travelgrove Travel Guides

Manila History, Philippines

Manila in Brief Retrospect

The city of Manila which is today the capital and prime city of the Philippines actually began as a Muslim settlement in the mid 16th century. Although the city today is home to the Archdiocese of Manila and is largely known for its Christian Catholic churches, cathedrals and predominant Roman Catholic population, early Manila was ruled over by three rajahs and was recognized by sultanates from other regions such as those in Brunei and Sulu. The name Manila was derived from its earliest moniker Maynilad giving reference to a flowering mangrove common to the area the Nilad.

The Spanish Take-over in 1570

The three rajahs Rajah Sulayman Rajah Lakandula and Rajah Matanda all had their respective jurisdictions among the areas near the Pasig River. In 1570, however the Spanish conquistadors ordered the occupation of Manila. This prompted the more than three centuries rule of Spain over the Philippines. Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi organized the conquest although it was his secondary, Martin de Goiti who marched into Manila and successfully defeated the locals with his escort of approximately three hundred Spanish soldiers.

It was in 1959 that Spain proclaimed Manila as the capital of the Philippines and the primary location for trading connections. A year after Martin de Goiti barged into Manila in 1570; Miguel Lopez de Legazpi followed into Manila and peacefully established a formal city council. This included mayors, councilors and a secretary. Intramuros, a walled city was built to isolate the Spanish from the rest of the locals.

The Filipino guerillas vs. American forces

For a brief period Manila was occupied by the British forces. This took place beginning the year 1762 and ended shortly in 1764. American forces fought with the Spanish colonizers and the Filipinos to occupy Manila in the year 1898. This was the time of the Spanish-American war and the accompanying Philippine-American War. Spain was defeated and the Americans soon took over Manila and the rest of the Philippines islands.

The Filipinos however refused to be subjected to another foreign conquest after having won the battle against Spain. This was the time when the First Philippine Republic was proclaimed by Emilio Aguinaldo at the Malolos Congress. Aguinaldo led the guerilla forces, which fought against the American soldiers that were by this time the new colonizers. However, the poor Filipino guerillas were quickly defeated by the well-armed Americans.

Finally, in the Treaty of Paris the Philippine islands were officially handed over to America. This treaty took place in the year 1898.

The long-deserved liberation

The American military finally abandoned their posts in Manila on 30 December 1941. In order to mitigate the destruction and loss being experienced by the city during the Second World War, President Manuel L. Quezon proclaimed Manila to be an open city. When the Philippine Executive Commission was initiated to govern over Manila, the city was expanded to include other districts. This was also the period when smaller municipalities like Las Pinas Malabon Mandaluyong Paranaque and Makati were created as part of Manila. The Battle of Manila in 1945 in which American Japanese and Filipino forces took part, severely devastated the city but finally earned Manila its long-awaited liberation.

Ask our travel experts a question about Manila

Things about Manila you may be interested in


Read our members' reviews about Manila

  • ultimatetravelShort vacation in Manila
    review by ultimatetravel posted more then 30 days ago
    It was never on plan that my husband and I are going to Manila. It was out of necessity. Since we are planning to get married at that time and we think we can process some papers here in Cebu at the Consul but however due to some circumstances out of our hands we never did. The consul was out of...
  • ultimatetravelMy Airplane Trip to Manila
    review by ultimatetravel posted more then 30 days ago
    We booked our flight going to Manila for a 2am flight. My husband who is really very keen on following rules, policies etc said we should be there 2 hours before our flight. So we rode a taxi going to the airport and arrived around 12 midnight. Wow I was really amazed, only a number of people are...
  • ultimatetravelExperiences of a Manila trip
    review by ultimatetravel posted more then 30 days ago
    Place Manila is the capital of Philippines. Such a very huge city. I never seen anything like it. It has a lot to offer to every person who comes and visit the place. The roads are huge It can fit around 3-4 cars, if I remember it rightly. There are even huge buildings with beautiful facade and...
view all

Read our members' travel tips about Manila

No travel tips have been added yet for this category. Be the first to add a new one.


Members Who Have Been to Manila

Community Galleries About Manila

Browse our members' Manila galleries to get a better impression of the place
show alladd gallery
the best travel deals provided by TravelZoo...
  •$862China Air flightChina Air
    Seattle, WA (SEA)  Manila, PH (MNL)
    09/11/2024 01:40 am
    Manila, PH (MNL)  Seattle, WA (SEA)
    09/24/2024 04:45 pm
  •$1248All Nippon Airways flightAll Nippon Airways
    Reno, NV (RNO)  Manila, PH (MNL)
    07/30/2024 06:00 am
    Manila, PH (MNL)  Reno, NV (RNO)
    08/10/2024 09:10 am
  •$1423Multiple Airlines flightMultiple Airlines
    Burbank, CA (BUR)  Manila, PH (MNL)
    08/02/2024 08:44 am
    Manila, PH (MNL)  Burbank, CA (BUR)
    08/14/2024 05:45 am

Manila City Ratings

  • Rating94%
    City Rank54
  • History & Culture: rated for 100%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 100%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 100%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 100%
  • Food: rated for 100%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 50%
  • Shopping: rated for 100%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 100%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 100%
Manila is one of the "must visit" tourist destinations in the world. This rank is based on what other travelers shared about their experiences in Manila
ToolsBookmark and Share

Popular destinations

   Welcome to Travelgrove  register tell a friend bookmark it