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City of Manila
Lungsod ng Maynila
Official seal of
Location of Manila Province
Basic data
Region : Metro Manila
Province : does not belong to any province
Barangays : 905
PSGC : 133900000
Income class : 1st income bracket
Households : 333,547
May 1, 2000 census
Population : 1,780,148
August 1, 2015 census
Population density : 46,178 inhabitants per km²
Area : 38.55  km²
Coordinates : 14 ° 35 ′  N , 121 ° 0 ′  E Coordinates: 14 ° 35 ′  N , 121 ° 0 ′  E
Postal code : 1000-1018
Area code : +63 2
Mayor : Isko Moreno
Geographical location in the Philippines
Manila (Philippines)
Manila (14 ° 35 ′ 0 ″ N, 121 ° 0 ′ 0 ″ E)
Satellite image of Manila Bay
Map of Manila

Manila ([ maˈniːla ], officially: City of Manila ; Filipino Lungsod ng Maynila ; traditional Baybayin ᜋᜈᜒᜎ , colonial Baybayin ᜋᜌ᜔ᜈᜒᜎ ) is the capital of the Philippines .

Manila is located on the main island of Luzon in Manila Bay . It is one of 17 cities and municipalities that together form the 636 square kilometer Metro Manila region. In the city of Manila live 1.8 million people in the agglomeration Metro Manila 12.9 million (2015). Filipinos who live outside the metropolitan area often refer to the entire metropolitan area as Manila.

The capital is the political, economic and cultural center of the country as well as a transport hub with universities, colleges, theaters and museums. The patron saint of the city is La Naval de Manila .


Manila is located on the east bank of Manila Bay and covers an area of ​​38.55 square kilometers. The Pasig River divides the city in two. Most of the population lives in coastal areas that are less than 10 meters above sea ​​level . This makes Manila the world's megacity most threatened by climate change , since 1967 the sea ​​level has risen locally by 80 centimeters, because the area sinks sharply due to water abstraction and development.

The city is surrounded by the cities and towns of the Manila metro region: Navotas City , Caloocan City , Malabon City and Valenzuela City in the north, Quezon City and Marikina City in the northeast, San Juan, Pasig City and Mandaluyong City in the east, Makati and Pateros in the southeast and Pasay, Taguig and Parañaque City in the south. Quezon City is the largest, most populous (2.9 million inhabitants in 2015) and richest city in the metropolitan area of ​​Metro Manila.

There are three different definitions of the metropolitan area of ​​Manila:

  • National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila: It includes the 14 districts of the capital and a further 16 municipalities. Metro Manila is also a district on the Philippine main island of Luzon . The NCR covers an area of ​​636 square kilometers.
  • Greater Manila Area (GMA): This area includes the 17 parishes of Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan , Rizal , Laguna and Cavite . The GMA covers an area of ​​7,627 square kilometers.
  • Mega Manila Region (MMR): It includes the 17 parishes of Metro Manila, the seven provinces of the Central Luzon district and the five provinces of the CALABARZON district . The MMR covers an area of ​​38,544 square kilometers.

City structure

Manila is divided into 897 barangays (small political administrative units formerly known as the barrio ). These barangays are divided into 100 zones in 14 districts. Seven of them are north of the Pasig: Binondo, Quiapo, Sampaloc, San Miguel, San Nicolas, Santa Cruz and Tondo . The remaining seven districts are to the south of the river: Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Paco, Pandacan, Port Area and Santa Ana.

Another two areas are unofficially known as districts: Santa Mesa in Sampaloc and San Andres Bukid in Santa Ana. The Binondo district is considered the city's Chinatown . Tondo is the poorest area of ​​the city, while the Ermita and Malate districts are very popular with tourists because of the many bars, restaurants and shopping centers. Manila is still divided into six constituencies for Congress; each district sends a representative to the Philippines House of Representatives .

The following population figures refer to the censuses (VZ) of September 1, 1995, May 1, 2000 and August 1, 2007, and May 1, 2020.

Manila administrative map
District Area
VZ 1995 VZ 2000 VZ 2007 VZ 2020-ß5-ß1
Binondo 66.6 15,103 11,619 12,100 20,491
Ermita 249.3 6,823 5,969 6,205 19,189
Intramuros 118.3 10,384 7,466 5,015 6.103
Malates 277.3 81.033 77,398 78.132 99.257
Paco 283.1 70,339 64.184 69,300 79,839
Pandacan 164.2 82.194 79.003 76.134 84,769
Port Area 177.3 15,883 25,243 48,684 72.605
Quiapo 88.2 25,177 24,615 23,138 29,846
Sampaloc 775.3 395.111 352,329 354,514 388.305
San Miguel 90.5 21,267 16,798 16,115 18,599
San Nicolas 93.5 39,594 41,517 43,225 42,957
Santa Ana 338.2 183,306 177,480 178,769 203,598
Santa Cruz 306.8 118.903 107.154 118,779 126,735
Tondo 109.2 589,644 590.307 630.604 654.220
Manila 3137.8 1,654,761 1,581,082 1,660,714 1,846,513

Source: National Statistics Office


Manila is located in the humid tropics , the average annual temperature is 26.7 degrees Celsius and fluctuates by just under four degrees Celsius over the course of the year. The climate is arid from January to April and humid from May to December .

An average of 2069 millimeters of precipitation falls in a year, almost three quarters of it in the months of June to September alone, when Manila is in the area of ​​influence of the southwest monsoons . Heavy rains repeatedly lead to floods during the monsoons.

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Manila
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 29.5 30.5 32.1 33.5 33.2 32.2 31.1 30.6 30.9 30.9 30.7 29.7 O 31.2
Min. Temperature (° C) 23.5 23.8 24.9 26.2 26.7 26.2 25.8 25.5 25.5 25.5 24.9 23.9 O 25.2
Precipitation ( mm ) 19.0 7.9 11.1 21.4 165.2 265.0 419.6 486.1 330.3 270.9 129.3 75.4 Σ 2,201.2
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 5.7 7.0 7.3 8.6 7.2 5.4 4.3 4.3 4.4 5.1 5.1 4.9 O 5.8
Rainy days ( d ) 6th 3 4th 4th 12th 17th 24 23 22nd 19th 14th 11th Σ 159
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Typhoons also frequent the city. Typhoons are among the worst natural disasters in Manila. They often wreak havoc with numerous deaths. Serious damage is caused not only by the strong winds, but also by the often very heavy precipitation in a very short time, which leads to flooding.

On September 26, 2009, typhoon "Ketsana" (called "Ondoy" in the Philippines) caused the worst flooding in 42 years in Metro Manila. At least 337 people died and around 80 percent of the city was under water. According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), 455 millimeters of precipitation fell within 24 hours - the highest amount of rain in history. The previous record was measured on June 7, 1967 with 334.5 millimeters in the same period.

On September 26, 2009, Metro Manila experienced the highest rainfall in history


Pre-colonial period

The city was founded after the war against the Sultanate of Brunei , under Sultan Bolkiah , had been lost in 1500 . The capital of Luzon , Tondo , was taken militarily by the sultanate because of its economically favorable location. As a sign of triumph, the Sultanate founded a new city on the opposite bank of Tondo. This was officially called Seludung ( trad. Bay .: ᜐᜒ ᜎᜓ ᜇᜓ / col . Bay .: ᜐᜒ ᜎᜓ ᜇᜓᜅ᜔), translated as capital . However, she was better known by her real name Maynilad . Bolkiah's nephew, Lontok, from then on known as Gat Lontok, became the ruler of this city-state, which was protected by city walls and Lantaka ( trad. Bay .: ᜎᜆᜃ / col. Bay .: ᜎᜆᜈ᜔ᜃ), Asian cannons.

Although the king of Luzons was allowed to continue to exercise his office, his political power was shaken to the core. Because of this, the noble house of Namayan ( trad. Bay .: ᜈᜋᜌ / col. Bay .: ᜈᜋᜌᜈ᜔), also known as Sapa ( Bay .: ᜐᜉ), came to power. The house had already reached a high point in 1157 and saw the king's weakness as an opportunity to regain power. Accordingly, three royal houses ruled, the House of Tondo, the House of Maynilad, or House of Seludung, and the House of Namayan, in what is now Manila.

The original Manila itself was initially a Muslim sultanate at the mouth of the Pasig on the banks of the Manila Bay . The name comes from the term maynilad ( traditional Baybayin : ᜋᜈᜒᜎ / colonial Baybayin : ᜋᜌ᜔ᜈᜒᜎᜇ᜔), literally "Here there is Nilad." grows). Since final consonants are not written in traditional Baybayin, the Spanish thought that the city was not called Maynilad , but Manila .

In the mid-16th century, Manila was a thriving settlement. The large ethnic group of the Tagalog , who lived in the southern part of the Pasig, was ruled by Rajah Sulayman , from Seludung, Rajah Matanda, from Sapa, and Rajah Lakan Dula, from Tondo, at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards .

When the Spanish conqueror Miguel López de Legazpi heard of the wealth of Manila on the island of Cebu , he sent Lieutenant Martín de Goiti and Commander Juan de Salcedo to the north to explore this area. At the end of 1569, 300 soldiers, cavalrymen and a few locals left Cebu and went on an expedition. The Spaniards first explored the northern islands of Panay and Mindoro . They came into conflict with Chinese traders and pirates. Goiti and Salcedo eventually defeated the Chinese and established the first Spanish settlements on these islands.

On May 8, 1570, the Spaniards reached Manila. Impressed by the size of the harbor, they went ashore on Manila Bay. The soldiers were warmly received by the Muslim residents. They finally camped there for a few weeks, feigning an alliance to the Muslim king Rajah Sulayman. They pretended to the king that they only wanted to stay in Manila temporarily, but that was not what their real intentions were.

On May 24, 1570, after numerous battles between the two groups, the Spanish troops marched to the Muslim settlements in Tondo. The heavily armed Spaniards eventually defeated the Muslim population and then conquered the region. The settlement of Manila fell into the hands of the Spaniards on June 6, 1570 and burned to the ground.

Early Spanish period

Fort Santiago from 1570

In the course of this defeat, all three rulers fell into the hands of Martín de Goiti and were thereupon prisoners of the Spanish conquistador . As a result, the leaders converted to the Roman Catholic faith . They got their privileges back, were integrated into the colonial system of rule and henceforth ruled under Spanish control.

In 1571 Legazpi came to Manila and, with the help of the former local rulers, set up a city council. The fortified Spanish old town of Manila, called Intramuros and only accessible to Spaniards, was built on the same site as the old Muslim fortress . Manila became the capital of the new Philippine colony on June 24, 1571, and Legazpi became its first governor.

1579 established Pope Gregory XIII. the diocese of Manila , which Pope Clement VIII raised to an archbishopric in 1595 . Since then, Manila has been the seat of the (arch) bishops of the (arch) diocese of Manila. Catholicism mingled with pre-Hispanic traditions. The missionaries also used the old Baybayin script to disseminate Christian texts. In 1603 there was an uprising by Chinese citizens against Spanish rule, which ended with the annihilation of the entire Chinese colony in the city, killing 20,000. In 1611 the Universidad de Santo Tomas was opened in Manila as the oldest Catholic university in Asia.

The heyday of administration and economy

Local chiefs were involved in a kind of indirect rule during missionary work and administration. The so-called principalía arose from them , a rural local leadership class with corresponding privileges. The Spanish ruling class of the colony stayed mainly in Manila and left the administration of the countryside largely to the local principalia and the local Spanish priests and monks.

The main source of income for Spain was trade, as Manila was an important trading post between China and what is now Mexico , at that time the largest region of the viceroyalty of New Spain in Central America. Through the mercantilist organized galleon trade ( Manila galleon ) between Manila and Acapulco , which began in 1565 and continued until 1813, many Chinese came to Manila as traders. Due to the galleon trade and the administrative assignment of the region to the viceroyalty of New Spain, there were also close ties to Mexico.

The galleons , which operate once a year, mainly brought silver bars and coins from Mexico; on the return journey, Chinese goods, mainly silk and other textiles, were brought back to Mexico. Every year about 50 tons of silver were shipped from Acapulco to Manila, which found its way to China as a means of payment for Chinese goods. Therefore, galleons were often attacked by English and Dutch privateers, sometimes with success.

Fall of Spanish rule

Map of Manila 1851

In 1762 Spain joined France against Great Britain in the Seven Years War (1756–1763). Great Britain then undertook the British invasion of the Philippines . On October 6, 1762, English troops with soldiers from the British East India Company and Indian sepoys conquered Manila after a twelve-day siege. The subsequent Spanish resistance to the British occupation was organized by Governor Simón de Anda, who had his headquarters in Bacolor . With the Peace Treaty of Paris , which ended the war, Spain got Manila back in May 1764. Because of the defeat by the British troops, Spain had lost its reputation; this was the beginning of the decline of Spanish rule and the beginning of England's rise as a sea power in the Pacific.

Mexico gained independence in 1821 . The Philippines, which until then had been administered as part of the Viceroyalty of Mexico , now came directly under the administration of Spain. In this context, there was a revolt in Manila in 1822 by Spanish Creole soldiers of Mexican origin who resisted a disarmament order from the colonial government. The Creoles were the first to call themselves Filipinos ; a term that was later used to refer to all residents of the archipelago.

American colonial times

Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898
Spanish guns in Intramuros, 1902

On April 25, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain. In the Spanish-American War , the US was concerned with control over the remaining colonial areas of Spain and access to Asian markets via the Philippines. On May 1, 1898, the outdated Spanish fleet was completely destroyed in just a few hours by the modern US fleet under Commodore George Dewey in the Battle of Manila Bay .

After Dewey's victory, a blockade was imposed on Manila Bay. Even so, warships from Great Britain , France , Germany and Japan came to Manila Bay. The German contingent was larger than that of the United States until June 12, when Admiral Otto von Diederichs arrived in Manila. There were provocations between the Americans and the Germans. It was only when the British sided with the United States that the German ships withdrew.

On June 12, 1898, the Philippines declared themselves independent and installed Emilio Aguinaldo as president. This took place in Malolos , today's capital of the province of Bulacan , as large parts of Manila were still under Spanish control. In July, the Filipinos besieged the fortified Spanish city center of Manila, known as Intramuros . However, the Spaniards refused to surrender as they had orders to do so only to the Americans.

On August 13, 1898, an American attack on Intramuros took place. Aguinaldo's followers helped in the Battle of Manila , but his troops were not allowed to enter the fortified city. On August 14, 1898, the Spanish surrendered and the United States announced the establishment of a military government . In December 1898, in the Peace of Paris , also known as the Treaty of Paris, the Philippines were handed over to the United States.

On February 4, 1899, American soldiers shot a Filipino soldier who was crossing a bridge into American-controlled territory in Manila. This was the beginning of the Philippine-American War . During the Battle of Manila, the American troops succeeded in subjugating the region and establishing colonial rule, which lasted until the Japanese occupation of Manila in World War II . In 1899 members of the Schurman Commission arrived in Manila to work out proposals for a quick transition to civil colonial administration. These proposals were implemented by the Taft Commission in 1900 and 1901, and both commissions were seated in Manila.

Second World War

The Cavite naval port near Manila is on fire, December 10, 1941
That destroyed Manila in May 1945
US Military Cemetery

The Imperial Japanese Army began a surprise attack on Manila on December 8, 1941, just hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor . After heavy bombing from the air, ground troops of the Japanese Empire landed north and south of Manila. Under the pressure of overwhelming odds, the American army withdrew to the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island , near Manila Bay. To protect Manila from destruction, it was declared an open city.

On January 2, 1942, the Japanese army occupied Manila. During the occupation there were mass shootings, torture and rape by Japanese troops against the civilian population. People were burned alive or beheaded with the samurai sword .

After the Americans had landed on Luzon , the struggle to recapture the city began on February 5, 1945 under the American General Douglas MacArthur . There were house- to-door fights with heavy losses around Manila because the Japanese army had holed up. The battle for Manila led to the extensive destruction of the city (especially the Spanish old town).

The tough Japanese resistance was broken mainly by heavy artillery fire. On March 4, 1945, Major General Oscar Griswold declared the city liberated. During the fighting, on instructions from Tokyo , the Japanese carried out the Manila massacre in the last three weeks of February , in which around 100,000 civilians were murdered. 20,000 Japanese died in the fighting.

In March 2011, Filipino workers came across a mass grave in the Nasugbu neighborhood of Manila . It is believed to be the remains of 14 Filipino prisoners of war from World War II.

Independence and dictatorship

Supreme Court of the Philippines in Manila

In 1946 Manila became the capital of the independent Republic of the Philippines, but lost this status on June 17, 1948 through the "Republic Act No. 333" to Quezon City .

On December 30, 1965, Ferdinand Marcos was elected President in Manila . In 1970 the First Quarter Storm broke out in Manila , student unrest against the corrupt Marcos regime, among other things because Marcos was preparing a new constitution that should lift the two-term restriction for a president. The protests lasted three months. In 1973 the Supreme Court legalized the new constitution. The Philippines introduced the parliamentary system, which in fact served to consolidate the power of Marcos.

By the "Presidential Decree No. 940" on June 24, 1976 Manila regained its status as the capital of the Philippines. Quezon City, along with Manila and other communities, was part of the National Capital Region (NCR), also known as Metro Manila . Various government officials remained in Quezon City, including the Batasang Pambansa (former parliament of the Philippines) and ultimately the House of Representatives .

On August 21, 1983, an assassin shot and killed Benigno Aquino , opposition leader and husband of Corazon Aquino , on his return from the United States at Manila Airport . Aquino became a martyr after his murder. Two million people attended his funeral. A mass movement against the Marcos regime emerged. His widow Corazon Aquino became the leading figure of this movement.


In early 1986, after early elections, a subsequent mutiny by parts of the military , mass demonstrations and unrest, which are collectively called the EDSA revolution , Aquino was sworn in as President of the Philippines in the Filipino Club in Manila. Ferdinand Marcos fled abroad on February 25, 1986. In 1987 the Philippines returned to the presidential system .

The 10th World Youth Day took place in Manila from January 10th to 15th, 1995 . Around four million people attended the closing mass with Pope John Paul II on January 15. It was the largest historically documented fair of all time and at the same time the largest known gathering in human history.

In a series of bombings on December 30 and 31, 2000, at least 22 people died in Manila and 100 were injured, some seriously. The police then arrested several Muslims as suspects.

After the failure of impeachment proceedings against President Joseph Estrada for bribery and corruption , mass demonstrations began on January 17, 2001 along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Manila and lasted for several days. On January 20, 2001, the President's chair was declared vacant by the Supreme Court without a legal basis and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in as the new President. The following counter-demonstrations were gunned down by the military on their orders and opposition leaders were arrested.

On February 24, 2006, the government allegedly attempted a coup in Manila by parts of the military. President Arroyo declared a state of emergency , and government-loyal military and other security forces secured strategically important places in the capital. Demonstrations to mark the 20th anniversary of Marco's fall have been banned, parts of the press have been censored and demonstrations taking place have been violently broken up by the police. On March 3, 2006, the state of emergency was lifted again.


Population development

In 1876 there were almost 100,000 people in Manila; by 1903 this number had doubled to around 220,000. In 1939, shortly before the start of the Second World War , the city had 623,000 inhabitants; in 1948 there were around one million. The city's population has currently grown to 1.7 million. Due to the narrow city limits, the population increase has stabilized, the increase is now mainly taking place in the countless suburbs, which now have 17.5 million inhabitants. A total of 19.2 million people (2008) live in the metropolitan region , which extends far beyond the boundaries of the Metro Manila agglomeration .

A significant part of the population growth in the metropolitan area has been caused by immigration since the beginning of colonial development . The immigrants come, according to the international and supraregional importance of the city, not only from the neighboring hinterland, but from all parts of the Philippines and the neighboring countries. The result is a conglomerate of people from different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.

The following overview shows the census results by area. The population figures refer to the municipality within its political boundaries, without politically independent suburbs.

Year / date resident
1876 93,595
1887 176,777
March 2, 1903 219.928
December 31, 1918 285.306
January 1, 1939 623.492
October 1, 1948 983.906
February 15, 1960 1,138,611
date resident
May 6, 1970 1,330,788
May 1, 1975 1,497,116
May 1, 1980 1,630,485
May 1, 1990 1,601,234
September 1, 1995 1,654,761
May 1, 2000 1,581,082
August 1, 2007 1,660,714

Ethnic composition

Yacht club on Manila Bay

The majority of the Manileños are Tagalog . But there is also a significant population of Ilocanos, Visayans, Bicolanos, Waray, Cebuanos and Davaoeños. The largest foreign population in Manila is made up of the Chinese who have lived in Manila for centuries.

According to the 2000 census, the ethnic composition of the population was as follows:

Ethnicity of inhabitants
Tagalog 1,204,567 76.74
Ilocanos 49,831 3.17
Visayans 44,332 2.82
Bicolanos 39,295 2.50
Waray 35,654 2.27
Other 155,888 9.93
Other foreign ethnicity 19.006 1.21
unknown 21,011 1.34
Manila 1,569,584 100.00

Source: National Statistics Office


English is the official language in Manila . However, the street language is Tagalog and Taglish, a mixture of Tagalog and English, and the languages ​​of the respective foreign residents, including Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and Indonesian, among others.

Originally, Tagalog is the language of the Tagalen who live in the region in and around Manila. It served de facto , but not de iure, as the basis for the official national language Filipino . The Chinese minority speaks predominantly Hokkien , a variant of Min Nan .

The most common dialects in Manila are: Tagalog (76.4%), Iloco (4.9%), Samar-Leyte (3.3%), Pampango (3.0%), Bicol (2.8%) , Chinese (2.6%), Cebuano (1.9%), Hiligaynon (1.9%), Pangasinan (1.7%) and others (1.5%). Filipino is spoken by 98.0% of the population, English by 66.1% and Spanish by 8.4%.


Manila Metropolitan Cathedral

Because Manila was the seat of the Spanish colonial administration, there are many Catholic churches in Manila that are also under UNESCO protection . The main missionaries who landed in the Philippines were the Dominicans , Jesuits , Franciscans, and the Augustinians . Intramuros is the seat of the Archdiocese of Manila, founded on February 6, 1579, and one of the oldest archdioceses in the Philippines. The archbishopric includes the suffragan dioceses Antipolo, Cubao, Imus, Kalookan, Malolos, Novaliches, Parañaque, Pasig City and San Pablo.

A notable church in the city is the San Agustín Church in Intramuros, one of the most popular churches for weddings and the only one with air conditioning . Interesting churches are the Quiapo Church, Binondo Church, Malate Church and the San Sebastian Church. The Church of San Sebastian is the only church building in Asia that was constructed entirely of steel. Most of the districts of Manila also have their own places of worship with their own charm and are organized in parishes .

The Quiapo district has a larger Muslim community. The famous " Golden Mosque " is in Quiapo . In Ermita there is a Hindu temple for the Indian population, and in Malate on Quirino Avenue there is the only synagogue for the small Jewish community in the Philippines. Buddhist followers are mostly Chinese, with a few Filipinos.

The distribution of religions is as follows: Catholics (93.5%), Iglesia ni Cristo (1.9%), Protestants (1.8%), Buddhists (1.1%) and others (1.4%). Other religious minorities include: Evangelicals , Mormons ( Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ), supporters of the Independent Philippine Church (Iglesia Filipina Independente / Aglipayan), Seventh-day Adventists , supporters of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines “And the Jehovah's Witnesses .

Development of the living situation

Slum in Manila

The dynamism caused by the immense population pressure since the middle of the 20th century resulted in an explosive uncontrolled expansion of the agglomeration of Manila. The planning could not keep up with these changes. Countless informal settlements ( squatter camps ) arose on the periphery every day . The result was a disproportionate increase in the population in these settlements, which in Caloocan , Mandaluyong City , Navotas , Pateros , Pasay City and Tondo have a share of two fifths to three quarters of the total population.

The large area of ​​the city was not only due to population growth, but also to the way it was built. The mostly one to two-story bungalow settlements of the upper class and the densely packed slums require much more space than would be required for modern high-rise buildings . While the huts in the squatter camps were built by the immigrants without the legal permission of the competent authority or the landowner, the slums in the core city were created through structural decay and neglect of the previous residents.

In 1990, Tondo was one of the most densely populated slums in the world. 65,000 people lived in one square kilometer. The residents suffered from tuberculosis , typhus , malaria and diarrhea . The "Smokey Mountain", a more than 50 meter high garbage dump, located directly at the harbor, became an inglorious landmark for the city in the 1980s. Around 20,000 people lived on and off the garbage heap. But in 1995 the government forcibly cleared the slum, the huts were torn down, the families evicted and the "Smokey Mountain" demolished in the following years. The newly acquired building site was sold at a profit. The houses completed in 2004 were uninhabitable because they were built on leveled, but still gaseous and not disposed of land.

On the other hand, numerous high-rise buildings, luxury housing developments, banks, insurance companies, and shopping malls have been built since the 1980s. The wealthy residents left the city center and settled outside the densely populated core area. Modern upper-class residential areas were created, especially in Bel Air Village, Dasmariñas Village and Forbes Park, as well as numerous other areas such as Ayala Alabang in Muntinlupa City , Greenhills in San Juan , Valle Verde Village in Pasig City and the White Plains in Quezon City . Around ten percent of the population lives in these residential areas protected by walls and sentries. These serve not only to separate the affluent and the poor population, but also to protect against violence and crime.

Today, extensive, sprawled peripheries with little urban infrastructure extend around a densely populated city center. Overall, around half of Metro Manila's residents live in slums and squatter camps. For the majority of residents, informal construction is the only way to get living space. The inadequate housing situation and the numerous ecological problems have made the rulers responsible for thinking about a new urban planning policy.

In a ranking of cities according to their quality of life, Manila ranked 137th out of 231 cities worldwide in 2018.


City government

The head of the city administration of Manila is the mayor , who is elected by the population for a term of three years. He appoints heads of the various departments of the city administration and other civil servants. Mayor of Manila has been the former President of the Philippines (1998 to 2001) Joseph "Erap" Ejercito Estrada since 2013.

city ​​Hall

The capital region is administered by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the executive body of which is the Metro Manila Council . The council consists of the mayors of all 17 cities and towns in Metro Manila under the direction of a higher-level body of officials. The council passes laws, sets the property tax and allocates the financial resources to the individual departments of the city administration.

Town twinning

Manila has partnerships with the following cities and regions:

Culture and sights

Music and theater

UST Quadricentennial Park Fountain

The capital is a cultural center and attracts the most gifted artists of classical and modern Filipino music as well as dance and theater arts from all over the country. The city is home to numerous bars and music clubs, which are mainly concentrated in Pasay, Makati, Quezon City and on Roxas Boulevard .

Manila has one of the largest theater scenes in Southeast Asia. The many English-speaking groups include the “Repertory Philippines”, who perform their plays and musicals all year round in the “William J. Shaw Theater”. Many of the actors have appeared in London's West End theater district and on Broadway in New York.

The “Philippine Experimental Theater Association” and the “Tanghalang Pilipino” in particular show classic and current pieces. Local folklore, ballet performances, and classical music concerts are featured in the Cultural Center of the Philippines . Free concerts, plays, and ballet performances can be seen in the open-air theater in Paco Park and Rizal Park.


The National Museum of the Philippines is one of the many museums in the city . It opened on October 4, 1901 and houses exhibits from the fields of archeology , art, botany, zoology, geology and anthropology . The "Casa Manila" is located at the "Plaza San Luis Comples" and houses Chinese and European furnishings from the 19th century.

The "Central Bank Money Museum" opened on January 3, 1974 and displays Filipino and foreign coins and bills. The Archdiocese of Manila Museum (AMM) was inaugurated in 1987 and houses ecclesiastical and liturgical pieces on the history of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Inside the "San Augustin Church" is the "San Augustin Museum" with a collection of oil paintings of saints and religious art objects.

The "Coconut Palace" is also worth seeing. It was built under the direction of Imelda Marcos for the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1981. It served as a guest house for many prominent people, including Muammar al-Gaddafi , Brooke Shields, and George Hamilton . Today it is a museum with a butterfly garden and orchidarium.

The Ayala Museum in Makati shows, among other things. a high-quality collection of historical goldsmith work, dioramas on Filipino history and ship models.

Other museums worth mentioning are the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (considered the most important art museum in the country), the “Museo Pambata” (children's museum), the “Museo ng Maynila” (Museum of the City of Manila), the “Intramuros Lights and Sounds Museum” ( Intramuros Light and Sound Museum) and the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences.


In the center of Manila lies Intramuros , a city fortress built by the Spaniards. During the Spanish colonial era, the district was the seat of the colonial administration, as evidenced by buildings that have been preserved, including the "Cathedral of Manila". Within Intramuros is the Fort Santiago fortress, which was founded in 1570 by Martín de Goiti as Fuerza de Santiago to offer the Spanish conquistadors a refuge against guerrilla attacks by Muslim locals. The "Palacio del Gobernador" (Governor's Palace), which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1863 and rebuilt in 1976, is also located in this district.

Today's Cathedral Manila (Manila Cathedral) is the ninth building at this location and was from 1953 to 1958 with the support of the Vatican built. The first church was built here in 1581. The main building materials were mangrove wood and bamboo . The fifth building lost its bell tower in the earthquake of 1880, just a year after it was completed. During the Second World War , the church was completely destroyed. Pope John Paul II elevated the building to the rank of papal basilica (Basilica Minore) in 1981.

The Church of San Agustín is also in Intramuros . The building, built between 1587 and 1606 in the Baroque style, is the oldest church in the Philippines and the only building that escaped the destruction of Intramuros during the Battle of Manila (1945) . San Augustin in 1993 along with the Baroque churches of Santa Maria , Paoay and Miag-ao in the list of UNESCO world heritage added.

Masjid Al-Dahab ( The Golden Mosque ) is located in the Quiapo district and is considered the largest mosque in the Greater Manila area. The mosque, built in 1976 under the direction of Imelda Marcos , bears her name, its dome shines in a shimmering golden hue. Also in Quiapo is Asia's only sacred building made entirely of steel in the neo-Gothic style , the Basílica de San Sebastián . It was built according to drafts by Gustave Eiffel and is one of the few structures in which companies from Belgium , Germany and the Philippines were involved. The Quiapo Church is the starting point of the feast of the Black Nazarene and one of the four Basilica Minores in the greater Manila area. Another basilica is the Binondo Church , it is dedicated to the first Filipino saint of the Roman Catholic Church, Lorenzo Ruiz . The Manila Hotel is located on the edge of Manila Bay . It was built in 1907 during the American colonial era and opened on July 4, 1912.

The Malacañang Palace is located on the northern bank of the Pasig River . The palace is the official residence of the President of the Philippines . Manila's Chinatown is located in the Binondo district . With its many shops and restaurants, it is a center of trade and tourism. The district symbolizes the long history of the Chinese presence in the city.

The building of the Manila Metropolitan Theater was designed in the Art Deco style and was inaugurated in 1931. Numerous buildings in Manila have been constructed in the neoclassical style, such as the administrative headquarters of the Philippine Post Office .

The city jail Quezon located north-east of Manila.


At the northern end of Roxas Boulevard is the 60 hectare Rizal Park (also known as Luneta). It was known as Bagumbayan during the Spanish colonial era . This is where the Rizal Monument was built in 1912 to commemorate the Filipino patriot José Rizal. In 1917 the park was named after the Filipino national hero. The park is home to numerous museums and restaurants, an open-air theater, a planetarium , the National Library and the Manila Hotel, as well as several Chinese and Japanese gardens. Replicas of the Philippine islands can be seen by an artificial small lake .

South of Rizal Park on Manila Bay is the two-kilometer-long, linear “Baywalk”. The promenade is lined with many open-air restaurants and bars. Numerous bands and street artists play here in the evenings. The "Paco Park" is located in the city center. Formerly a Spanish cemetery, the site was surrounded by massive walls during the Spanish colonial era and declared a national park in 1996.

The park "Liwasang Bonifacio" is located on the Pasig and is dedicated to the national hero Andrés Bonifacio . In 1892 Bonifacio was the founder of Katipunan , an organization that had set itself the goal of independence of the Philippines from Spanish rule. Later the Katipunan fought against the new colonial power USA. On the other bank of the Pasig, opposite the “Malacañang Palace”, is the “Malacañang Park”.

The two hectare “Meban Garden” is located on Plaza Lawton, near the Metropolitan Theater. The first Manila Botanical Garden was laid out by Spanish Jesuits. The garden is home to Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) and three centuries-old narras (Pterocarpus indicus). Also worth seeing is the “Manila Zoological Garden” on Mabini Street, corner of Quirino Avenue, in Malate.


The American War Cemetery at Fort Bonifacio

At the southern gate of Aurora Avenue is the Chinese Cemetery (Manila Chinese Cemetery), which was founded around 1850 by the high government official Lim Ong and the businessman Carlos Palanca (Tan Quien Sien). It serves to commemorate the numerous Chinese who were not allowed to be buried in Spanish cemeteries. The 54-acre cemetery is home to pathways lined with ornate marble mausoleums . In addition to the honor for the deceased, the tombs also serve the purpose of demonstrating the social status of the family.

The American memorial and cemetery (Manila American Cemetery and Memorial) are about ten kilometers southeast from Manila. The site in Taguig City is adjacent to Fort Bonifacio, the former US Fort William McKinley . The 61.5 acre area is home to the largest American burial site from World War II. 17,206 soldiers are buried here. In the stone chapel there are 25 mosaic cards that document the successfully completed missions of the Americans in the Pacific War . The names of 36,285 missing persons are listed on a large limestone plaque .

Regular events

There are many festivals and events in Manila every year. The Christian holidays are celebrated extensively, but very differently than in Europe. In pre-Hispanic times, many Hindu and Buddhist elements came to the region. As a result of the Spanish colonization, many Spanish and Mexican traditions also flowed into the culture, and after 1898 American influences were added.

Every year on January 9th the festival of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Fiesta) takes place in Manila , during which members of local gangs carry a heavy statue of the "black Christ" through the streets of the Philippine capital, a procession in which only men are held may be present. The Black Nazarene procession is one of the largest in the country. It starts in the early afternoon in front of the Quiapo Church. Numerous Catholics populate the Quiapo district when the statue made of black wood is pulled through the streets with long ropes.

The Chinese New Year is celebrated in Manila's Chinatown in January or February. Traditional and ritual dragon dances are performed in the streets of the neighborhood. The New Year celebrations are considered to be the most important Chinese holiday and according to the Chinese calendar it ushers in the new year.

The Manila Mango Festival takes place in May and June. A major military parade is held in Rizal Park on June 12th annually on the Independence Day of the Philippines. The “Manila International Book Fair”, the largest book fair in the Philippines, takes place from late August to early September. The Rizal Day celebrations are held annually on December 30th in honor of the Filipino national hero José Rizal in Rizal Park. On December 30, 1896, Rizal was executed in Bagumbayan (now called Rizal Square).


View from De La Salle University of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex

Manila has hosted numerous major sporting events. These include the Thrilla in Manila boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975, the 1978 World Basketball Championship , the 1954 Asian Games , the 1981, 1991 and 2005 Southeast Asian Games , the 1919, 1925 and 1934 East Asian Games , and the 1993 Asian Athletics Championships and 2003, the ASEAN ParaGames 2005 and the Chess Olympiad 1992 .

The "Rizal Memorial Sports Complex" (RMSC) built in 1934 is the national sports complex of the Philippines and is considered the oldest sports complex in Asia. It is located on Pablo Ocampo (formerly Vito Cruz) Street in Malate. It is named after the national hero José Rizal . The "Rizal Memorial Track and Football Stadium" is the national stadium of the Philippines and with a capacity for 30,000 spectators the largest stadium in the complex.

Basketball is the most popular sport in the Philippines. The most famous and successful teams from Manila are the Letran Knights , the Mapua Cardinals, the San Beda Red Lions, the San Sebastian Stags and the St. Benilde Blazers. All clubs play in the league of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Philippines (NCAA).

Horse racing, soccer, baseball, and boxing are also common. Sipa (kick) is a Filipino game with a small wicker ball played on Rizal Court in Manila. Diving, boating, swimming, and fishing are popular because of Manila's oceanfront location. There are several courts in town for tennis. There are plenty of opportunities to practice golf and mini golf courses.



Pritil market in Tondo
In the old port

In Manila as well as in large parts of the Philippines you will find numerous open-air markets, as well as in warehouses, where there is a rich selection of fresh vegetables and fruits such as the somewhat peculiar smelling durian . There are also meat markets that are less frequented by tourists . Particularly popular in the Philippines are the so-called “ shopping malls ” based on the western model, in which the range is wide and deep.

Well known in Manila are the “SM City” (SM stands for Shoe Mart) in the Ermita, Malate and Ortigas districts. They are among the largest in the country. Robinsons Place in the heart of Manila is also popular , and in the southern part you will find the "Harrison Plaza", which is one of the oldest shopping palaces in the city. In the “Pamilihan sa ilalim ng tulay” (German: “Market under the bridge”) in Quiapo, the indigenous part of the population sells jewelry, clothes and fake branded clothes.


Manila with the main building of the University of Santo Tomas

Manila is home to major Filipino newspaper publishers with a number of offices and printing plants in the port area. The news industry is one of the legacies of the American colonial era and paved the way for freedom of the press in the country. Some of the most important publications based in Manila, including the oldest newspapers, include the Manila Times , the Manila Bulletin, the Philippine Star, the Manila Standard Today, and The Daily Tribune.

The city is home to a number of news and information offices, agencies or service companies, including the President's Press Office and Radio-TV Malacañang (RTVM) based on the grounds of the Malacañang Palace. The National Press Club building is at the foot of Jones Bridge, near the Post Office, and is home to the International Press Center (IPC), a government agency that issues permits for foreign news agency workers to visit.

Manila is also home to the renowned and exclusive journalists' association "Samahang Plaridel", whose members are among the country's leading publishers, editors and reporters. Agence France-Presse , CNN , Reuters , Associated Press , the Japanese broadcasters NHK and Fuji Television , and the British Global Radio News all have branches in Manila.

Tens of thousands of employees work in Manila for subcontractors of large companies on all social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc. as content moderators. Your task is to check billions of image and video files, which are uploaded every day around the world, and to decide within a few seconds whether they should be kept in the publicly accessible inventory or deleted. Since the work is extremely stressful for the moderators and employees who are not able to cope with the psychological pressure, if they do not get out in time, commit suicide, these companies work in secret and have the employees sign a confidentiality and confidentiality obligation.


Manila is home to numerous universities. Above all, the districts of Malate, Ermita, Paco, San Miguel, Quiapo and Sampaloc are the location of the most important universities in the country.

Among them are the Arellano University , " University of the Philippines , Manila" (UP Manila) and the Philippine Normal University in Ermita, the " Far Eastern University " on Nicanor Reyes Street (formerly Morayta Street), the private Catholic universities Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle as well as the Catholic University of Santo Tomas in Sampaloc, the city's own "Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila" ( University of the City of Manila ) in Intramuros and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines at three locations in the city . Other important institutions are the "Mapua Institute of Technology", a prestigious engineering school, the "Centro Escolar University, Manila", the "San Beda College" and the " University of the East ".

There is also a German European School (DESM) that works closely with the Lycée Français de Manille (LFM). Recognized German language diplomas as well as German school qualifications and university entrance qualifications can be acquired on it, for example the International Baccalaureate .

The " National Museum of the Philippines " (National Museum of the Philippines) in which the Spoliarium the artist Juan Luna is issued, is located together with the National Library of the Philippines (National Library of the Philippines) at the Rizal Park.


Sons and daughters of the town:


  • Peter Bialobrzeski : Case Study Homes , Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern 2009 ISBN 978-3-7757-2469-2 .
  • Dirk Bronger, Marcus Strelow: Manila - Bangkok - Seoul: Regional development and spatial policy in the Philippines, Thailand and South Korea. Institute for Asian Studies, Hamburg 1996, ISBN 3-88910-178-X .
  • Ronald Daus: Manila. Essay on the career of a cosmopolitan city. Opitz Verlag, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-925529-00-4 .
  • Martin Heintel , Günter Spreitzhofer: Manila as a center of urbanization and internal migration in the Philippines. In: Geographische Rundschau 61, Issue 10, pp. 14-19. 2009 Braunschweig: Westermann.
  • Martin Heintel , Günter Spreitzhofer: Metropolitan Region Manila; Demographic and economic aspects of a functional primacy. In: Asia Africa Latin America, Volume 30, No. 1, pp. 31-48. Berlin 2002 - Berkshire: Carfax Publishing, Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Friedhelm Krenz: Rosario. In the slums of Manila. , Bundes-Verlag, Witten 1989, ISBN 3-926417-07-2 .
  • Jürgen Rühland: Politics and administration in Metro Manila. Aspects of the stabilization of rule in an authoritarian system. Weltforum Verlag, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-8039-0199-5 .
  • Ramon M. Zaragoza: Old Manila. Oxford University Press, Singapore 1990, ISBN 0-19-588973-8 .

Individual evidence

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  4. Philippines: Manila City
  5. ^ Temperatures based on 1971–2000 averages, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration
  6. M. Müller, 1983: Handbook of selected climatic stations of the earth . University of Trier,
  7. Almost 300 deaths from typhoon "Ketsana" ( memento from October 1, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), Tagesschau, from September 30, 2009
  8. More and more deaths in the Philippines. In: , October 11, 2009
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  10. Carmen Guerrero Nakpil: Manila Under The Muslims. Malaya, October 29, 2003, accessed December 5, 2008 .
  11. Scott: Barangay
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  13. About Pasay - History: Kingdom of Namayan . In: pasay city government website . City Government of Pasay. Archived from the original on June 18, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2008.
  14. ^ Edgar Wickberg: The Chinese in Philippine Life, 1850-1898. Manila University Press, Manila 2000, ISBN 971-550-352-7 , p. 10.
  15. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica , third edition, Edinburgh 1797, Volume 10, Page 535 (English), accessed on October 5, 2011
  16. ^ The Taft Commission on
  17. University of San Diego: Defeat of Japan 1945 ( Memento of the original from October 15, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  18.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  19. John Paul II. - Biography ( Memento of the original from May 15, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , World Youth Day @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  20. Terror after the hostage drama - Turbulent year 2000. University of Kassel
  21. ^ State of emergency - Philippine police take action against opposition members. In: Der Spiegel , February 25, 2006
  22. World Gazetteer: Population of the Metropolitan Region ( Memento of the original from December 29, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  23. University of Vienna: Metro Manila (PDF; 170 kB)
  24. National Statistics Office: Results from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing ( Memento of the original dated June 4, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  25. a b City of Manila: History, Dialects and Religions ( Memento of the original from March 6, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  26. a b Urban Geography of Manila - Development, Growth, Function.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. University of Mainz@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  27. The ascent of Smokey Mountain. University of Kassel, March 7, 2008
  28. Mercer's 2018 Quality of Living Rankings. Retrieved July 30, 2018 .
  29. About Manila. Sister Cities. (No longer available online.) City of Manila, archived from the original on June 11, 2016 ; accessed on December 22, 2018 (English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  30. Homepage of the Ayala Museum
  31. ^ Entry of the baroque churches in the UNESCO World Heritage List. UNESCO
  32. Entry in the UNESCO Tantaivelist
  33. ^ The Cleaners

Web links

Commons : Manila  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Manila  Travel Guide
Wiktionary: Manila  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations