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Manila Foundation Day – 24 June!


Every year, 24 June is a special non-working holiday in the City of Manila to celebrate the city’s foundation day. The city was established in the year 1571 by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the governor general of the Philippines during that century under the Spanish rule. This year, the city celebrate its 446th birthday. Locally, the holiday is called “Araw ng Maynila”.



The beautiful Casa Manila preserves the architecture of the Spanish era. Visiting this place is like walking back in time and it helps one understand the cosmopolitan lifestyle of Filipinos and Spanish ancestors centuries ago.


Going back in time, on 24 June 1571, the Spanish conqueror, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived in the Philippines from New Spain (now called Mexico). He declared and exercised rule of the the City of Manila as a territory of the New Spain. Prior to this, he established the city council in the district of Intramuros.


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The City of Manila became the capital of the Philippines that time and it is also the second largest city of the country. Manila is located on the east of Manila Bay. It is surrounded by other cities like Navotas and Caloocan on the north side. San Juan and Mandaluyong City are on the east of Manila. Makati City is located southeast of Manila, while Pasay City is on the south.


If you want to see the best of Manila, come and visit places like Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard, Rizal Park and National Museum (at Rizal Park), Manila Ocean Park, Club Intramuros Golf Course, SM By The Bay Restaurants (at SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City) and The Manila Hotel. With regards to historical significance, The Manila Hotel tops the list and has been around even before World War II. Designed by American architect and city planner, William E. Parsons, The Manila Hotel was built during the early period of American colonisation. It was designed and built primarily for the upper class Americans and leaders who were looking for the same comfort and opulence they experienced in Manhattan, New York. Though the years, this hotel is an integral part of the local culture in Manila.




Manila is also the only city in Southeast Asia that is facing west, thus the Manila Bay became popular for its sunset view. In most Asian countries, cities are mostly designed facing the east, probably due to Asian feng shui reasons. However, since most of the first structures in the City of Manila were designed by western architects, (like The Manila Hotel and The Elks Club during the early American era) the city is designed facing west towards the Manila Bay, for military reasons among others.


There are more historical places in the City of Manila like the Walled City of Intramuros, Casa Manila, century-old churches like San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila Cathedral and San Sebastian Church in Manila which was designed by the same person who designed the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel.  


Manila is often the gauge for measuring progress in Metro Manila and the entire country. Life in Manila reflects life in the Philippines as a whole because from here, one can see the entire Philippine archipelago due to the presence of almost all ethnic groups. One also gets a taste of both city and rural life here. However, when geographically talking about Manila, most native Filipinos are often unequivocal about it. They clearly separate Manila from Metro Manila. Hence, when Filipinos use the word “Manila”, they usually refer to the “City of Manila,” not “Metro Manila”.


An Overview of Metro Manila

Keep in mind that Manila (or the City of Manila) is located within Metro Manila. Confusing? Here are more facts to clarify the difference.


In 1941, then President Manuel L. Quezon, in preparation for World War II, created what was called the Greater City of Manila to include the following, among others:

  • Manila
  • Quezon City
  • San Juan Del Monte
  • Caloocan


In 1975, by virtue of Presidential Decree 824 issued by then President Ferdinand Marcos, the Metro Manila Commission was formed with Imelda Marcos, wife of President Marcos, as governor. Other cities were added in the the scope of Metro Manila.


Today, Metro Manila is composed of 16 cities and one municipality, enumerated as follows:

  • Caloocan City
  • Las Pinas City
  • Makati City
  • Malabon City
  • Mandaluyong City
  • Manila (or City of Manila)
  • Marikina City
  • Muntinlupa City
  • Navotas City
  • Paranaque City
  • Pasay City
  • Pasig City
  • Pateros Municipality (not yet a city)
  • Quezon City
  • San Juan City
  • Taguig City
  • Valenzuela City


Thus, the City of Manila is just one of the many cities found within Metro Manila. Metro Manila is also known as National Capital Region (NCR) on the map of the Philippines. Though a newly formed region in the country, Metro Manila compromises old cities, many of which have been around even in pre-Spanish times.



Author: Expatch Editorial Team






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