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Thursday, 17 March 2016


Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi founded Manila, the capital of the Republic of the Philippines on June 24, 1571.

Miguel López de Legazpi

Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world, was established in Manila in 1594 by the Spaniards as a settlement for Catholic Chinese. It was positioned near Intramuros but across the Pasig River so that colonial rulers could keep a close eye on their migrant subjects.

Spanish missionaries started christianizing the city and on January 19, 1607 San Agustin Church in Manila was officially completed; it is the oldest church still standing in the Philippines.

Front view of the historic San Agustin Church . Wikipedia Commons

The Battle of Manila during the Sen Years War concluded on October 6, 1762 with a British victory over Spain, leading to a short British occupation of Manila.

Due to its central location in the Pacific sea trade routes, Manila received the moniker of the "Pearl of the Orient".

The San Sebastian Church in Manila, the only all-steel church in Asia, was officially consecrated on August 16, 1891.

The twin spires of San Sebastian Church

After the 1898 Battle of Manila Spain ceded the surrendered city of Manila to the United States in order to keep it out of Filipino rebel hands.

The first cable across the Pacific Ocean was spliced between Honolulu, Midway, Guam and Manila in 1903.

The first trans-Pacific airmail flight began in Alameda, California in 1935, when the flying boat known as the China Clipper left for Manila. The craft was carrying over 110,000 pieces of mail.

The Japanese invasion of the Philippines started on 8 December 1941, ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After falling to the Empire of Japan on January 2, 1942, Manila was recaptured by joint American and Filipino troops towards the end of World War II.

During the 1945 Battle of Manila most of the city was flattened by intensive aerial bombardment by the United States Air Force and some 100,000 civilians were killed in Manila in February 1945. It was the second most devastated city in the world after Warsaw during the Second World War. As a result, relatively little remains of Manila's prewar and colonial architecture.

The destruction brought about by the Battle of Manila

An estimated 6 to 7 million attended the Concluding Eucharistic Celebration in Luneta Park, Manila on January 18, 2015, ending the 5-day apostolic and state visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines, making it as the largest papal crowd in history.

For the Pope’s visit in 2015, traffic police in Manila were issued with 2,000 nappies so they never had to leave their posts.

Manila is the most densely populated city in the world with 42,857 people per square kilometre.

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