The City of Manila (Filipino: Lungsod ng Maynila), or simply Manila, is the capital of the Philippines and one of the 17 cities and municipalities that make up Metro Manila. Located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay just west of the National Capital Region in western side of Luzon, it is one of the central hubs of a thriving metropolitan area home to over 14 million people. Manila, occupying a total land area of 38.55 square kilometers, is the second most populous city in the Philippines, with more than 1.6 million inhabitants. Only nearby Quezon City, the country’s former capital, is more populous. The metropolitan area is the second most populous in Southeast Asia.
Manila lies about 950 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong, 2,400 kilometers northeast of Singapore and more than 2,100 kilometers northeast of Kuala Lumpur. Manila lies about 950 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong, 2,400 kilometers northeast of Singapore and more than 2,100 kilometers northeast of Kuala Lumpur. This makes Manila a very popular travel destination among Asian countries, also making it very easy to find travel deals. 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. The layout of the city was haphazardly planned during the Spanish Era as a set of communities surrounding the fortified walls of Intramuros (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 natives uprising. 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. Manila is bordered by several cities in Metro Manila such as Navotas City 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.
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. The official name of the city under its Malay aristocracy was Seludong/Selurung, which was the same name given for the general region of southwestern Luzon at that time, suggesting that it was the capital of Ancient Tondo. However, the city became known by the name given to it by its Tagalog inhabitants, 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.)
Manila became the seat of the colonial government of Spain when it officially controlled the Philippine Islands for over three centuries from 1565 to 1898. During the British occupation of the Philippines, the city was occupied by Great Britain for two years from 1762-1764 as part of the Seven Years War. 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. Armed resistance to the British centred in Pampanga. Manila also became famous during the Manila-Acapulco trade which lasted for three centuries and brought the goods as far as Mexico all the way to South East Asia. In 1899, the United States purchased the Philippines from Spain and colonized the whole Philippine archipelago until 1946. During World War II, much of the city was destroyed. It was the second most destroyed city in the world after Warsaw, Poland during World War II. The Metropolitan Manila region was enacted as an independent entity in 1975. Manila has been classified as a “Gamma” global city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network.