Metro Manila

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The Metro Manila / National Capital Region

Metropolitan Manila (in local parlance Metro Manila , Filipino : Kalakhang Maynila or Kamaynilaan ) or the National Capital Region (NCR) (Filipino: Pambansang Punong Rehiyon ; German: National Capital Region) is the metropolitan region around the city of Manila , the capital of the Philippines , and at the same time a region on the main Philippine island of Luzon . Its total population is 12,877,253 people (census August 1, 2015). It is one of a total of twelve metropolitan regions in the Philippines . It includes the actual City of Manila, 16 other cities ( Caloocan North, Caloocan South, Las Piñas , Makati , Malabon , Mandaluyong , Marikina , Muntinlupa , Navotas , Parañaque , Pasay , Pasig , Quezon City , San Juan del Monte , Taguig , Valenzuela ) and the parish of Pateros . Metro Manila is the country's political, economic, cultural and industrial center.

Cities, municipalities and administration

Cities and municipalities of the National Capital Region

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 . By the "Presidential Decree No. 940" on June 24th, 1976 Manila regained its status as the capital of the Philippines. Quezon City was, together with Manila and at that time 11 other cities (13 in total), part of the National Capital Region (NCR), also called Metro (politan) Manila. Various government officials remained in Quezon City, including the Batasang Pambansa (former parliament of the Philippines), and ultimately the House of Representatives .

The capital region is administered by the "Metropolitan Manila Development Authority" (MMDA), whose executive body 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-ranking body of officials and reports to the President of the Philippines. The council passes laws, sets the property tax and allocates the financial resources to the individual departments of the city administration.

In addition to the metropolitan area of ​​Metro Manila, also known as the National Capital Region (NCR), which extends over an area of ​​638 square kilometers with its 14 districts of the capital and 16 other municipalities, even larger areas around Manila are called Greater Manila Area (GMA) or Mega Manila Region (MMR), which also contain various provinces. However, there are no official definitions for these terms.

Population development

While fewer than 100,000 people lived in the city of Manila in 1876, this number grew steadily and in 2007 was 1.7 million. Due to the narrow city limits, the population increase has slowed down significantly, this is now mainly taking place in the suburbs, so that Metro Manila now has 12.9 million inhabitants. For the year 2050, a further increase in the number of inhabitants to over 23 million is expected.

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 neighboring countries. The result is a conglomerate of people from different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.

Population development in the metropolitan area of ​​Metro Manila according to the UN

year population
1950 1,544,000
1960 2,274,000
1970 3,534,000
1980 5,955,000
1990 7,973,000
2000 9,958,000
2010 11,887,000
2017 13,272,000

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

Data from the August 1, 2015 census
City / municipality Residents Area in km² Inhabitants / km²
First District (Manila City)
Manila , city 1,780,148 38.55 46.178
Second District (Northeast Metro Manila)
Mandaluyong , city 386.276 11.26 34,305
Marikina , city 450.741 33.97 13,269
Pasig , town 755,300 31.00 24,365
Quezon City , city 2,936,116 161.12 18,223
San Juan , city 122.180 5.94 20,569
Third District (Northwest Metro Manila)
Caloocan , city 1,583,978 53.33 29,701
Malabon , city 365.525 15.76 23,193
Navotas , city 249,463 10.77 23.163
Valenzuela , city 620.422 44.58 13,917
Fourth District (Southern Metro Manila)
Las Piñas , city 588,894 41.54 14,177
Makati , city 582,602 21.57 27.010
Muntinlupa , city 504.509 46.70 10,803
Parañaque , city 665.822 47.69 13,961
Pasay , town 416,522 19.00 21,922
Pateros , parish 63,840 2.10 30,400
Taguig , city 804.915 53.67 14,997
Metro Manila 12,877,253 638.55 20,166

Living situation

Slum in Manila

The dynamism caused by the immense population pressure since the middle of the 20th century resulted in an uncontrolled expansion of the Manila agglomeration . The planning could not keep up with these changes. Informal settlements ( squatter camps ) arose daily on the periphery . 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-storey 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 emerged from structural decay and neglect of the previous residents.

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.


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

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

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 monsoon . Heavy rains repeatedly lead to flooding during the monsoons.

Typhoons also frequent the city. Typhoons are among the most serious natural disasters in Manila. Often they cause severe destruction 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 known history. The previous record of 334.5 millimeters in 24 hours was measured on June 7, 1967.

Economy and Infrastructure


Skyline of Makati, the financial center of Metro Manila

Metro Manila (statistically known as the National Capital Region or NCR) is the financial, commercial, and industrial center of the Philippines. The region generates 32 percent of the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP). In 2005, according to the auditing and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers , Metro Manila was the 42nd richest metropolitan area in the world with a GDP of 108 billion US dollars. The region is expected to reach a GDP of $ 257 billion and an annual growth rate of 5.9 percent by 2020, which could move it up to 30th place.

In the metropolitan region, an export-oriented industry (especially in the textile and electronics industry) is predominant. The main export goods are electronics, machines and means of transport. The main export port of the Philippines is the port of Manila. The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), the largest exchange in the country, is based in Makati .

Due to the widespread use of English, there is a very strong service sector. There are especially many call centers that work for American companies. Other service branches are accounting and software development, as Filipino university graduates are very well trained in these areas, but still have quite low salaries.

There is a strong economic contrast between a small, rich upper class and the broad majority of the population. In Manila there is on the one hand the clean and safe skyscraper city of Makati with the banking center of the Philippines and numerous international companies, on the other hand there are also many extensive slums without adequate water and electricity supplies.

As in much of the Philippines, there are numerous open-air markets in Manila, as well as in warehouses, where you can buy everything, especially a rich selection of fresh vegetables and fruits and seafood. There are also meat markets that are less frequented by tourists.

Particularly popular in the Philippines are the air-conditioned "shopping malls" (shopping centers), of which there are several in Metro Manila. The various "SM Malls" (SM stands for Shoe Mart) are known, for example. B. in the districts of Ermita, Malate and Ortigas. In the heart of Manila there is the popular Robinsons Place and one of the oldest shopping centers in Manila, the "Harrison Plaza". In Makati you can find the “Glorietta” Mall in the Ayala Center with the neighboring, exclusive “Greenbelt” Mall. In 2006 the SM Mall of Asia opened at the southern end of the EDSA in Pasay City on a newly reclaimed area of ​​20 hectares on Manila Bay . With 600 shops, 150 restaurants, 5,000 parking spaces and a floor space of around 400,000 square meters, it is one of the largest shopping centers in the world.


Road traffic

Jeepney on a street in Manila

Highways connect Manila with all major cities on the island of Luzon. The most important and busiest streets of the capital region, are ten radial roads ( "radial roads") leading from the center to the surrounding cities and provinces, and five ring roads ( "Circumferential roads"), the half-circles around Manila form.

Roxas Boulevard is the most famous of Manila's streets and runs along the Manila coast. The boulevard is part of Radial Road 1 and runs south to the province of Cavite . Another well-known radial street is España Boulevard (part of Radial Road 7), which starts in Quiapo and ends on the border with Quezon City. The Sergio Osmeña Highway (formerly South Super Highway), part of the South Luzon Expressway or Radial Road 3, is the main highway between Manila and the southern provinces of Luzon.

The best-known ring road is Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), which, as a mostly ten-lane street, surrounds the city center of Manila in a large arch. It runs from its southern end, today at a roundabout in front of the Mall of Asia , through the cities of Pasay , Makati , Mandaluyong , Quezon City to its northern end at the roundabout at the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan . For almost the entire length of the EDSA, line 3 of the MRT runs along the same route, mostly between the two lanes.

The streets of Metro Manila, especially the major arteries, suffer from chronic congestion. Around 40 percent of all vehicles registered in the country run in Metro Manila. Omnibuses and jeepneys account for 70 percent of daily passenger transport, private vehicles for 30 percent, which, however, make up 72 percent of the total vehicle fleet. The traffic with electrically operated and environmentally friendly trolleybuses started in 1924, but stopped again in 1955.

The current traffic situation can be called up at any time on the MMDA website.

The most important means of public transport are on the one hand buses, which are available in various price and quality ranges (e.g. with air conditioning), and on the other hand the jeepneys . These minibuses, often elaborately painted and decorated, often with Christian inscriptions, are considered a typical Filipino means of transport, not only in Manila. They are problematic because of their often poor technical condition and the associated exhaust gases. Because of the relatively high prices, the numerous taxis are the means of transport for the middle class .

For shorter distances, mostly on back roads, the Filipino take tricycles . These are mopeds with sidecars, with a top speed of around 40 kilometers per hour, which are designed for the transport of up to four people including the driver (but can often be observed with many more passengers). Tricycles are the cheapest means of transport, apart from the pedicabs ( cycle rickshaws ) that are still available .

Rail transport

PNR station "Tayamun"
Train of the LRT1 line enters the EDSA station

The railroad system in the Philippines is underdeveloped and today essentially consists of a single national railway line operated by the PNR. This connects Manila with San Fernando (province of La Union ) and San Jose City (province of Nueva Ecija ) in the north, as well as Batangas City (province of Batangas ) and Legazpi City (province of Albay ) in the south of the island of Luzon. The Philippines' first rail line from Manila to Dagupan ( Pangasinan Province ) opened on November 24, 1892. The Manila Railroad Company (MRR) was founded on February 4, 1916, and renamed Philippine National Railways (PNR) on June 20, 1946 .

On October 20, 1888, the first horse-drawn tram opened on the Manila-Malabon route. A total of five lines with a length of 16.3 kilometers were built between 1885 and 1889 and operated by the "La Compaña de Tranvias de Filipinas".

The first electric tram ran on April 10, 1905. In the 1920s, 110 cars were in use on 17 lines with a length of 53 kilometers. The network was operated by the “Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company” (Meralco). Traffic had to be stopped in 1944 during the Japanese occupation in World War II.

An elevated railway network , which was built with German support, among other things, is rudimentary. The Manila Light Rail Transit (LRT), which went into operation in 1984, with line 1 running in north-south direction and line 2 running in east-west direction form with line 3 of the Manila Metro Rail Transit (MRT), which largely the ring road Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) follows, the light rail system of the Philippine capital.

The authorities in Manila have recognized that public transport like this elevated train can make a significant contribution to reducing road traffic and are accelerating the expansion of the rail network. For reasons of cost and space, the planners set the route on concrete stilts in the middle of large boulevards; the lines therefore follow major arteries in the region. More lines are planned, but the city lacks the money to quickly implement the ambitious plans.

Air traffic

Check-in hall in Manila Airport

The original Manilas airport was still in Makati from 1937 to 1948, today's streets Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas formed the runways of the airport "Nielson Field". In 1948 it was moved to Parañaque City and since 1987 has been called "Ninoy Aquino International Airport". Today it is divided into three separate handling areas :

  • Domestic Airport (or Domestic Terminal ): serves the national air traffic
  • NAIA (also Terminal I ): serves international air traffic, except for flights with Philippine Airlines (PAL), these have their own terminal
  • NAIA II (also Centennial Terminal ): is the home airport of Philippine Airlines, for both domestic and international flights

There are regular shuttle buses / services between the check-in halls. The airport is located a little outside of Manila, but in the metropolitan area of ​​Metro Manila, in Parañaque, south of Baclaran. It is the seat of over 30 airlines that fly to over 26 cities and 19 countries. In 2007 the airport handled 17.9 million travelers and 171,913 aircraft.

environmental issues

Garbage dump in Payatas
Garbage collector

Manila is one of the cities in the world with the highest levels of air pollution. This exceeds the permissible limit values ​​of the World Trade Organization (WTO) by three times. The high content of fine dust is the biggest problem. The causes lie in the numerous factories and power stations as well as in traffic and waste incineration.

7,000 tons of waste are produced in the capital region every day. In 1995 the city of Manila closed a more than 50 meters high garbage dump ("Smokey Mountain") directly at the harbor and cleared the neighboring slum with around 20,000 people who lived on the garbage dump. Today one of Metro Manila's largest landfill sites is in Payatas, Quezon City. 40,000 people live and work here on and off the garbage dump. On July 10, 2000, the mountain of rubbish collapsed after heavy rains during the monsoons and destroyed the huts of the garbage collectors standing close to the mountain. In total, the accident claimed at least 218 deaths and 300 families were left homeless.

Clean water and inadequate disposal and purification capacities for sewage, exhaust gases and waste are also a problem. The water supply situation in households has hardly improved since the 1970s, which is why only a few households have sewage disposal. The Pasig in Manila is a sewer and biologically dead, as unfiltered sewage, household waste and industrial waste are dumped into the river here every day. This pollution continues in Manila Bay. Garbage, trees and other debris, even animal carcasses, are washed into the sea by the rivers and the rains, turning the bay's water into a brown, sometimes unpleasant-smelling broth. Tree trunks, plastic bags and similar rubbish are even a threat to smaller ships as they can damage the hull and propellers. Only outside the bay do the pollutants dilute and the water becomes clear again.

Public buses, jeepneys, and private cars are the major contributors to air pollution. The emission of carbon dioxide is increasing rapidly as a result of advancing industrialization and a steadily growing volume of traffic and energy demand. The consequences are respiratory and skin diseases among the population of Manila. Every year 2,000 people die from the effects of environmental pollution. The inadequate technical systems in the factories repeatedly lead to impairments. Government programs to curb pollution have so far been unsuccessful. The main causes are the lack of control, lack of financial resources and widespread corruption .

Culture and sights

Music and theater

The capital of the Philippines is a cultural hub and attracts artists of classical and modern Filipino music, dance and theater arts from across the country. The region is home to numerous bars and music clubs, which are mainly concentrated in Malate and Roxas Boulevard in Manila as well as in Pasay, Makati, Quezon City.

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 in Pasig City. 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.


  • 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
  • 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

Individual evidence

  1. a b 2015 Population Counts Summary. In: Retrieved June 13, 2019 .
  2. ^ Building Globally Competitive Metro Areas in the Philippines. (pdf; 199 kB) In: Devpulse. National Economic and Development Authority, August 30, 2007, archived from the original October 4, 2013 ; Retrieved September 20, 2010 (English, Vol.XI No.2): "Among the 12 metropolitan areas in the country [...], Metro Manila contributes the most to the national economy."
  3. Official website of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority ( Memento of the original from April 7, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Population of the cities of Metro Manila ( Memento of the original from March 23, 2010 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. , National Statistics Office @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. City population 2050 | Sustainability Today. Retrieved July 24, 2018 .
  6. World Urbanization Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Retrieved July 23, 2018 .
  7. Metro Manila , University of Vienna (PDF; 170 kB)
  8. a b c 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 /  
  9. Almost 300 deaths from typhoon "Ketsana" ( memento from October 1, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), Tagesschau from September 30, 2009
  10. More and more deaths in the Philippines , of October 11, 2009
  11. Flood blamed on record rainfall , Manila Bulletin, September 28, 2009
  12. UK Economic Outlook March 2007  ( 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. , PricewaterhouseCoopers@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  13. ^ The World's Largest Malls , Forbes
  14. World bus list , Společnost pro veřejnou dopravu (PDF; 636 kB)
  15. ^ Metro Manila Traffic Navigator
  16. Brief history of PNR ( Memento of the original from February 19, 2015 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. , Philippine National Railways @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  17. The Metro Manila MRT System - A Historical Perspective ( Memento of the original from May 5, 2006 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. , Japan Railway & Transport Review (PDF; 826 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  18. ^ Light Rail Transit Authority
  19. Metro Rail Transit Corporation ( Memento of the original from March 25, 2012 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 /
  20. Top 100 Airports ( Memento of the original dated February 8, 2011 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. , Air Transport News @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  21. ^ The ascent of Smokey Mountain , University of Kassel, March 7, 2008
  22. Justice plea over dump collapse , BBC, August 22, 2000
  23. ^ A clean environment as a luxury good - Manila's fight against rubbish , Deutsche Welle, December 28, 2006

Coordinates: 14 ° 35 '  N , 121 ° 0'  E