Introduction

There are two Manilas: the precolonial polity[1] whose foundations, if there was anything left at all, were buried in memory, and the Spanish “Walled City,” the Manila known as Intramuros. What we commemorate on Araw ng Maynila was the founding of the Spanish Manila. According to National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, it was the “Manila we remember, the Manila of Rizal and the Revolution, the last great creation of Spain in the Philippines.”[2]

Joaquin pointed out that for contemporary Filipinos, the quest to understand Manila places us in a position “like the archaeologists who, searching for the ‘real’ Troy, found seven different Troys, one beneath the other. And we realize how many, many Manilas have come and gone, unknown to us.”

Similarly, the name Manila has changed, leading to debates over which name—Maynila or Maynilad—is the right one.[3]

Before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1570, two polities were situated on the delta at the mouth of the Pasig River, opening up to Manila Bay. The north bank of the river was Tondo, while the south bank (of the present site of Fort Santiago) was Manila. Manila was guarded by a fort with a defensive fence of earth and coconut tree trunks at the point of the delta.[4] At the time, the area served as one of the archipelago’s main ports, where exports were stored and imports were redistributed through a very complex system of trade from the sea to inland.[5] The polities were ruled by three leaders: Ache or Raja Matanda (“old rajah”) and Ache’s nephew, Sulayman, in Manila (the “young raja” who succeeded Matanda after his death in 1572); and Ache’s cousin, Raja Lakandula, in Tondo.[6]

Manila_Rajah_Lakandula

After several unsuccessful Spanish expeditions to the Philippines looking for an alternative route to the Moluccas, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi finally succeeded in establishing a settlement in Cebu in 1565. He then heard of the lucrative trade in Manila Bay and sent Martin de Goiti, a Spanish master-of-camp, to survey the area. Upon Goiti’s arrival, Rajah Matanda and Lakandula agreed to let Goiti stay, but Sulayman refused. One day, the Spanish fired a cannon to signal some messengers to return to the ship, but the Tagalogs mistook this as a sign of aggression and fired their lantakas (bronze cannon).[7] Goiti took the settlement by force, set it on fire, and took the Tagalog lantakas back to Panay, where Legazpi had established his new settlement.[8]

Just as before with Goiti, Raja Matanda and Lakandula welcomed Legazpi upon his arrival in 1571, but Sulayman ordered his people to burn their settlement and flee to Tondo. Assuring the inhabitants of Spain’s good will, and having the leaders declare themselves “his friends,”[9] Legazpi claimed the locale for Spain, formally founding the Ciudad de Manila (the City of Manila) where Sulayman’s settlement had been on June 24, 1571.[10] Philip II of Spain granted Manila the title Insigne y siempre leal (Noble and Ever Loyal City) in 1574, and granted the city its coat of arms in 1596.[11]

Intramuros, the Walled City

Without any stone buildings or walls to protect it, the new city was vulnerable to foreign attacks. For instance, in 1574, the Chinese pirate Limahong attacked and destroyed Manila before the settlers could drive them off. Those who survived the attack had to rebuild the colony.[12] Furthermore, fire posed a serious danger to Manila; a serious fire in 1583 practically burned the whole city to the ground. In 1587, to protect Manila, Captain-General Santiago de Vera ordered that all further structures be made of stone, and that nipa and bamboo be replaced with roof tile and brick. As a result, bahay na bato (“house of stone”) were built all over Manila.[13] The the construction of the stone Fort Santiago, named after the Spanish military’s patron saint James, was ordered built on August 9, 1589.[14]

Intramuros as seen from Manila Bay, circa 1800s. (Photo courtesy of Intramuros Administration)
Intramuros as seen from Manila Bay, circa 1800s. (Photo courtesy of Intramuros Administration)

The walls began construction in 1589 under the tenure of Governor-General Gomez Perez Dasmariñas. Chinese and Filipino workers built the walls of adobe stone while Spanish military engineer and fortification specialist Leornardo Iturriano oversaw the construction. The project was funded by money from a monopoly on playing cards and fines imposed for excessive gaming. It took more than a century to complete the walls. By the eighteenth century, Manila was completely enclosed in walls, hence its name Intramuros (“within the walls” in Latin).[15]

Intramuros became the capital of the Spanish East Indies (Indias orientales españolas), which included the Philippines, Guam, Palau, and the Marianas. The Walled City became the center of political and ecclesiastical power, with the Palacio del Gobernador, the Ayuntamiento and the Manila Cathedral dominating. Initially, only Spaniards were allowed to live in Intramuros while everyone else—Filipinos, Chinese, and other foreigners—lived in the surrounding arrabales (suburbs), like Binondo, San Miguel, and Santa Ana. Non-Spaniards who worked in Intramuros entered the city at dawn and left before midnight when the city gates closed. However, by the latter half of the 18th century, the segregation scheme was abandoned. To escape the heat, wealthy Spaniards moved out of Intramuros to the riverside and bayside suburbs. One such Spaniard was Lúis Rocha, who in the 1750s built his country house in the San Miguel district on the property that would later become the site of Malacañan Palace.[16] Intramuros was no longer a purely Spanish city; In 1794, it had a population of 1,456 Spanish or Spanish mestizos, 7,253 Filipinos, and 1,075 Chinese mestizos.[17]

CAPTION: Plaza Mayor (now Plaza de Roma) in Intramuros in 1851. Palacio del Gobernador, the official residence of the Spanish Governor-General, is seen on the right, while the Manila Cathedral is seen at the center, as left is the Ayuntamiento. From this plaza emanated the political power of Spain over the islands. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Museum and Library)
CAPTION: Plaza Mayor (now Plaza de Roma) in Intramuros in 1851. Palacio del Gobernador, the official residence of the Spanish Governor-General, is seen on the right, while the Manila Cathedral is seen at the center, as left is the Ayuntamiento. From this plaza emanated the political power of Spain over the islands. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Museum and Library)

Intramuros was also the Asian outpost of the galleon trade: raw materials like wood, gold, and wax were loaded onto galleons bound for Acapulco, while Mexican silver passed back and forth. Ships docked in Manila Bay and Cavite brought goods imported from China and other Asian ports. These goods were unloaded and delivered on barges to the Aduana (customs house, later known as the Intendencia) at the mouth of the Pasig River.[18]

As the Spaniards expanded their colonization, the Walled City became part of a large province that encompassed the surrounding arrabales (suburbs), known as extramuros, and 28 other towns, some of which are modern cities in today’s Metropolitan Manila.[19] The province would be known as the Provincia de Manila. Its boundary to the north was the province of Bulacan; to the east, the district of Morong and Laguna de Bay; to the south, the provinces of Laguna and Cavite, and to the West is the Manila Bay.[20]

CAPTION: Sketch of Manila and its suburbs, by Emilio Godínez and Juan Álvarez Arenas, c. 19th century.
CAPTION: Sketch of Manila and its suburbs, by Emilio Godínez and Juan Álvarez Arenas, c. 19th century.

In 1762, two years into the war between the United Kingdom and the Spanish Empire, a fleet dispatched by the British East India Company from India sailed toward Southeast Asia to conquer colonies under the Spanish crown. The fleet was under the command of Rear-Admiral Samuel Cornish and Brigadier General William Draper, and its land forces were comprised of regiments of British soldiers, Royal Artillery, and Indian Sepoys. The “little army,” as Brig. Gen. Draper described it in his journal, arrived in the Philippine Archipelago on September 23, 1762. After a month-long siege, Manila, capital of the colony, was finally conquered by the British, beginning a two-year period of British rule.[21] This was the first time the Spaniards had been ousted from their Asian outpost by a contending power.[22] The British occupation would extend north, incorporating Bulacan, Pampanga, and parts of Ilocos. It would last for two years.

The signing of the 1763 Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Years’ War between the British and the Spanish. However, it was only a year later that Manila and the surrounding provinces held by the British, were turned over to the Spanish Governor-General Simón de Anda y Salazar.

By the 19th century, the Philippines was ruled from Madrid as Mexico had revolted and became independent in 1821. The opening of the Suez Canal and the flow of liberal ideas and the resolute refusal of reforms by the abusive Spanish administration led to growing dissatisfaction on the part of educated and wealthy Filipinos whose national sense had been inspired by the suppression of the Cavite Mutiny and the execution of Filipino secular priests, Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora in 1872. Jose Rizal (1861-1896), a Filipino ilustrado, published two novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, that indirectly fanned the flames of the revolution. By January 1892, plans were made to assemble a secret organization of Filipinos, led by Andres Bonifacio of Tondo, whose goal was independence from Spain. The organization, the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, was formally founded on July 7, 1982 at Tondo, Manila, upon Rizal’s exile to Dapitan.

The Philippine Revolution began on August 23, 1896 (recent scholarship by Jim Richardson, among others, suggests it erupted on August 24[23] [24]), upon the discovery of the Katipunan by Mariano Gil, a Spanish Augustinian curate, on August 19. This resulted in open revolution. The entire Province of Manila, including seven other provinces—Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Pampanga, Morong, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija—were declared under martial law and in a state of war by the Spanish Governor-General Ramon Blanco on August 30, 1896.[25]

By the latter part of 1897, Aguinaldo was forced by advancing Spanish forces to retreat to the mountains of Biak-na-Bato, where he established the headquarters of his government. A peace agreement was finally settled through the Pact of Biak-na-Bato with the Spanish authorities. The pact was signed on December 16, 1897, agreeing for the Revolutionary leaders to go into exile in Hong Kong and surrendering their arms in exchange for reforms, financial indemnities and pardons. The occasion was marked by celebrations in Manila and a Te Deum in the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros. Aguinaldo and his companions departed for Hong Kong on December 24, 1897.

The pact put a temporary end to the conflict. The hope that reforms would be implemented by Spain went unfulfilled since neither side was willing to abandon armed conflict; they were just biding for time and resources. The Spanish administration, meanwhile, did not implement the reforms the Filipinos demanded, such as the secularization of the clergy and Filipino representation in the Spanish Cortes.

Meanwhile, Spain was entangled into a larger conflict upon the destruction of the American warship USS Maine in Havana, Cuba on February 15, 1898. Spain formally declared war on the United States on April 23, 1898; the United States made its own declaration two days later.[26] As the book Malacañan Palace: The Official Illustrated History summarizes, Malacañan Palace, the seat of the Governor General of the islands, was abandoned for Intramuros, as “preparations were made in feverish haste to withstand the American fleet which was known to be in Hong Kong.”[27]

U.S. Commodore George Dewey destroyed the antiquated Spanish fleet in Manila Bay on the morning of May 1, 1898. Commodore Dewey kept the Spanish trapped in Intramuros on the seaside while General Emilio Aguinaldo, who arrived aboard the USS McCulloch from Hong Kong on May 19, resumed the revolution and held the Spanish back on land, encircling them in Intramuros.[28] Thus, Manila was not threatened during the first phase of the revolution.

Finally, on June 12, 1898, the Proclamation of Independence was issued, the national flag and anthem solemnly presented to the people, and a dictatorial government by General Aguinaldo was established. In the proclamation, the Province of Manila was listed as one of the eight provinces that revolted against the Spanish that was represented in the eight rays of the sun on the Philippine flag.[29] Research presented to the Centennial Conference of 1998 suggests that upon the formation of the Philippine government in Malolos, Filipinos went out in droves from Intramuros to join the new republic.

Meanwhile in Manila, rations were running dangerously low for the 70,000 people crammed inside the Walled City, and the constant fear of an impending massacre dealt a harsh blow to the morale of the city’s defenders. By the time U.S. Major General Wesley Merritt came with the rest of the American expeditionary force to take the city after a three-month siege, the Spanish condition had grown desperate.[30] Commodore Dewey negotiated with the Spanish Governor-General Fermin Jaudenes through the Belgian consul, and after a short staged battle, called the “Mock Battle of Manila,” to satisfy Spanish “honor” at Fort San Antonio Abad on August 13, 1898, the Spanish surrendered and the Americans captured Intramuros.[31] This effectively denied the Filipinos Intramuros.

CAPTION: An 1898 Spanish map of Manila (Intramuros) and its surrounding suburbs (arrabales). (Photo courtesy of University of Texas Libraries)
CAPTION: An 1898 Spanish map of Manila (Intramuros) and its surrounding suburbs (arrabales). (Photo courtesy of University of Texas Libraries)

Following the surrender of the Spanish, the Americans immediately turned their attention to keeping General Aguinaldo’s men out of Manila. Filipino forces, who had been told to stay in the suburbs and out of the battle, were furious at being barred from entering the city.[32]

Tensions grew between the Filipino and the American forces. On February 4, 1899, at 8:00 p.m., U.S. Pvt. William Grayson and Pvt. Orville Miller of Company D of Nebraska Volunteers patrolled the area between Barrio Santol and Blockhouse 7 (now corner of Sociego and Silencio streets, in Sta. Mesa) within the Province of Manila.[33] Three Filipinos appeared and Grayson shouted at them to stop their advance. The Filipinos, not understanding English, continued. Grayson then fired at them, killing Filipino corporal Anastacio Felix of the 4th Company of the Morong Battalion under Captain Serapio Narvaez. An exchange of fire ensued along the American lines at Sta. Mesa, beginning the Philippine-American War.

By 10:00 p.m., anticipating the conflict, the Americans were fighting two miles north and west of Pasig River. On February 5, they pushed northward to Caloocan to block the main road to Malolos, the capital of the First Republic. This effectively established American control over the Province of Manila.

On February 22, 1899, President Emilio Aguinaldo led an attack on Manila by burning the wealthy districts of Sta. Cruz, Tondo and Malate. Fire spread to Escolta but was averted. Ultimately the plan failed for lack of coordination and firepower.

The Americanization of Manila

On July 31, 1901, the Second Philippine Commission (known as the Taft Commission, appointed by U.S. President William McKinley) passed Act No. 183, also known as the City Charter of Manila, or the Manila Charter, which patterned the city government after the District of Columbia in the United States. Under Section 4 of the Manila Charter, a Municipal Board composed of three members (of which one would become the president of the board or city mayor) and a secretary, all appointed by the Civil Governor, was placed in charge of the city.[34] Arsenio Cruz Herrera, a pro-American lawyer who had previously represented Manila at the Malolos Congress and became Director of Public Instruction under the Malolos Republic, was appointed as the first Mayor of Manila by William Howard Taft, the first Civil Governor. The rest of the Municipal board was American: Barry Baldwin and William Tutherly, with A.L.B. Davies as secretary.[35]

Act No. 183 also absorbed the suburbs to create a larger City of Manila. Intramuros was no longer the capital city of the Philippines, but one of the eleven districts of the new Manila.[36] The districts of the new Manila were Paco, Malate, Ermita, Intramuros (in the pre-war period, identified by the initials “W.C.” or “Walled City”), San Miguel, Sampaloc, Quiapo, Santa Cruz, Binondo, San Nicolas, and Tondo; Santa Ana and Pandacan were added in 1902.[37] Under Section 65 of the Manila Charter, each of the districts had one representative appointed by the Civil Governor to serve in the Advisory Board, whose duty it was to bring “special needs of the city” to the attention of the Municipal Board.[38] However, relations between the Advisory Board and the Municipal Board were (more often than not) tense, because the former was more inclined to advance local interests while the latter was pro-American.[39]

Spanish influence in the city was still prevalent, from the Catholic churches and schools to Intramuros, which was patterned after a medieval fortress. Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, in her biography, Me, Myself, Elsewhere, she writes of the persistence of Spanish culture in Ermita, Manila, even amidst the backdrop of American influence:

“Our Christmas season was out of sync with the rest of the Anglo-American world that had recently adopted us. We had never heard of Santa Claus, there were no Christmas trees in our houses and the Christmas presents on the day Christ was born came from our godparents (only one or two each and not droves of politicians) as a carryover from baptism. We observed the novena of early morning Masses, midnight Mass and media noche, but the big day (gifts-wise) was January the 6th … .

“The earlier town fiesta, on the seventeenth of December commemorated the yearly campaign, which had been waged for 200 years, consisting of a procession to Intramuros to protest the taking of the image of the Nuestra Señora by Legazpi’s soldiers in May 1571. It was a massive, colorful demonstration, addressed to the Archbishop and the clergy in Intramuros, who had retained the image since and installed it in the Cathedral. Every year, Ermitenses, strewing flowers along the way, marched to Intramuros, pleading for the return of the Virgin and called it Bota Flores (bota being an early form of throw, a pelting of flowers).

“When the image was returned sometime in the 19th century, Ermita continued the tradition of the annual procession within the town, without the march to the Walled City, with the young men in sailor costumes and the girls in Filipino dress … Instead of Santa Claus or ‘Jingle Bells,’ we had authenticity.”[40]

If Manila was to become a destination for American tourists, bureaucrats, and businessmen, the Americans would have to redevelop Manila into a city that conformed to the American way of life.[41]

Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham, who had previously designed the famous Union Station in Washington, D.C., was commissioned to adapt Manila and Baguio to American standards. Burnham set sail for Manila on October 13, 1904, accompanied by his wife, his youngest daughter, his close friend Edward Ayer from Chicago, and his assistant Pierce Anderson. On March 14, 1905, Burnham wrote to a friend about his sojourn in Manila and Baguio:

The dive into the Orient has been like a dream. The lands, the people, and their customs are all very strange and absorbing of interest. It surprises me to find how much this trip has modified my views, not only regarding the extreme East, but regarding our European precedents. It will take time to get a true perspective of it all in my mind … The Manila scheme is very good. The Baguio scheme is emerging and begins to warrant a hope of something unusual among cities.[42]

On February 19, 1905, Burnham returned to San Francisco and immediately devoted his attention to preparing a plan for Manila with Anderson. His goal was to make a city plan “remarkable for its simplicity and its cognizance of Philippine conditions.”[43] By 1903, Manila’s population had swelled to 223,029 people, but Burnham expected this to grow even further once trade and agricultural production increased. He planned a city for a projected population of 800,000.[44] To address this, Burnham’s plan listed the following for improvement: waterfront parks and parkways, the city’s street system, construction of buildings, waterways, and summer resorts.[45] However, as one recent study pointed out, “The plans for Manila … lack solutions for issues such as low-income, housing, poverty, and mobility.”

Because Burnham did not have enough time to see his plans executed, he chose in his stead William E. Parsons, a young architect who had studied at Yale University and the famous École des Beaux-Arts in France. Parsons became Consulting Architect under Act No. 1495 of the Philippine Commission.[46] Among Parsons’ accomplishments in Manila were the Philippine General Hospital, the Manila Hotel, the Army and Navy Club, the Normal School, and the YMCA.[47]

Manila became a city with American enclaves and one whose official civic and social architecture adopted American influences. But, nowhere in Burnham’s plan for the redevelopment of the city did it address the Manila slums, where poor Filipinos were susceptible to fire and epidemics.[48] By 1939, the Manila population had reached nearly one million, exceeding Burnham’s plan.[49]

Meanwhile, Filipinos still aspired for independence. What they fought for in the battlefield in the Philippine-American War, they took on in politics, as Americans opened elections for local government positions to Filipinos. Afterward came a gradual expansion of national legislative representation, beginning with the Philippine Assembly (or Lower House) in 1907, which regularly assembled in the Ayuntamiento building in Intramuros.

It was not until the Jones Law of 1916 that the pledge of eventual independence was made. The legislation led to the creation of an all-Filipino legislature composed of the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives. In 1926, the legislature moved into what was originally intended to be the building of the National Library (according to the Burnham Plan). With a revision of the building design by Architect Juan Arellano, the building became known as the Legislative Building, an iconic structure, next to the Agriculture and Finance Buildings—buildings designed according to the city planning of Burnham. The plan however never pushed through.

CAPTION: Old Legislative Building circa 1930’s. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Museum and Library.)
CAPTION: Old Legislative Building circa 1930’s. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Museum and Library.)
CAPTION: Daniel Burnham’s plan of Luneta (now Rizal Park), animated courtesy of the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines)
CAPTION: Daniel Burnham’s plan of Luneta (now Rizal Park), animated courtesy of the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines)

Manila went on to become the cosmopolitan capital of the country when the Commonwealth of the Philippines was inaugurated on November 15, 1935, with Senate President Manuel L. Quezon elected as President. The Commonwealth, the ten-year transitional government to independence, was the culmination of efforts to secure a definitive timetable for the withdrawal of American sovereignty over the Philippines.


[Video footage courtesy of the Travel Film Archive]

Manila during the Second World War

President Manuel L. Quezon was in Baguio, recovering from an illness, when Executive Secretary Jorge Vargas informed him—at three in the morning of December 8, 1941, Philippine time—of the Imperial Japanese forces’ attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, 2:30 a.m. local time.

At 6:20 a.m., Japanese aircraft attacked Davao. At 8:30 a.m., Baguio and Tuguegarao and Tarlac were simultaneously attacked by the Japanese. By the close of December 8, the Japanese army had bombed airfields in Zambales, Clark Field Pampanga, and Fort McKinley on the outskirts of Manila.

The next handful of days would be marked by the first volley of attacks by Japanese troops. Japanese planes would repeatedly bomb Nichols Field, destroying vital American aircraft on the ground, and the Cavite Navy Yard, heavily damaging the American naval fleet stationed in the Philippines. In Manila, there was widespread paranoia and panic. Evacuation centers were full. while droves of people moved to the provinces.[50]

On December 24, 1941, the USAFFE High Command and the Commonwealth War Cabinet withdrew to Corregidor Island. On December 26, 1941, in an effort to spare further damage to the City of Manila and its civilians, Manila was declared an Open City by Field Marshal Douglas MacArthur. All military installations were ordered removed, as local police was left to maintain order. This was ignored by the Japanese as they still dropped bombs in the city, causing fire and damage.[51] Military units moved to Bataan and the government moved to Corregidor in the last ditch effort to defend Manila Bay while waiting for reinforcements that would never come.

On January 1, 1942, from Corregidor, President Manuel L. Quezon issued Executive Order 400, s. 1942, creating the City of Greater Manila, a precursor to Metropolitan Manila. The Greater Manila encompassed the following cities: City of Manila, the Quezon City, and all the territory comprised in the municipalities of Caloocan, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasay, and Parañaque. The mayors of these cities became assistant mayors of the Greater Manila, with their jurisdiction remaining on their respective cities. This was done in the light of the impending Japanese invasion. Meanwhile, there was a breakdown of peace and order, as looting, accumulation of garbage, and food shortage were experienced by the city population.[52]

The next day, the Imperial Japanese forces occupied the city without resistance, establishing the Japanese Military Administration over Manila and other occupied provinces on the same day.

CAPTION: A cartoon by artist Severino Marcelo portraying the life of city population during the Japanese Occupation, featured in The Sunday Times Magazine dated April 16, 1967. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Museum and Library)
CAPTION: A cartoon by artist Severino Marcelo portraying the life of city population during the Japanese Occupation, featured in The Sunday Times Magazine dated April 16, 1967. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Museum and Library)

The City of Manila would remain under Japanese control until the 1945 Battle of Manila, waged from February 3 to March 3, 1945, which decimated much of the city. The battle, fought by the combined forces of the Filipino guerrillas and the U.S. army, against the Imperial Japanese forces, razed the city to the ground. At least one hundred thousand men, women, and children perished. Architectural heritage was reduced to rubble, thus making Manila the second most devastated Allied capital of World War II, after Warsaw, Poland. William Manchester, historian and author of American Caesar said,

“The devastation of Manila was one of the great tragedies of World War II. Of Allied capitals in those war years, only Warsaw suffered more. Seventy percent of the utilities, 75 percent of the factories, 80 percent of the southern residential district, and 100 percent of the business district was razed.”[53]

[“Liberation: Battle of Manila” video documentary, courtesy of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office]

 

sunday-times-battle-of-manila
CAPTION: A visual 3D map of the destruction of the city during the 1945 Battle of Manila by artist Rodolfo Y. Ragodon, featured in The Sunday Times Magazine dated April 23, 1967. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Museum and Library)

Civil government was finally restored and turned over by Field Marshal MacArthur to President Sergio Osmeña on February 27, 1945, in a solemn ceremony at the Malacañan Palace.

Post-war Manila

After the war, Manila undertook the painstaking task of restoration, as important government buildings were slowly rebuilt. Meanwhile, Intramuros fell into decay, as the old historic quarter was plagued by squatters and container vans, and religious orders sold the sites of their churches, and even the ruins themselves, for sand and gravel. High-rise buildings were also built in disregard of laws following the traditional Spanish architecture. The remaining walls of Intramuros were also quarried for new structures. In 1966, in an effort to restore the historic Manila, the National Historical Institute (now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines) undertook restoration of the walls of Intramuros, with the help of the Intramuros Restoration Committee and the Armed Forces Ladies’ Committee. In 1979, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree 1616, s. 1979, which created the Intramuros Administration to oversee the restoration and maintenance of Intramuros as a cultural and historical landmark.[54]

CAPTION: Exterior walls of the Baluarte of San Diego during its restoration in 1980. (Photo courtesy of Intramuros Administration.)
CAPTION: Exterior walls of the Baluarte of San Diego during its restoration in 1980. (Photo courtesy of Intramuros Administration.)

Manila’s status also changed after the war. On July 17, 1948, President Elpidio Quirino signed Republic Act No. 333, which moved the capital from Manila to Quezon City, as was originally planned by President Quezon.

In 1949, Manila’s mayoralty, which was previously by presidential appointment, became elective by virtue of Republic Act No. 409. The first mayoral election of Manila was held in 1951, with Arsenio Lacson, congressman of the 2nd district, winning the polls. A symbolic focal point of democracy became Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, the country’s foremost public square in the post-war years. A plaza fronting the Quiapo Church, and located no more than a kilometer from Malacañan Palace, Plaza Miranda became the largest venue from which rallyists could be physically close to the residence of the country’s chief executive, whether in loyal support or oppositionist denunciation, providing a political forum of Philippine democracy. The plaza eventually lost its prominence beginning with the bombing of 1971.

On November 7, 1975, President Ferdinand E. Marcos established Metropolitan Manila by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 824, s. 1975. It was created on the precedent of the creation of the Provincia de Manila and the City of Greater Manila. Metro Manila covers the cities of Manila, Quezon City (the nation’s capital at the time), Pasay, Caloocan, Makati (formerly San Pedro de Macati), Mandaluyong, San Juan, Las Piñas, Malabon, Navotas, Pasig, Pateros, Parañaque, Marikina, Muntinlupa, and Taguig and Valenzuela.

A year later, the seat of the national government was moved from Quezon City to “Manila and the area prescribed as Metropolitan Manila” through Presidential Decree No. 940, which was signed on May 29,1976.

Today, Manila remains the capital city of the Philippines, but the administrative and political centers of the national government are spread throughout Metro Manila with the executive (Malacañan Palace) and the judiciary (Supreme Court) both in Manila while the legislative branch is located in two separate locations: The House of Representatives in Quezon City and the Senate in Pasay City.


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Bankoff, Greg, Uwe Lübken, and Jordan Sand, Flammable Cities: Urban Conflagration and the Making of the Modern World. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012.

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Comision de la Flora y Estadistica Forestal, Memoria descriptiva de la provincia de Manila, accessed on June 18, 2015, https://archive.org/stream/memoriadescript00ugalgoog#page/n22/mode/2up

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Legarda Jr., Benito, The Hills of Sampaloc: The Opening Actions of the Philippine-American War, February 4-5, 1899. Makati City: The Bookmark, Inc. 2001.

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Manchester, William, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964. New York: Hatchette Book Group, 1978.

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Torres, Cristina Evangelista. The Americanization of Manila, 1898-1921. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010.

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United Nations, Population Growth and Policies in Mega-Cities. New York: United Nations, 1986. Accessed on June 23, 2015, http://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/Archive/Files/1986_Manila.pdf.

United States Philippine Commission, The act to incorporate the city of Manila, enacted by the United States Philippine Commission, July 31, 1901, accessed on June 22, 2015, https://archive.org/details/acttoincorporate00manirich


Endnotes

[1] Polity, according to archaeologist Laura Junker, is a general term used by scholars to pertain to political entities in Southeast Asia with varying complexities when it comes to political hierarchy, trade relations, and alliances. The term can be applied to chiefdoms or to more complex ones such as kingdoms. Scholars agree that the polities in pre-colonial Manila were chiefdoms.

[2] Nick Joaquin, “The other Manila,” from Rappler.com, accessed on June 22, 2015, http://www.rappler.com/life-and-style/31863-the-other-manila

[3] http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20080625-144587/Pre-Spanish-Manila

[4] Jose Victor Z. Torres, Ciudad Murada: A Walk Through Historic Intramuros (Manila: Intramuros Administration, Vibal Publishing House, 2005), p. 3.

[5] William Henry Scott, Barangay: Sixteenth-Century Philippine Culture and Society (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University, 1994), p. 207.

[6] William Henry Scott, Barangay: Sixteenth-Century Philippine Culture and Society (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University, 1994), p. 192.

[7] Jose Victor Z. Torres, Ciudad Murada: A Walk Through Historic Intramuros (Manila: Intramuros Administration, Vibal Publishing House, 2005), p. 4.

[8] Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803 Volume III, 1569-1576, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13616/13616-h/13616-h.htm.

[9] Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, The Philippine Islands Volume III, (Ohio: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1903), p. 154.

[10] Jose Victor Z. Torres, Ciudad Murada: A Walk Through Historic Intramuros (Manila: Intramuros Administration, Vibal Publishing House, 2005), p. 4.

[11] Jose Victor Z. Torres, Ciudad Murada: A Walk Through Historic Intramuros (Manila: Intramuros Administration, Vibal Publishing House, 2005), p. 5.

[12] Jose Victor Z. Torres, Ciudad Murada: A Walk Through Historic Intramuros (Manila: Intramuros Administration, Vibal Publishing House, 2005), p. 5.

[13] Greg Bankoff, “A Tale of Two Cities: The Pyro-Seismic Morphology of Nineteenth-Century Manila,” in Flammable Cities: Urban Conflagration and the Making of the Modern World, edited by Greg Bankoff, Uwe Lübken, and Jordan Sand (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012), p. 172.

[14] Shirley Fish, The Manila-Acapulco Galleons: The Treasure Ships of the Pacific (Milton Keynes: AuthorHouse UK, 2011), p. 189.

[15] Jose Victor Z. Torres, Ciudad Murada: A Walk Through Historic Intramuros (Manila: Intramuros Administration, Vibal Publishing House, 2005), p. 6.

[16] Manuel L. Quezon III, Paulo Alcazaren, and Jeremy Barns, Malacañan Palace: The Official Illustrated History (Manila: Studio 5 Publishing, 2005), p. 34-35.

[17] Kiyoko Yamaguchi, “The Architecture of the Spanish Philippines and the Limits of the Empire,” in Investing in the Early Modern Built Environment: Europeans, Asians, Settlers and Indigenous Societies, edited by Carole Shammas (Leiden: Brill, 2012), p. 132-133.

[18] Jose Victor Z. Torres, Ciudad Murada: A Walk Through Historic Intramuros (Manila: Intramuros Administration, Vibal Publishing House, 2005), p. 7.

[19] Jose Victor Z. Torres, Ciudad Murada: A Walk Through Historic Intramuros (Manila: Intramuros Administration, Vibal Publishing House, 2005), p. 1.

[20] https://archive.org/stream/memoriadescript00ugalgoog#page/n22/mode/2up

[21] Draper was Colonel in 1762. http://www.kronoskaf.com/syw/index.php?title=1762_-_British_expedition_against_Manila

[22] http://malacanang.gov.ph/the-british-conquest-of-manila/

[23] Milagros C. Guerrero, et al., “Balintawak: The Cry for a Nationwide Revolution,” Sulyap Kultura 2 (1996): 13- 21. Retrieved on May 26, 2014 from http://www.ncca.gov.ph/about-culture-and-arts/articles-on-c-n-a/article.php?i=59

[24] Jim Richardson, The Light of Liberty: Documents and Studies on the Katipunan, 1892-1897 (Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2013), p. 263.

[25] Pedro S. de Achutegui and Miguel A. Bernad, Aguinaldo and the Revolution of 1896, (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1972), p. 13.

[26] David F. Trask, The War with Spain in 1898 (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1981), p. 57.

[27] Manuel L. Quezon III, Paolo Alcazaren et al., Malacañan Palace: The Official Illustrated History, (Makati: Studio 5 Publishing, Inc., 2005), p. 103.

[28] James H. Blount, American Occupation of the Philippines 1898/1912 (Manila: Solar Publishing Corporation, 1991), p. 1.

[29] National Historical Institute, June 12, 1898 and Other Related Documents (Manila: National Historical Institute, 2009), p. 31.

[30] Brian McAllister Linn, The Philippine War 1899-1902 (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2000), p. 23.

[31] James H. Blount, American Occupation of the Philippines 1898/1912 (Manila: Solar Publishing Corporation, 1991), p. 83-85; Brian McAllister Linn, The Philippine War 1899-1902 (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2000), p. 24.

[32] Brian McAllister Linn, The Philippine War 1899-1902 (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2000), p. 24-25.

[33] Benito Legarda Jr., The Hills of Sampaloc: The Opening Actions of the Philippine-American War, February 4-5, 1899, (Makati City: The Bookmark, Inc., 2001), p. 43-47.

[34] United States Philippine Commission, “The act to incorporate the city of Manila, enacted by the United States Philippine Commission, July 31, 1901,” accessed on June 22, 2015, https://archive.org/details/acttoincorporate00manirich

[35] Cristina Evangelista Torres, The Americanization of Manila, 1898-1921 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010), p. 50-52.

[36] Jose Victor Z. Torres, Ciudad Murada: A Walk Through Historic Intramuros (Manila: Intramuros Administration, Vibal Publishing House, 2005), p. 11; Cristina Evangelista Torres, The Americanization of Manila, 1898-1921 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010), p. 52.

[37] Cristina Evangelista Torres, The Americanization of Manila, 1898-1921 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010), p. 77-78.

[38] https://archive.org/stream/acttoincorporate00manirich/acttoincorporate00manirich_djvu.txt

[39] Cristina Evangelista Torres, The Americanization of Manila, 1898-1921 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010), p. 52.

[40] Manuel L. Quezon III, “The Long View: Nakpil’s Gift to the Nation,” quoting Carmen Nakpil’s book Me, Myself Elsewhere, accessed on June 23, 2015, http://www.quezon.ph/2006/12/28/the-long-view-nakpils-gift-to-the-nation/

[41] Cristina Evangelista Torres, The Americanization of Manila, 1898-1921 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010), p. 56.

[42] Cristina Evangelista Torres, The Americanization of Manila, 1898-1921 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010), p. 59.

[43] Cristina Evangelista Torres, The Americanization of Manila, 1898-1921 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010), p. 59.

[44] Paolo Alcazaren, “Blueprint for the City’s Soul,” from Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, accessed on June 23, 2015, http://pcij.org/imag/Yearend2004/city.html

[45] Cristina Evangelista Torres, The Americanization of Manila, 1898-1921 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010), p. 64.

[46] https://archive.org/stream/actsphilippinec00unkngoog/actsphilippinec00unkngoog_djvu.txt

[47] Cristina Evangelista Torres, The Americanization of Manila, 1898-1921 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010), p. 66-67.

[48] Cristina Evangelista Torres, The Americanization of Manila, 1898-1921 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010), p. 70-71.

[49] United Nations, Population Growth and Policies in Mega-Cities, (New York: United Nations, 1986), p. 3., accessed on June 23, 2015, http://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/Archive/Files/1986_Manila.pdf.

[50] Fernando Santiago Jr., “A Preliminary Study of the History of Pandacan, Manila, during the Second World War, 1941-1945,” Manila: Studies in Urban Cultures and Traditions, ed. Bernardita Churchill and Jose Victor Torres, (Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2007), p. 101.

[51] http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/59163276

[52] Fernando Santiago Jr., “A Preliminary Study of the History of Pandacan, Manila, during the Second World War, 1941-1945,” Manila: Studies in Urban Cultures and Traditions, ed. Bernardita Churchill and Jose Victor Torres, (Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2007), p. 107-109.

[53] William Manchester, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964, (New York: Hatchette Book Group, 1978), p. 805

[54] Esperanza Bunag Gatbonton, Intramuros: A Historical Guide, (Manila: Intramuros Administration, 1980), 8.