Theme Week Philippines – Manila

Saturday, 25 January 2020 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  11 minutes

University of Santo Tomas, the oldest existing university in Asia, established in 1611 © Ramon FVelasquez/cc-by-sa-3.0

University of Santo Tomas, the oldest existing university in Asia, established in 1611 © Ramon FVelasquez/cc-by-sa-3.0

Manila, officially the City of Manila, is the capital of the Philippines and a highly urbanized city. It is the most densely populated city proper in the world as of 2018. It was the first chartered city by virtue of the Philippine Commission Act 183 on July 31, 1901 and gained autonomy with the passage of Republic Act No. 409 or the “Revised Charter of the City of Manila” on June 18, 1949. Manila, alongside Mexico City and Madrid are considered the world’s original set of Global Cities due to Manila’s commercial networks being the first to traverse the Pacific Ocean, thus connecting Asia with the Spanish Americas, marking the first time in world history when an uninterrupted chain of trade routes circled the planet. Manila is also the second most natural disaster-afflicted capital city in the world next to Tokyo, yet it is simultaneously among the most populous and wealthiest cities in Southeast Asia.

The Spanish city of Manila was founded on June 24, 1571, by Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi. The date is regarded as the city’s official founding date; however, a settlement has already existed dating back as far as 1258. Manila was also the seat of power for most of the country’s colonial rulers. It is home to many historic sites, some of which were built during the 16th century. Manila has many of the Philippines’ firsts, including the first university (1590), light station (1642), lighthouse tower (1846), water system (1878), hotel (1889), electricity (1895), oceanarium (1913), stock exchange (1927), flyover (1930s), zoo (1959), pedestrian underpass (1960), science high school (1963), city-run university (1965), city-run hospital (1969), and rapid transit system (1984; also considered as the first rapid transit system in Southeast Asia).

The term “Manila” is commonly used to refer to the whole metropolitan area, the greater metropolitan area or the city proper. The officially defined metropolitan area called Metro Manila, the capital region of the Philippines, includes the much larger Quezon City and the Makati Central Business District. It is the most populous region of the country, one of the most populous urban areas in the world, and is one of the wealthiest regions in Southeast Asia. The city proper is home to 1,780,148 people in 2015, and is the historic core of a built-up area that extends well beyond its administrative limits. With 71,263 people per square kilometer, Manila is also the most densely populated city proper in the world.

The city is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay. The Pasig River flows through the middle of the city, dividing it into the north and south sections. Manila is made up of 16 administrative districts: Binondo, Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Paco, Pandacan, Port Area, Quiapo, Sampaloc, San Andres, San Miguel, San Nicolas, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz, Santa Mesa and Tondo, while it is divided into six districts for its representation in Congress and the election of the city council members. In 2016, the Globalization and World Cities Research Network listed Manila as an “Alpha – “global city, while the Global Financial Centres Index ranks Manila 97th in the world.

Manila is a planned city. In 1905, American Architect and Urban Planner Daniel Burnham was commissioned to design the new capital. His design for the city was based on the City Beautiful movement, which features broad streets and avenues radiating out from rectangles. The city is made up of fourteen city districts, according to Republic Act No. 409—the Revised Charter of the City of Manila—the basis of which officially sets the present-day boundary of the city. Two districts were later created, which are Santa Mesa (partitioned off from Sampaloc) and San Andres (partitioned off from Santa Ana).

Manila Bay © Lawrence Ruiz/cc-by-sa-4.0 Manila City Hall © Ramon FVelasquez/cc-by-sa-3.0 Manila Metropolitan Theater, an abandoned art deco building in the heart of Manila © Corteco8/cc-by-sa-3.0 Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat © Ramon FVelasquez/cc-by-sa-3.0 Binondo, established in 1594, is the world's oldest Chinatown © Judgefloro Fort Santiago © Badz Patanag/cc-by-sa-3.0 Intramuros Golf Club © Ramon FVelasquez/cc-by-sa-3.0 Luneta Hotel, an example of French Renaissance architecture © Ramon FVelasquez/cc-by-sa-3.0 National Museum of Fine Arts © Judgefloro Street market at Plaza Miranda © JoRitchChT/cc-by-sa-3.0 University of Santo Tomas, the oldest existing university in Asia, established in 1611 © Ramon FVelasquez/cc-by-sa-3.0
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University of Santo Tomas, the oldest existing university in Asia, established in 1611 © Ramon FVelasquez/cc-by-sa-3.0
Manila’s mix of architectural styles reflects the turbulent history of the city and country. During the Second World War, Manila was razed to the ground by the Japanese forces and the shelling of American forces. After the liberation, rebuilding began and most of the historical buildings were thoroughly reconstructed. However, some of the historic buildings from the 19th century that had been preserved in reasonably reconstructible form were nonetheless eradicated or otherwise left to deteriorate. Manila’s current urban landscape is one of modern and contemporary architecture. Manila is known for its eclectic mix of architecture that shows a wide range of styles spanning different historical and cultural periods. Architectural styles reflect American, Spanish, Chinese, and Malay influences. Prominent Filipino architects such as Antonio Toledo, Felipe Roxas, Juan M. Arellano and Tomás Mapúa have designed significant buildings in Manila such as churches, government offices, theaters, mansions, schools and universities. Manila is also famed for its Art Deco theaters. Some of these were designed by National Artists for Architecture such as Juan Nakpil and Pablo Antonio. Unfortunately most of these theaters were neglected, and some of it have been demolished. The historic Escolta Street in Binondo features many buildings of Neoclassical and Beaux-Arts architectural style, many of which were designed by prominent Filipino architects during the American Rule in the 1920s to the late 1930s. Many architects, artists, historians and heritage advocacy groups are pushing for the rehabilitation of Escolta Street, which was once the premier street of the Philippines. Almost all of Manila’s prewar and Spanish colonial architecture were destroyed during its battle for liberation by the intensive bombardment of the United States Air Force during World War II. Reconstruction took place afterwards, replacing the destroyed historic Spanish-era buildings with modern ones, erasing much of the city’s character. Some buildings destroyed by the war have been reconstructed, such as the Old Legislative Building (now the National Museum of Fine Arts), Ayuntamiento de Manila (now the Bureau of the Treasury) and the currently under construction San Ignacio Church and Convent (as the Museo de Intramuros). There are plans to rehabilitate and/or restore several neglected historic buildings and places such as Plaza Del Carmen, San Sebastian Church and the Manila Metropolitan Theater. Spanish-era shops and houses in the districts of Binondo, Quiapo, and San Nicolas are also planned to be restored, as a part of a movement to restore the city to its former glory and its beautiful prewar state. Since Manila is prone to earthquakes, the Spanish colonial architects invented the style called Earthquake Baroque which the churches and government buildings during the Spanish colonial period adopted. As a result, succeeding earthquakes of the 18th and 19th centuries barely affected Manila, although it did periodically level the surrounding area. Modern buildings in and around Manila are designed or have been retrofitted to withstand an 8.2 magnitude quake in accordance to the country’s building code.

Manila welcomes over 1 million tourists each year (Tourism in Manila). Major tourist destinations include the historic Walled City of Intramuros, the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, Manila Ocean Park, Binondo (Chinatown), Ermita, Malate, Manila Zoo, the National Museum Complex and Rizal Park. Both the historic Walled City of Intramuros and Rizal Park were designated as flagship destinations and as a tourism enterprise zones in the Tourism Act of 2009. Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park, is the national park and the largest urban park in Asia with an area of 58 hectares (140 acres), The park was constructed as an honor and dedication to the country’s national hero José Rizal, who was executed by the Spaniards on charges of subversion. The flagpole west of the Rizal Monument is the Kilometer Zero marker for distances to the rest of the country. The park was managed by the National Parks and Development Committee. The 0.67 square kilometers (0.26 sq mi) Walled City of Intramuros is the historic center of Manila. It is administered by the Intramuros Administration, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism. It contains the famed Manila Cathedral and the 18th Century San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kalesa is a popular mode of transportation for tourists in Intramuros and nearby places including Binondo, Ermita and Rizal Park. Known as the oldest chinatown in the world, Binondo was established on 1521 and it was already a hub of Chinese commerce even before the Spaniards colonized the Philippines. Its main attractions are Binondo Church, Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch, Seng Guan Buddhist temple and authentic Chinese restaurants. Manila is designated as the country’s pioneer of medical tourism, expecting it to generate $1 billion in revenue annually. However, lack of progressive health system, inadequate infrastructure and the unstable political environment are seen as hindrances for its growth.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on LonelyPlanet.com – Manila, Tourism in Metro Manila, Wikitravel Manila, Wikivoyage Manila and Wikipedia Manila. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.








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