Manila Travel Guide
|The capital is situated
on the west coast of Luzon, the major island of the Philippines and
encircled by fertile land. Manila straddles the delta of the
Pasig River, a navigable stream that links the freshwater lake
of Laguna de Bay with the large natural harbour of Manila Bay and
the South China Sea. Manila is hot and
all year round, even though
the climate is tempered by the sea breezes. Typhoons season is from
May through November.
Manila, a accumulation of 17 towns and villages, were brought
together in 1976 by President Marcos. Metro Manila is the true
urban centre and located around the colonial capital of Intramuros
and the other regions of Binondo, Ermita, Malate, Paco, Quipao
and San Nicolas. The 38.3 sq kilometres or 15 square miles of
urban development stretches out to the remote areas including Quezon City,
Pasay City, Pasig City. Makati City, the main business area, hosts
the majority of nightlife activities.
Manila Bay was a magnet for maritime traders in the past due to
its strategic situation between the Old World’s silk and spices
on the one side and the New World’s silver on the other.
The 1st foreign group of people to trade on the islands in 98AD were the Chinese.
By the late 15th century, the Europeans sent Ferdinand Magellan westward
to the Philippines in 1521. He claimed the islands for Spain, which
of Manila (called Maynilad by early Muslim
Following the collapse of the Spanish Empire in 1898, the Philippines
won independence after 327 years under Spanish rule. They were then
controlled by the Americans from 1900-1942 and the Japanese from
The Philippines regained democracy as a Republic after the end of
the Japanese occupation in 1946. In 1965 Ferdinand Marcos was elected
President. In 1972 anti-government riots gave him the excuse to
declare martial law. He was ably assisted by his wife Imelda Marcos,
who was the then governor of Metro Manila. Real democracy was achieved
by the Filipinos after the "People Power Revolution" in
1986 that led to the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship. It is
still one of the strongest democracies in Asia and the current president
is Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Manila is a lesson in contrasts. The disparity between the rich
and poor is evident with the palatial neighbourhoods around Makati
contrasting with squatter camps along the river where the needy
scavenge to survive. A large section of Manila still remains caught
up in the Third World and democracy has brought little change. More
than one hundred of cultural minority groups live in the country which
also reflects the country’s cultural diversity.
Manila’s is an overwhelming city and can seem very chaotic
if you are not prepared for it. The noise, traffic, pollution, poverty
and often-shabby infrastructure makes the capital seem intimidating.
Manila’s strength, the friendliness and good humour of its
people can become infectious.