is the largest seaport in the Philippines, and is the premier international shipping gateway to the country.

Diverse manufacturers produce industrial-related products such as chemicals, textiles, clothing, and electronic goods. Food and beverages and tobacco products also produced. Local entrepreneurs continue to process primary commodities for export, including rope, plywood, refined sugar, copra, and coconut oil. The food-processing industry is one of the most stable major manufacturing sector in the city.

Unilever Philippines has its main headquarters and operations along United Nations Avenue, Paco, Manila. Other multinational companies that is belong to the Forbes Global 2000 have also regional operations along UN Avenue in Paco, Manila like Coca-cola and Toyota.

Pandacan, Manila is another industrial district in Manila. It is home of the Pandacan Oil Depot, which houses the storage facilities and distribution terminals of three major players in the country's petroleum industry, namely Caltex Philippines, Pilipinas Shell and Petron Corporation. But the oil depot has been a subject of various concerns, including its environmental and health impact to the residents of Manila.Mobil Philippines has its main headquarters and operations in a separate depot in Pandacan.

Port of Manila, the chief port of the Philippines.

Manila is a major publishing center in the Philippines.Manila Bulletin, the Philippines' largest broadsheet newspaper by circulation, is headquartered inside Intramuros. Other major publishing companies in the country like The Manila Times, The Philippine Star and Manila Standard Today are headquartered inside the Port Area. The Chinese Commercial News, the Philippines' oldest existing Chinese-language newspaper, and the country's third-oldest existing newspaper overall., is headquartered in Binondo.

Binondo has begun to be revitalized along with Divisoria, several high-rise condominiums and offices are rising in the area. The plan to make the Chinatown area into a business process outsourcing (BPO) hub continues to progress and is being pursued by the city government of Manila. Thirty buildings are already identified to be converted into BPO offices. These buildings are mostly located along the Escolta Street of Binondo, which are all unoccupied and can be converted into offices.

Tourism in Manila attracts over 1 million tourists each year. Major destinations include the walled city of Intramuros, museums such as the National Museum of the Philippines, and other tourist destinations including Ermita, Malate, Santa Cruz, the City Chinatown and events such as the Feast of Black Nazarene, free performances in Rizal Park and events within the Cultural Center of the Philippines.Rizal Park is a major tourist attraction and one of the most recognizable icons of the Philippines. Ermita and Malate, aside from being known for its nightlife, are well-known shopping destination for the upper class while Divisoria was the shopping destination for local residents.

The Central Bank of the Philippines is mainly headquartered along Roxas Boulevard. Some universal banks in the Philippines are headquartered in the city like Landbank of the Philippines and Philippine Trust Company. Many insurance companies are headquartered in the city like Philam Life Insurance Company. The insurance company, which is currently the largest life insurance company in the Philippines in terms of assets, net worth, investment and paid-up capital, is headquartered along United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila. The whole City of Manila is the third most important financial center in the Philippines behind Downtown Makati and Ortigas Center.

The city's cash position in 2011 stated that Manila has ₱1.6 billion cash-at-hand while its gross operating expenses was ₱2.97 billion. The financial expenses of the city was P45 million, and has a liability of 3.3 billion. Manila has the highest budget allocation to health and was one of the cities with the highest tax revenue. Manila was also one of the cities with the highest internal revenue.

In 2012, the city was reported as bankrupt by the Commission on Audit (COA), citing: the city's cash position of ₱1.006 billion is insufficient to pay its deficit of ₱3.553 billion; unclaimed remittances from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth); and the bloating expenses for the operation of the city and its services. City officials disputed the claim and stated that the city is not bankrupt. In 2013, it is confirmed by current city officials including Mayor Joseph Estrada that the city is indeed in debt, with only 242 million pesos left in its funds.

Arts and culture

Residents in the city are mainly Christians, though the city welcomes all people of other faiths. Roman Catholics predominate, comprising 93.5% of the population, followed by Philippine Independent Church 2.4%, followed by Iglesia ni Cristo, comprising 1.9% of the population followed by Protestants (1.8%) and Buddhist (1.1%). Other religions comprises the remaining 1.4% of the city's population.

Manila is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, the oldest archdiocese in the country, and the Primate of the Philippines, whose offices were located at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Manila is home to three other basilicas, besides the Manila Cathedral, namely, the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz 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.

The interior of San Agustin Church in Intramuros, one of the most visited places in the city.

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 UNESCO 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.

Aside from the Evangelical Christians, Manila is also the home of most of the country's Mainline Protestants. The Pro-Cathedral of the Saint Stephen, the center of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines is also found in the city. The mainly Filipino revolutionary church Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church or Aglipayan Church) is headquartered in the city. Also, the main campus of the Cathedral of Praise is located within the city.

The city also hosts other faiths. There are many Buddhist and Taoist temples built by the Chinese community in Manila. Quiapo is home to a sizable Muslim population in Manila, where Masjid Al-Dahab is located. There is also a large Hindu temples for the Indian population, and Sikh Temples are also erected. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Philippines, the governing body of the Filipino Bahá'í community, is headquartered in Manila.

Nightlife in Manila centres around Ermita and Malate, along with Intramuros. Areas in Binondo, the city's Chinatown, also attract many people, while other notable areas in the city such as Quiapo and Divisoria are known for being one of the shopping center of bargain goods. Ermita and Malate, being a popular tourist destination, showcase a wide variety of hotels, restaurants, clubs, bars, cafes, art and antique shops. The nightlife offers everything from cultural exhibitions to discothèques, casinos, entertainment lounges, and fashionable cafes.

Annual cultural events

Manila celebrates civic and national holidays. Manila Day, which celebrates the city's founding, was first proclaimed by Herminio A. Astorga (then Vice Mayor of Manila) on 24 June 1962 and has been annually commemorated, under the patronage of John the Baptist. Each of the city's districts also have their own fiesta (festivals). The city is also the host to the Feast of the Black Nazarene, held every 9 January, which draws millions of Catholicdevotees.And the Feast of the Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados de Manila(Our Lady of the Abandoned)the Patroness of Sta. Ana District Also had its Fiesta Celebration every May 12.


As the cultural center of the Philippines, Manila houses a number of notable museums. Bahay Tsinoy, one of Manila's most prominent museums, documents the Chinese lives and contributions in the history of the Philippines. The Intramuros Light and Sound Museum chronicles the Filipinos desire for freedom during the revolution under Rizal's leadership and other revolutionary leaders. The Metropolitan Museum of Manila exhibits the Filipino arts and culture. The Museum of Manila is the city-owned museum that exhibits the city's culture and history.

Manila is also home to other notable museums of the country, namely the Museo Pambata, a children's museum, the Museum of Philippine Political History, which exhibits notable political events in the country, the National Museum of the Philippines (which includes the Museum of the Filipino People) of which exhibits life, culture and history of the country, the Parish of the Our Lady of the Abandoned and the San Agustin Church Museum, which houses religious artifacts, Plaza San Luis, a public museum, the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences and the DLS-CSB Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), both of which are university museums dedicated to science and technology, and contemporary art respectively.

Other points of interest

Numerous notable landmarks are located in Manila, such as Rizal Park and the historical Intramuros. Rizal park is a crescent-shaped 58 hectares (140 acres) park, it was erected for the country's national hero, José Rizal. Among the attractions in Rizal Park is the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, the National Museum of the Philippines, The National Library of the Philippines, the Planetarium, the Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion, the park auditorium, a landscaped relief map of the Philippines, the fountain, the children's lagoon, the chess plaza, the Quirino Grandstand and the Manila Ocean Park, which features a wide variety of marine animals. The flagpole west of the Rizal Monument is the Kilometer Zero marker for distances to the rest of the country. In the northernmost part of the city lie three cemeteries: the Loyola and Chinese cemeteries, and Manila North Cemetery, the largest public cemetery in the Manila metropolitan area.

Shopping centers

Robinsons Place Manila, a major shopping mall in the city

Manila has become a well-known shopping hub of the country and it has been named as one of the best shopping destinations in Asia. Major shopping malls are located around the city while local and traditional shopping centers such as markets and bazaars are also located around Manila.

Robinsons Place Manila is the largest shopping mall in the city, it is located at the heart of Manila. The mall was the second and by-far, the largest Robinson Mall ever built by John Gokongwei, the mall features a wide range of local and international retail shops, dining outlets, entertainment facilities and service centers, it also features anchor stores such as Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Department Store and Robinsons Cinema.

Another shopping mall is the SM City Manila, it is the first SM Supermall in the city, it features major SM brands like the SM Department Store, SM Supermarket, SM Cinemas and SM Foodcourt, it is located right beside the Manila City Hall; the mall underwent major redevelopment in 2008. SM City San Lazaro is the second SM Supermall in Manila, it is located in the district of Santa Cruz, the mall sits on what was the site of the former San Lazaro Hippodrome, a racetrack for horses. The site of the original SM Department Store located at Quiapo is known today as the SM Clearance Center, which was established in 1972 and is occupying a formerly well-known hotel with a revolving restaurant atop. Other department stores still thrive throughout the city.

Aside from the aforementioned malls, the Tutuban Commercial Center, Lucky Chinatown Mall (Cityplace Square), 11/88 Mall, 168 Shopping Mall, and 999 Shopping Mall are some of the popular malls in the city which are all located in Divisoria, a well-known shopping district in the country.

The traditional shopping areas of Divisoria, Binondo, and Quiapo, is a place for local and adventurous shoppers, these areas offers bargains and cheap buys and it also offers indigenous Filipino cuisine, crafts and delicacies. Quiapo is referred as the "Old Downtown", it has also made a name for itself as a place where cheap buys or goods are being sold at rock-bottom prices. Binondo is the oldest Chinatown in the world, it is the district center of commerce and trade for all types of businesses run by Filipino-Chinese merchants; it offers Chinese restaurants, Filipino restaurants, and Chinese stores. Tiangge (flea market) stores are common, which are mostly concentrated on these areas to accommodate visitors.


Children playing basketball at Intramuros

Sports in Manila have a long and distinguished history. The city's, and the country's in general, main sport is basketball, and most barangays have a makeshift basketball court, with court markings drawn on the streets. Larger barangays have covered courts where interbarangay leagues are held every summer (April to May).

The city has several well-known sports venues, such as the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and San Andres Gym, the home of the now defunct Manila Metrostars. The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex houses the Rizal Memorial Track and Football Stadium, the Baseball Stadium, Tennis Courts, Memorial Coliseum and the Ninoy Aquino Stadium (the latter two are indoor arenas).

The Rizal complex had hosted several multi-sport events, such as the 1954 Asian Games and the 1934 Far Eastern Games. Whenever the country hosts the Southeast Asian Games, most of the events are held at the complex, but in the 2005 Games, most events were held elsewhere. The 1960 ABC Championship and the 1973 ABC Championship, forerunners of the FIBA Asia Championship, was hosted by the complex, with the national basketball team winning on both tournaments. The 1978 FIBA World Championship was held at the complex although the latter stages were held in the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Southeast Asia's largest indoor arena.

Manila also hosts several well-known sports facilities such as the Enrique M. Razon Sports Center and the University of Santo Tomas Sports Complex, both of which are private venues owned by a university; collegiate sports are also held, with the University Athletic Association of the Philippines and the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball games held at Rizal Memorial Coliseum and Ninoy Aquino Stadium, although basketball events had transferred to San Juan's Filoil Flying V Arena and the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. Other collegiate sports are still held at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. Professional basketball also used to play at the city, but the Philippine Basketball Association now holds their games at Araneta Coliseum and Cuneta Astrodome at Pasay; the now defunct Philippine Basketball League played some of their games at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

Previously a widely played sport in the city, Manila is now the home of the only sizable baseball stadium in the country, at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium. The stadium hosts games of Baseball Philippines; Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth were the first players to score a home run at the stadium at their tour of the country on December 2, 1934.

Another popular sport in the city are cue sports, and billiard halls are a feature in most barangays. The 2010 World Cup of Pool was held at Robinsons Place Manila.

The Rizal Memorial Track and Football Stadium hosted the first FIFA World Cup qualifier in decades when the Philippines hosted Sri Lanka in July 2011. The stadium, which was previously unfit for international matches, had undergone a major renovation program prior to the match. The Football Stadium now regularly hosts matches of the United Football League. The stadium also hosted its first rugby test when it hosted the 2012 Asian Five Nations Division I tournaments.

Parks and recreation

Manila is the site of the Rizal Park. The park lies within the heart of Manila's cultural and business district, as an honor and dedication to the country's national hero José Rizal, who was executed in the same place where the park was created by the Spaniards on charges of subversion. Manila is also the home to several plazas, such as the Plaza Balagtas and Plaza Miranda, the site of the 1971 politics-related bombings. Notable parks and green areas include the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Rajah Sulayman Park, Manila Boardwalk, Liwasang Bonifacio, Mehan Garden, Paco Park, Remedios Circle, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden, Pandacan Linear Park, and the Malacañang Garden.

Within the city lies the cemeteries of the Manila Chinese Cemetery, La Loma Cemetery, the Manila South Green Park and the Manila North Green Park, notable as being the resting place of several historical figures and being the largest cemetery in the Metropolis. Both the Manila North and South Green Park are city-owned cemeteries.

A large number of private and public recreational areas are scattered throughout the city. Also, several playgrounds, sports facilities and gardens were erected within the city — most of these being developed in commercial areas.

Within the city there are numerous shrine plazas wherein numerous historic monuments are found. Plazas also have numerous tiangge stores accommodating visitors. Plazas, unlike parks, consist of less greenery and mostly of bricked pathways. Plazas in the city are usually located in commercial and industrial places while shrines have more greenery than plazas and no tiangge.


Local government

The Manila City Hall and its iconic clock tower are among the region's registered Cultural Properties.

The Mayor of Manila (Filipino: Alkalde ng Maynila) is restricted to three consecutive terms, totaling nine years, although a Mayor can be elected again after an interruption of one term. The Vice-Mayor is the Presiding Officer of the Manila City Council composed of the six elected City Councilors of the legislative districts; the local President of the Association of Barangay Captains; and the Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) president. The Mayor's office and Council seat is Manila City Hall. The civic judicial branch is administered by the Supreme Court of the Philippines under the Metro Manila judicial region.

The incumbent Mayor of the city is Joseph Estrada, former President of the Republic of the Philippines, who defeated former mayor Alfredo Lim (2007-2013) in the 2013 local election. Isko Moreno is the city's incumbent Vice-Mayor.

Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of Manila is composed of the city's modern coat-of-arms, with colours mirroring those of the National Flag. It is a modified form of the city's colonial arms bestowed in the 16th century.

The arms consist of a pre-Hispanic shield, horizontally divided into red and blue fields. The top, red half depicts the city's nickname, "Pearl of the Orient", while the lower, blue half is charged with a sea-lion surmounting the waves of the River Pasig and Manila Bay. The sea-lion originally represented the islands's former colonial status as an ultramar (overseas) possession of Spain, and is ultimately derived from the arms of the León.

The arms are surrounded by a white roundel containing the words Lungsod ng Maynila and Pilipinas (Filipino, "City of Manila"; "Philippines"), and six yellow stars representing the city's six congressional districts.

Administrative districts

Maps of Manila

Map of Manila with landmarks highlighted.
Map of Manila and its districts.

The city of Manila is divided into sixteen officially defined administrative districts, and subdivided into 897 barangays that are only known by sequential numbers instead of names. The districts only exist for administrative convenience and do not have their own sets of elected officials. Each geographical district is further divided into officially defined "zones," which are clusters of two or more barangays.

District Barangays Population
(2010 census)
Pop. density
(per km2)
Binondo 10 12,985 66.11 19,641.5
Ermita 13 7,143 158.91 4,495.0
Intramuros 5 4,925 67.26 7,322.3
Malate 57 77,513 259.58 29,860.9
Paco 43 70,978 278.69 25,468.4
Pandacan 38 73,895 166.00 44,515.1
Port Area 5 57,405 315.28 18,207.6
Quiapo 16 24,886 84.69 29,384.8
Sampaloc 192 241,528 513.71 47,016.4
San Andrés 65 115,942 168.02 69,004.9
San Miguel 12 15,992 91.37 17,502.5
San Nicolas 15 44,241 163.85 27,000.9
Santa Ana 34 60,952 169.42 35,976.9
Santa Cruz 82 115,747 309.01 37,457.4
Santa Mesa 51 99,933 261.01 38,287.0
Tondo 259 628,106 865.13 72,602.5

Data presented by the National Statistics Office still do not reflect the 16-district configuration recognized by the city government of Manila. It recognizes neither the western area of Santa Ana that now belongs to the fifth congressional district of Manila as the geographical district of San Andres Bukid, nor the area of Sampaloc south of the Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard which now belongs to the sixth congressional district as the geographical district of Santa Mesa.

Legislative districts

Manila's legislative districts

Aside from the division of the sixteen geographical districts, the city is also divided into the six legislative districts that serve as the constituencies for the election of the city's representatives to the lower house of the Congress of the Philippines and of the regular members to the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP; City Council). Each district elects one representative to the House of Representatives and six SP members to the council. The city, along with the rest of the nation, elects 12 senators as one at-large district.

National government

The façade of Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines

Manila, being the seat of political power of the Philippines, has several national government offices headquartered at the city. Planning for the development for being the center of government started during the early years of American colonization to the country when they envisioned a well-designed city outside the walls of Intramuros. The strategic location chosen was Bagumbayan, a former town which is now the Rizal Park 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.. These improvements were eventually abandoned 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 City. Several government agencies have set up their headquarters in Quezon City but several key government offices still reside in Manila. However, many of the plans were substantially altered after the devastation of Manila during World War II and by subsequent administrations.

The city, as the capital, still hosts the Office of the President, as well as the president's official residence. Aside from these, important institutions such as the Supreme Court (Kataas-taasang hukuman), the Court of Appeals, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Departments of Budget and Management (Kagawaran ng Pagbabadyet at Pamamahala), Finance, Health, Justice, Labor and Employment, Public Works and Highways and Tourism still call the city home. Manila also hosts important national institutions such as the National Library, National Archives, National Museum and the Philippine General Hospital.

Congress previously held office at the Old Congress Building. In 1972, due to declaration of martial law, Congress was dissolved; its successor, the unicameral Batasang Pambansa, held office at the new Batasang Pambansa Complex. When a new constitution restored the bicameral Congress, the House of Representatives stayed at the Batasang Pambansa Complex, while the Senate remained at the Old Congress Building. In May 1997, the Senate transferred to a new building it shares with the Government Service Insurance System at reclaimed land at Pasay.


The campus of the University of the City of Manila is the flagship university of Manila's local government.

The center of education since the colonial period, Manila — particularly Intramuros — is home to several Philippine universities and colleges as well as its oldest ones. It served as the home of the University of Santo Tomas (1611), Colegio de San Juan de Letran (1620), and Ateneo de Manila University (1859). Only Colegio de San Juan de Letran (1620) remains at Intramuros; the University of Santo Tomas transferred to a new campus at Sampaloc in 1927, and Ateneo left Intramuros for Loyola Heights, Quezon City (while still retaining "de Manila" in its name) in 1952.

The University of the City of Manila located at Intramuros, and Universidad De Manila located just outside the walled city, are both owned and operated by the Manila city government. The national government controls the University of the Philippines Manila, the oldest of the University of the Philippines constituent universities and the center of health sciences education in the country. The city is also the site of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, the largest university in the country in terms of student population.

The University Belt refers to the area where there is a high concentration or a cluster of colleges and universities in the city and it is commonly understood as the one where the San Miguel, Quiapo and Sampaloc districts meet. Generally, it includes the western end of España Boulevard, Nicanor Reyes St. (formerly Morayta St.), the eastern end of Claro M. Recto Avenue (formerly Azcarraga), Legarda Avenue, Mendiola Street, and the different side streets. Each of the colleges and universities found here are at a short walking distance of each other. Another cluster of colleges lies along the southern bank of the Pasig River, mostly at the Intramuros and Ermita districts, and still a smaller cluster is found at the southernmost part of Malate near the border with Pasay such as the private co-educational institution of De La Salle University, the largest of all De La Salle University System of schools. The high concentration of higher learning institutions makes Manila the country's educational capital.

The Division of the City Schools of 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 the two city-owned universities.

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



A taxicab in Manila

One of the more famous modes of transportation in Manila is the jeepney. Patterned after U.S. army jeeps, these have been in use since the years immediately following World War II. Today, the Tamaraw FX, the third generation Toyota Kijang, has begun to compete directly with jeepneys. Along with buses, jeepneys and Tamaraws follow fixed routes for a set price.

On a for-hire basis, the city is served by numerous taxicabs, "tricycles" (motorcycles with sidecars, the Philippine version of the auto rickshaw), and "trisikads" or "sikads" (bicycles with a sidecars, the Philippine version of pedicabs). In some areas, especially in the Divisoria district, motorized pedicabs are popular. Spanish-era horse-drawn calesas are still a popular tourist attraction in the streets of Binondo and Intramuros. All types of public transport are privately owned and operated under government franchise.

The city is serviced by the Manila Light Rail Transit System, popularly known as LRT, as distinct from the Manila Metro Rail Transit System, or MRT, in other parts of Metro Manila. Development of the railway system began in the 1970s under the Marcos administration, making it the first light rail transport in Southeast Asia. The LRT and MRT system has undergone a multi-billion dollar expansion. Two lines provide service to the city: the LRT-1 Line (Yellow Line) that runs along the length of Taft Avenue (R-2) and Rizal Avenue (R-9), and the MRT-2 Line (Purple Line) that runs along Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard (R-6) from Santa Cruz, through Quezon City, up to Santolan in Pasig.

The main terminal of the Philippine National Railways lies within the city. Railways extend north to the city of San Fernando in Pampanga and south to Legazpi City in Albay, though only the southern railway is in operation. The Port of Manila, located in the vicinity of Manila Bay is the chief seaport of the Philippines. The city is also served by the Pasig River Ferry Service which runs on the Pasig River. The city is also served by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport.

In 2006, Forbes magazine ranked Manila “the world’s most congested city”. Manila has become notorious for its frequent traffic jams and high densities. Government units have taken efforts to alleviate traffic jams, including a construction of a new flyover at Sampaloc.

Medical facilities

Manila is headquarters to the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific, the World Health Organization Country Office for the Philippines, main office of the Department of Health, and several private and public hospitals and medical centers.

One of the many programs of the Department of Tourism is the promotion of medical tourism in the Philippines. Manila hosts a large number of wellness centers and spa facilities.

The Manila Health Department, which is responsible for the planning and implementation of the health programs of the city government, operates 44 health centers and lying-in facilities scattered throughout the city. Hospitals in the city are the Manila Doctors' Hospital, University of the Philippines - Philippine General Hospital, Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center, Dr. José R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, San Lazaro Hospital, the University of Santo Tomas Hospital and the city-owned Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center.

Twin towns and sister cities

Manila has a number of sister cities worldwide, as classified by the city government. Each sister city is divided into three parts, namely the International, Friendly location and Local City. Manila has 33 International Sister Cities, three Friendly Location Cities and two Local Sister Cities.

Friendly Location
Local city

See also


  1. The Cultural Center of the Philippines lies between Manila and Pasay. The boundary between the cities was Vicente Sotto Street, which only a portion went to Manila. Landmarks in CCP that lies within Manila includes the main CCP Theater and the Coconut Palace.
  2. Within the boundary between Manila and Caloocan. La Loma Cemetery lies within Caloocan, although some area of the park lies within Manila. The City Government of Manila confirmed that La Loma Cemetery lies at Caloocan.


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  • Moore, Charles (1921). "Daniel H. Burnham: Planner of Cities". Houghton Mifflin and Co., Boston and New York.

External links

  • Official Website of the City of Manila
Preceded by
Quezon City
Capital of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Capital of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Quezon City

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