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The Sunset City of Manila, Philippines


People who have traveled to Manila, Philippines will fondly remember the wonders of the capital. Located in the eastern coast of Luzon island, Manila catches such a lovely bay which serves as the viewpoint for beautiful sunsets. Truly, the different cultural influences of Manila from the Spanish Era till today mark a diverse yet colorful urban identity of the Philippines.

Manila is the home of over ten million Filipinos. As a major hub of South East Asia, it is regarded as part of the roster of global cities of the world. Yet one can see the humble beginnings of the city that Filipinos adore.

History of Manila, Philippines

Manila is termed after may nilad which is a Tagalog word for “there is nilad” which pertains to the number of different mangroves found near the bay. This local name tells us that Manila was once a deep swampy area that looked over a beautiful bay. Such beauty made a once Islamic settlement into the seat of the Spanish colonizers till today. Situated in along the Pasig River, the Malacanang Palace in Manila houses the greatest Philippine leaders from Spanish masters, to American governors and Philippine presidents. Malacanang is a symbol of a rich state tradition of Manila.

Philippine Architecture in Manila

Manila is also the center of Philippine culture. Tourists are amazed at the walled city found in Intramuros. During the Spanish Era, Intramuros protects the Spanish from the Indios in the Extramuros, or the place outside the wall. The Spanish influence that is consequently influenced by the Moorish and Catholic traditions is still alive in Manila today.

The American period brought in an era of city planning in Manila. Daniel Burnham, the famous city architect of Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., brought his designs and applied it to Manila. The result from these efforts is a beautiful city that emanates from the Pasig River. Today, buildings such as the Post Office, the University of the Philippines, and the Supreme Court were influenced by American architecture. This set a stage for a structural fusion of the Spanish and America in an Oriental country.

Different Places in Manila

Aside from Intramuros and Malacanang, Manila boasts the most numerous cultural and historical landmarks in the Philippines. With these landmarks, Manila mirrored a rich Philippine history.

• Fort Santiago – Known is Spanish as Fuerza de Santiago, which can be interpreted as the force, Fort Santiago is the symbol of military power of Spain over the Philippines. Fort Santiago is part of the walled city of Intramuros. This place lied in the heart of Filipinos as this was the last prison of Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero.

• Luneta – The Rizal Park, locally known as Luneta, is known to be the heart of Manila and of the Philippines. It is the relative point of origin of the kilometer zero to all cities of the Philippines. Once named Bagumbayan (New Town), Luneta is the site of Jose Rizal’s execution. Luneta is adjacent to Quirino Grandstand, which is a popular site for mass gathering during the celebration of Philippine Independence.

• University of the Philippines, Manila – Built by the Americans as the primary learning institution of its colony, the University of the Philippines is the symbol of American policy on education that gave the Philippines one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Though a larger campus in Diliman, Quezon City was built, the Manila campus houses the best medical students in the country. The University became the home of future Filipino presidents and top policymakers of the country.

• Manila Baywalk – The Baywalk is a strip of road that views the famous Manila Bay. A walk in the bay will take you to different Filipinos playing chess, or lovers taking a stroll while watching the sunset. When one talks about Manila, the beauty and splendor of the Manila sunset is not forgotten.

Manila, Philippines is a city that reflects the Filipino identity. It is a result of a fusion of cultures to form a rainbow that can only be appreciated by going to the heart of the city. After the experience, people will keep coming back to Manila.



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