Manila. The capital city of the Philippines, and the political, economic as well as cultural center of the land. One of the original Global Cities of the World (the other two are Madrid and Mexico), it serves as home to more than 12 million people, and is the location of some of the country’s oldest structures as well as the world’s oldest Chinatown – in existence since 1521.
It has been witness to the first instance of trade globalization through the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade route from 1565 to 1815. It has also been witness to many insurrections, revolts, several foreign occupations and two World Wars.
Today, we celebrate Araw ng Maynila, the anniversary of its proclamation as the capital city by Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. who built the walled city of Intramuros upon the ruins of Rajah Soliman’s fort.
As it enters its 444th year– give or take a couple of hundred, if you take into consideration the fact that it was already the bustling Kingdom of Maynila in the latter half of the Ming Dynasty– it’s fairly understandable that the city known as the Pearl of the Orient is a little worse for wear. Dirty, polluted, and definitely congested, it has definitely lost some of its sparkle.
The rich lustre of this pearl has not totally faded in this day and age, however.
At present, Manila and its sixteen territorial districts still serve as home to many of the most important institutions in the land. Historic edifices are still very much alive, side by side with growing buildings that are a testament to a bustling, thriving city. On its shores can still be viewed the most spectacular sunsets, no less splendid than they were centuries ago. The streets are still filled with music and color– and most importantly, life.
We believe it will never fade out. More and more people are discovering and rediscovering the treasure that is Manila. With its rich history, warm people, and unique culture, through people, business and a government that refuses to let go of their heritage, we may find that Manila is still not yet done with history, and is still making it every single day.