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Manila


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The City of Manila or simply Manila, is the capital of the Philippines and one of the municipalities that comprise Metro Manila. The city is located on the eastern shore of Manila Bay on Luzon, the country's largest island.

Metro Manila is the hub of a thriving metropolitan area home to over 20 million people. The Metro Manila area also known as the National Capital Region (NCR), of which the City of Manila is a part, is a much bigger metropolis consisting of 17 cities and municipalities.

Manila is the second most populous city proper in the Philippines, with more than 1.6 million inhabitants. Only nearby Quezon City, the country's former capital, is more populous. Manila is currently included in the roster of global cities of the world.

Manila got its name from may nilad, Tagalog for "there is nilad," in reference to the flowering mangrove plant that grew on the marshy shores of the bay. In the 16th century, Manila (then Maynilad) grew from an Islamic settlement on the banks of the Pasig River into the seat of the colonial government of Spain when it controlled the Philippine Islands for over three centuries from 1565 to 1898. Beginning in 1898, the United States occupied and controlled the city and the Philippine archipelago until 1946. During World War II, much of the city was destroyed. The Metropolitan Manila region was enacted as an independent entity in 1975. Today, the city and the metropolis thrive as an important cultural and economic centre. However, overpopulation, traffic congestion, pollution, and crime challenge the city.

With a population of 1,660,714 (2006) and a land area of 38.55 km², it has the highest population density of any major city in the world with 43,079 people/km². A million more transients are added during daytime as students and workers come to the city.

Manila's population density dwarfs that of Paris (20,164 inhabitants per km²), Shanghai (16,364 people/km²), Buenos Aires (2,179 people/km²), Tokyo (10,087 people/km²), Mexico City (11,700 people/km²), and Istanbul (1,878 people/km²).

Every district in the city with the exception of Port Area has its own public market, locally called the pamilihang bayan or Palengke. Public markets are often divided into two, the dry goods section and the wet goods section. Commerce in these public markets is lively, especially in the early morning. Under the urban renewal program of the incumbent administration, some of the public markets had been refurbished and given a fresher look, like the Sta. Ana public market. It is one of the more advanced markets in the city featuring a modern 2-story building with an escalator.

The tropical climate in Manila plus the facilities of its world-class malls continue to attract Filipinos to the shopping malls. Modern shopping malls dot the city especially in the areas of Malate and Ermita. SM City Manila, part of the country's largest chain of malls, stands behind the Manila City Hall, while the original SM Department store still operates in Carriedo in Sta. Cruz while another called SM Centrepoint is located north east of the city in Sta. Mesa close to the Quezon City-San Juan boundary. One of the popular malls that lies at the heart of Manila is Robinson's Place Ermita. In the southern part of the city in Malate district is Harrison Plaza, one of the city's oldest shopping malls.

For the adventurous shoppers, you may venture beyond the hotel/shopping complex package and combine other interesting destinations for cheap buys such as in Divisoria and Quiapo districts. Bargaining is the major part of your shopping experience when you pass by on these areas, as it sells goods at rock-bottom prices. In Divisoria, there is already a shopping mall that caters to the adventurous shoppers. Tutuban Center in Divisoria gives a little comfort to the shoppers as it offers air-conditioned mall, but the price of the goods here is still very similar to the goods bought outside. In Quiapo, one unique spot is the marketplace under the bridge. It sells indigenous Filipino crafts and delicacies. Raon Center is famous for its cheap electronic products. Though through the changing times, department stores began sprouting the Quiapo area, but still the flea market of Quiapo is still vibrant and very much popular among the average Filipinos. Photo and video enthusiasts looking for cheap equipment can proceed to R. Hidalgo street in the Quiapo district.

There was a brief British occupation of Manila from 1762-1764 as a result of the Seven Years' War, which was fought between France and England. Spain became a British enemy when it sided with France due to ties between their royal families. The British Occupation was confined to Manila and Cavite while Simón de Anda y Salazar, acting as a de facto Spanish governor general, kept the countryside for Spain with the help of Filipino soldiers. The Indian soldiers known as Sepoys, who came with the British, deserted in droves and settled in Cainta, Rizal, and explains the uniquely Indian features of generations of Cainta residents. French mercenaries who came with the British also settled in various locations around Manila.