About Manila

The City of Manila occupies a special place in Philippine political geography, for it is both a chartered town and it meets the functions of a state for the four towns and thirteen municipalities writing its metropolitan area. But, Manila has always been an exceptional case, defying just about every political formula devised to regulate different cities, cities, and states.

Spanish rule of the Philippines

It’s required special laws and governmental systems to rule that, practically from the start of the Spanish rule of the Philippines in the 16th Century up to the present. A relatively new development is the incorporation of all of the cities and municipalities comprising the Manila metropolitan area into a single unit–a “mega-city”–known as “Metro Manila.” It’s regulated as a single unit by a governor, who coordinates its services and functions through a variety of municipal and city officials, very similar to a provincial governor rules many cities. And still, the component cities, states, and municipalities retain their prior jurisdictions.

Manila Tagalog

Manila derived its name from two Tagalog words; “may,” meaning “there is,” and “nilad,” the title of a shrub that initially grew abundantly along the beaches of the Pasig River and Manila Bay. Long before the Spanish conquest, Manila was settled by Mohammedans, who carried on a flourishing trade with Chinese and other Southeast Asian retailers. “Maynilad” was the primary bay settlement of those Tagalogs south of the Pasig River, even though it was probably less important commercially than Tondo, the city on the north shore. Governor-General Legazpi, looking for an appropriate place to set up his capital after being compelled to move from Cebu to Panay by Portuguese pirates, and hearing of the presence of a booming Mohammedan community in Luzon, sent an expedition under Martin de Goiti to detect its place and potentials. Rajah Soliman, then its ruler, was prepared to befriend the Spaniards, but wouldn’t submit to Spanish sovereignty peaceably.Naturally, this was disappointing to the Spanish commander, so after he procured equipment and reinforcements, he assaulted Maynilad in June of 1570.


He captured it after a stout fight, and having formally taken possession of this city in the title of the King of Spain, he returned to Panay.The following year, in 1571, the Spaniards returned, this time headed by Governor-General Legazpi himself. Seeing them approach, the natives set fire to the town, leveling it to the floor, while others fled to Tondo and neighboring cities.After occupying the remains of Maynilad on June 19, 1591, and beginning the building of a fort there,

Rajah Lakandula

Legazpi made overtures of friendship to Rajah Lakandula of Tondo, which this time was sensibly accepted. Soliman, however, refused to submit to the Spaniards, regardless of the wise counsel of Lakandula, whose aid Soliman solicited in an attempt to expel the invaders. Struggling to get Lakandula’s support, in addition to that of the Pampangans and Pangasinan, Soliman gathered together a significant force of Tagalog warriors and attacked the Spaniards in a decisive battle at the town of Bangcusay. With the devastation of Soliman’s military, and the favorable interventions of Rajah Lakandula, the Spaniards were permitted to establish their jurisdiction across the city and its adjoining settlements, and soon several Christian missions were created.Finally, Roman Catholic missions, parishes and schools were created by just about any religious order to come to the Philippines.

Manila Borders

The first priests were Augustinians and secular priests, followed by Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominicans and Augustinian Recollects, with a number of different orders after in later centuries.The principle of the Spanish conquerors of the this “City of Soliman” was filled with risks, because the people were opposed to foreign sovereignty. As a result, the city was often the scene of severe disturbances. The Chinese, angered by the loss of free trade, the business constraints placed by the untrusting Spanish upon them, and the legislation forcing them to pay tribute to Spain, made many attempts to ruin the Spaniards.

The first of those Chinese revolts occurred in 1574, when a force of some 3,000 men and 62 Chinese warships under the command of Limahong assaulted town. As a safeguard against similar uprisings after, the Chinese residents and retailers of Manila were restricted to a distinct district, known as “Parian de Alcaceria.”However, this precaution wasn’t entirely effective, for at different times in the next century, the Chinese rose in revolt. In 1662, they revolted, while in 1686, a conspiracy headed by Tingco plotted to kill all the Spaniards. It’s no surprise, then, to find out at different times during the Spanish era, the Chinese were expelled (or decrees were made to that effect) from Manila and by the whole country.


Later reconciliations almost always allowed the continuation of the Chinese community in town, however.In 1595, Manila was decreed to be the capital of this Archipelago, although it had actually served that function practically from its founding in 1571. Apart from being Spain’s pre-eminent town in the Philippines, and dominant over other provincial capitals, it was itself a provincial funding above a province whose land at the same time covered almost all of Luzon, also included the modern territorial subdivisions of Pampanga, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, Mindoro, Masbate, and Marinduque. Afterwards, these subdivisions were created states, leaving Manila state with a land roughly equivalent to the present Town of Manila appropriate (except Intramurals, the funding website), and the northwestern two-thirds of Rizal province.

The border of Manila state went from northeast to southwest, such as Antipolo, Cainta, Taytay and Taguig, and each the cities north and west of these, in Manila state; and Angono, Teresa, Morong, and the cities south and east of these, in Laguna province. Early in the state’s history, the provincial title was changed from Manila to “Tondo” state, where it had been known for the majority of the Spanish era.In 1762, during the “Seven Years’ War,” the British occupied Manila, staying in town until 1764.


The fleeing Spaniards destroyed several of the records, and at the sack of the town by the British, many historical records of great value were destroyed or stolen by the archives.In about 1853, four pueblos or towns of Tondo state were joined together with the northeastern cities of Laguna province to form the politico-military “Distrito de Los Montes de San Mateo,” or District of the San Mateo Mountains. Tondo province annexed to the new district that the cities of Cainta, Taytay, Antipolo and Boso-Boso, while Laguna donated the cities of Angono, Binangonan, Cardona, Morong, Baras, Tanay, Pililla and Jalajala. However, the name of this new district was unwieldy, too long, and misled many into believing the city of San Mateo (in Tondo state) was the capital of the San Mateo Mountain District, when in fact the district funding was in Morong. In about 1859, following common practice of the day, the district was renamed after its funding; specifically, Morong District. But outwardly it stayed silent until July 7, 1892, once the secret revolutionary organization devoted to the overthrow of Spanish rule of the nation, known as the Katipunan, was organized in Manila’s suburb, Tondo.


Although first skirmishes between the Filipinos and Spanish were short and almost always lost by the Filipinos, the movement grew until open rebellion broke out in 1896, with the Spaniards losing the Philippines into the joint Filipino-American forces in 1898. But Spain ceded the nation only to the Americans, who exerted their hands militarily, beating the Filipinos from the “Mock Battle” of Manila on August 13, 1898. Thereafter, the Americans chased the retreating Filipino forces state by state, until General Emilio Aguinaldo (then president of the Republic) surrendered in Palanan, Isabela, on March 23, 1901. Together with the establishment of the civil authorities, the Philippine Commission dissolved the former state of Manila, and merged its pueblos with those of the District of Morong, forming the new province of Rizal.


A few months later, the Philippine Commission provided for a new charter for the city of Manila, defining its borders, and thus annexing a number of Rizal Province’s cities to town as districts. These boundaries were revised and redefined on January 29, 1902, once the suburb of Gagalangin was annexed into the city district of Tondo, along with the former pueblo of Santa Ana was annexed as a district to Manila City. On July 30 of that year, the town board formally divided the city into 13 political subdivisions named districts, and the boundaries of each were defined.

The boundaries and town districts of Manila City appropriate have remained essentially unchanged ever since. The next New Years’ Day, 1942, President Quezon decreed the merger of the cities of Quezon City, Caloocan, San Juan del Monte, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasay and Paranaque with Manila City to form the town he called “Greater Manila,” into simplify the government of the metropolitan region during the war. Being nearly ruined in the process, the town was liberated from Japanese management in March of 1945 from the combined Filipino-American forces. Soon thereafter, “Greater Manila” was dissolved, and its cities returned to their pre-war status.In 1948, Quezon City was declared the federal capital of the new Republic of the Philippines, thus robbing Manila City of an honour it had held since 1595. On May 29, 1976, President Ferdinand Marcos’ Decree No 940 returned the federal capital to Manila, announcing that “the region embraced as Metro Manila by P. D. 824” was to be the chair of the federal government.Not even a hundredth part of Manila’s rich and long history could be written here. Hence, the reader is referred to other functions for additional information.



Drive 8 km, 23 minutes

Airport Rd, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines
Head east on Airport Rd toward Aurora Blvd
342 m
Turn left onto Aurora Blvd
1.14 km
Turn right onto Epifanio de los Santos Ave/C-4
1.02 km
Take the ramp on the left to Ayala Monumento
444 m
Merge onto Epifanio de los Santos Ave/C-4
3.05 km
Take the exit on the left toward Rockwell/Jp Rizal
650 m
Merge onto Estrella/Kalayaan AveContinue to follow Estrella
524 m
Turn left onto Dr Jose P. Rizal Ave/R-4
1.09 km
Turn left onto E. Zobel
135 m
Turn rightRestricted usage roadDestination will be on the left
84 m

1974 Spring, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
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