Friday, June 24, 2005


In commemoration of my favorite city's birthday, i would like to veer away from using the official logo and would like to remind Manilans of its proud past as a Royal City.

Escudo of the ever loyal and noble courtesy of Felipe II

Manila began as a Muslim settlement at the mouth of the Pasig River along the shores of Manila Bay. The name came from the term maynilad, literally "there is nilad." Nilad is a white-flowered mangrove plant that grew in abundance in the area.

In the mid-1500s, the areas in present-day Manila was governed by three rajahs, or Muslim community leaders. They were Rajah Sulayman and Rajah Matanda who ruled the communities south of the Pasig, and Rajah Lakandula who ruled the community north of the river. Manila was then the northernmost Muslim sultanate in the islands. It held ties with the sultanates of Brunei, Sulu, and Ternate in Cavite.

Arrival of the Spanish

In 1570, a Spanish expedition ordered by the conquistador Miguel López de Legaspi demanded the conquest of Manila. His second on command Martin de Goiti departed from Cebu and arrived in Manila. The Muslim and indegenious Malay natives tentatively welcomed the foreigners, but Goiti had other plans. The Spaniards marched through Manila and a battle was fought with the heavily armed Spaniards quickly defeating and crushing the native settlements to the ground. Legaspi and his men followed the next year and made a peace pact with the three rajahs and organized a city council consisting of two mayors, 12 councilors, and a secretary.

Intramuros today

A walled City known as Intramuros, at the southern banks of Pasig River was built to protect the Spanish colonizers.

Escolta, circa 1899

On June 10, 1574, King Philip II of Spain gave Manila the title of Insigne y Siempre Leal Ciudad ("Distinguished and Ever Loyal City").

In 1595, Manila was proclaimed as the capital of the Philippine Islands.


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