Happy 440th Anniversary City of Manila

440 years ago, the Spaniard conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi led a a force of about 280 Spanish soldiers and 600 allies from the kingdoms in the Visayas to invade the the Kingdom of Maynila. During that time, Maynila is a prosperous kingdom having trade connections with China. The Kingdom of Maynila is under the leadership of Rajah Sulayman, who is the crown prince of the Kingdom. Allied to the Kingdom of Maynila are Rajah Matanda of Sapa and Rajah Lakandula of Tondo.

When Legazpi came with his forces, Rajah Sulayman and his men burned Maynila to the ground and fled. The Spaniards then rebuilt Maynila and made it the capital of the Philippine Colonial Government for more than 300 years. The City of Manila continue to serve as the capital of the whole Philippine nation as of this day.*

Manila is my second home since I spend five days of my week here because of work. Also, this my most traveled place. It seems like that most of my travels where spent traveling the nook and crannies of Manila.

But how do I view this old and at the same time great City? My thoughts are actually mixed. I could say that I am awed but at the same time disappointed by the City of Manila. I am awed because Manila is filled to the brim with history. Manila can be considered as the center of Philippine History because the City experienced all the the stages of our country's history. The City of Manila served a as a glorious pre-colonial kingdom made rich by trade. It then served as the center of Spanish authority and the center of my mother  the Holy Catholic Church not only in the Philippines but also in the whole Asia. Then the City became the center of the Philippine revolution by serving as the birth place of the KKK and notable Filipinos like Andres Bonifacio. American and Japanese invaders respectively used Manila as the capital of their colonies.

It is easy to see the oozing smorgasbord of history and culture as you walk the streets of Manila. The first historical place I visited in Manila is the Paco Park, which is a semi-circular cemetery that was established during the Spanish Era. An American visitor once called Paco Cemetery as the place where “we pigeonhole our dead.”
Fort Santiago, Intramuros
Entrance to Fort Santiago, Intramuros

Then who would miss the walled city of Intramuros? The once beautiful Escolta? The beautiful Manila Cathedral? The grand churches of Binondo or Santa Cruz? The always-full-with-devotees Quiapo Church? The Pontifical University of Santo Tomas? The always-busy Binondo Chinatown? The oh-so-popular Luneta Park? Yes, I visited them all yet I know that I am still missing many historical places around Manila.
Rizal Monument, Luneta Park
Jose Rizal Monument, Luneta Park

Being the center of government, culture and history made the City of Manila to conveniently serve as summary of the disappointments of the Philippine nation. The Filipino people does not care about the environment and this fact shows on the depressing state of City of Manila. The City has smoky air that is too visible when you look at Manila skyline from the sea. The destruction of Philippine rivers and aquatic resources around the country can be mirrored in the filthy state of the Pasig River, the Manila Bay and the numerous esteros inside the City. The old people in my office told me that during their youth, people can still fish and harvest shellfish within Manila Harbor. Fishing is still being done in Manila Bay but the fish that the fishermen are getting are barely enough to feed their families.
fishing for lunch in Manila Bay
A kid fishing for lunch in Manila Bay.

The Philippine government has no concrete plan and development have been haphazard and chaotic. This fact is mirrored by the seeming chaos in the City of Manila. The nation's capital has no comprehensive development plan. Shanties sprouted everywhere. City streets are flooded even after moderate rains. Chaos reign in the streets where jeepneys, buses, private vehicles fight each other to avoid being left behind in the traffic with the uncanny kuligligs (motorized pedicabs) counterflowing and breaking all traffic regulations. Trashes are everywhere making the City look bleak and filthy.
Kawayan Musika or Bamboo Musicians in Manila
Kawayan Musika (Bamboo Music) on Plaza Lacson beside Sta Cruz Church.

I love the City of Manila for its history and its important place in the government. The people in this City is the people who are the people who are similar to me, looking for a living to keep our alive. City of Manila is a great city. It 440 years of existence is a testament to that. My only hope is that the City return to its former glory. I want to see a cleaner and better Manila. I want to see ManileƱos who are proud of their heritage and the rich culture of their City.

Today, the country celebrates the 440th year of Manila. May this day be start of true reconstruction of this City.


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*Information on the history of Manila was obtained from Wikipedia.

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  1. Wow! Congrats to you and all the people of Manila. Public holiday there? Grand celebration? Have fun!

  2. Yes it is a holiday STP. However, celebrations are postponed because of the typhoon.

  3. dapat nga itong ipagdiwang kayat pati bagyo nagsasaya at nagpaparamdam.


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