Manila: The Capital and the Center of Economic and Entertainment Activity of the Country
Manila is considered the capital of the Philippines which has a total of 17 cities and municipalities. It is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay just west of the National Capital Region (NCR) in the western side of Luzon; it is one of the central hubs of a thriving metropolitan area home to over 14 million people. Manila is the second most populous city in the Philippines, with more than 1.6 million inhabitants behind the country’s former capital, Quezon City. The metropolitan area is also the second most populous in Southeast Asia. In 2005, it ranked as the 42nd richest urban agglomeration in the world with a GDP of $108 billion according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
The city itself is divided into 897 barangays, which are the smallest unit of local government in the Philippines. Each barangay has its own chairperson and councilors. For administrative convenience, all the barangays in Manila are grouped into 100 zones and which are further grouped into 16 administrative districts. These zones and districts have no form of local government. Their economy is diverse and multifaceted. With its excellent protected harbor, Manila serves as the nation’s chief seaport. In addition, it is the financial and publishing center for the Philippines. There are also several manufactures including chemicals, textiles, clothing, and electronic goods. Watches, iron and steel, leather goods, and shoes are also manufactured within the city. Food and beverages and tobacco products also employ many residents.
Tourism is also a thriving industry. Being one of the major tourist destinations in the country, the city attracts over 1 million visitors from all over the world annually. Many of Manila’s tourist sites are found in the Binondo, Intramuros, and Malate. Many attractions can be found in the city and one of them is the China town which is the home of filipino-chinese society shows exotic sights and smells of an old Honking community. Other historic treasures of the city include the busy and centuries old commercial districts of Sta Cruz and Escolta. Luneta Park or Rizal Park is a wide memorial quarter of Jose Rizal, mostly jammed- pack with picnickers during weekends. Paco Park has free weekend concerts of classic instruments featuring some of the country’s famous traditional music.