CONSIDERED TO BE the best harbor in the Far East, known as the "Pearl of the Orient," Manila has been a commercial and cultural hub of the PHILIPPINES, and of Southeast Asia, for over four centuries.
Ferdinand MAGELLAN claimed the island of LUZON for SPAIN in 1521, as a strategic point of access to the Spice Islands of the Far East.
Manila, on the northwest coast of the island, was captured from its sultan in 1571 and soon became the main exchange point for goods traveling between Macao and Acapulco-silver from MEXICO was traded here for silk from south CHINA.
Manila became a rival port to Batavia, the main port of the Dutch East India Company (today's JAKARTA, INDONESIA).
By the 17th and 18th centuries, it was essentially a Chinese city, following the pattern of most commercial cities in Southeast Asia, with manual labor provided by Chinese-Filipino or Mexican-Filipino mestizos.
The revolt against Spain in 1896 started here, and the arrival of the UNITED STATES in Manila Bay in 1898 signaled the end of nearly four centuries of Spanish rule.
The United States did not depart as planned, however, and maintained a protectorate over the emerging state until it was granted full independence in 1946.
American presence remained heavy after independence, however, particularly in the Manila area, because of its large military presence at Subic Bay naval base and Clark Air Force Base, which were given up only in 1992.
The city, originally called Maynilad ("there is nilad," a local white-flowered mangrove), was a Muslim sultanate from the early 16th century.
Geographically situated on a plain at the confluence of several mountain ranges, the Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay, it was an obvious location for an urban area that today forms the core of the world's seventh-largest metropolitan area, with about 10.3 million residents in Manila proper and 16 other cities (including Quezon City, which is actually more populous than Manila and was the capital city from 1939 to 1976).
It is an amazing mixing bowl of cultures, combining elements of Spanish, Chinese, English, and Tagalog culture.
The city is centered on both sides of the Pasig River, where it enters Manila Bay.
The old walled city, or Intramuros, is on the southern, or left, bank of the river.
It consists of old Spanish houses, churches and convents, and narrow streets and is surrounded by a defensive wall, built around 1790 to defend against attacks form the Dutch and British.
The old town also includes the old city hall (Ayuntamiento) and the University of Santo Tomas, founded by the Dominican Order in 1605.
The city's other major university, and the oldest in Asia, is the University of the Philippines, founded by King Philip II of Spain in 1585.
North of the river lies the Binondo section, Manila's Chinese commercial district, famous for its wild bargain basement bazaars in the Divisoria.
Nearby is the old governor's palace, Malacanang, now the residence of the Philippine president.
North and south of the river the city spreads out in newer neighborhoods, including Ermita and Malate, the center for tourist hotels, restaurants and nightclubs, and Quiapo, Manila's congested downtown.
As development continued south along the bay, the large Rizal Park was surrounded by more aristocratic suburbs in the 19th century, and by later American developments, which bear the names of men like President William McKinley and Admiral George Dewey, the victor of the battle of Manila Bay in 1898.
The city has spread out from the bay to join into an urban conglomeration with Quezon City to the northeast and other smaller towns.
The language spoken around the bay, Tagalog, has become the official national language, though English is the lingua franca used in many of the southern islands.
Manufacturing is highly concentrated in metro Manila, more than half of the total of the Philippines.
Manila is the center of international trade for the Philippines, plus domestic trade between islands.
Raw materials brought in from the interior of Luzon or from other islands is processed and exported, from sugar, rope, and cigarettes/cigars to shoes and woven textiles.
The city struggles with air and water pollution.
The government has designs to transform the former U.S.
military bases into free-trade zones.
The search for foreign investment in this project has found some success from Taiwan, but not enough, because of the economic downturn throughout Asia in the 1990s.

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Last News

- Police in Dubai again start “hunting” the tourists
"The guards will be picking up the kissing tourists.
It is reported that the more Dubai city becomes popular year after year the more tourists come to the Emirates who are not so obedient to Islamic law. The UAE authorities decided to fight for its citizens who are offended by tourists who allow themselves to kiss in public places. In order to explain to the country’s guests that such a behavior is not acceptable the Emirates authorities will make up a project named “Welcome to UAE”.
Resulting this campaign the billboards will be posted throughout the city demonstrating the standards of decency and the authorities will also share law booklets to the foreigners. It is planned that tourists will be able to get such booklets at the malls and coasts. Taxi drivers and hotel staff will have to pass a special training so that they could then explain tourists the rules of conduct in the country.
It is stated that a street kiss in Dubai is punished by a big fine, however, the police seldom fines the tourists, usually the issue ends up with just a simple warning. "

- Airplane was forced to land because of the broken coffee machine
"SAS plane routing from Stockholm to Chicago was forced to make an emergency landing by a faulty coffee maker.
The carrier’s reps report that the flight something got short-circuited. The crew realized that there was a smell of smoke and after that the decision to make an emergency landing at the Greenland airport was made. It is stated that there was no panic aboard: all the passengers remained at their seats till the full landing.
Causing the coffee machine breakdown had to stay at a hotel overnight in Greenland; the next day the plane departed for Chicago. "