Manila City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 15, 2007

The city of Manila, or lungsod ng Maynila, is the cosmopolitan capital of the Philippines, and one of the cities and municipality that comprises the Metropolitan Manila area.  It lies on the western coast of the island of Luzon, at the confluence of the Pasig River and the Manila Bay where it is surrounded by fertile plains.  The city is surrounded by the cities of Quezon and Caloocan to the north, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Pasay and Makati to the south, and the Manila Bay in the west.  Its total land area of 38.55 km² is resided by a population of over 1.6 million, making it the second most populous city in the Philippines.

Manila started as a Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim settlement on the banks of the Pasig River.  It derived its name from the Tagalog phrase “may nilad” referring to the nilad or mangrove plant that grows abundantly in the area.  In 1571, the conquistador   Miguel Lopez de Lagazpi defeated the settlement’s reigning monarch, Raja Sulaiman, and declared the country a colony of Spain with Manila as its Capital.

The city has served this purpose even during the American occupation, after defeating the Spaniards and ending the 300 years of Spanish rule, and Japanese invasion during World War II.  In 1948, after gaining independence from the United States, the newly formed republic moved its capital to neighboring Quezon city.  The capital was once again given to Manila in 1976.

More about Manila
As the country’s capital, Manila serves as the seat of the Philippine government.  Located in the city is the official residence and office of the country’s Chief Executive–the Malacañang Palace.  Also found in Manila are the headquarters of several government agencies, such as the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, National Bureau of Investigation, Central Bank of the Philippines, and the Departments of Justice, Finance, Budget, Tourism, Health, and Labor and Employment.

Due to its prominent role, Manila is also home to many historical sites that had All been significant settings in the country’s history.  Among these is the medieval walled city of Intramuros, the once Spanish garrison Fort Santiago, and Luneta Park, which was the Spanish execution, grounds for Filipino rebels and mutineers.  The Philippine’s national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal was executed at the site on December 30, 1896 and became a catalyst for the Philippine revolution.

Manila’s rich history and political importance only adds to the appeal of this modern cosmopolitan on the bay.  Adding these up with the city’s lively businesses, its equally rich multi-cultural residents, and the breath-taking Manila Bay sunset ultimately makes Manila a fascinating modern urban city that provides a unique experience to anyone who will call on her.

Residential Places in Manila
There are many modern condominiums found in the city to provide students and people who want to relocate in Manila accommodations in the congested residential neighborhoods of Manila.  Some of these condominiums are found at the bayside along Roxas Boulevard, such as the Bay Gardens, Ocean Tower, and Bay View.  All condominiums provide a spectacular view of the Manila Bay and are conveniently located near one of Manila’s major thoroughfares.

Other condominiums are found in the district of Ermita, such as the Robinsons Place Condominium Residences, which is annexed to the Robinsons Place mall at Padre Faura Street.  Aside from conveniently sitting next to the mall, it is also near prominent nightspots in the area and prestigious universities, such as the University of the Philippines, St. Paul University, and De La Salle University.  Another prominent condominium in Manila is Le Mirage de Malate that stands on A. Mabini Street in Malate.

Hospitals and Universities of Manila
The Philippines has been attracting many medical tourists to have their medical procedures done in the country’s top medical institutions.  This is due to the high quality healthcare that these institutions provide at a lesser cost compared with European or American healthcare providers.  In addition, many Philippine hospitals are equipped with most modern medical facilities, as well as staffed with well-trained healthcare professionals that exhibit that unique Filipino care.

Manila has many private and government hospitals.  Both hospitals provide their patients with the same standard of healthcare, although private hospitals may be equipped with more modern facilities and better accommodations than their public counterparts.  The city also has several hospitals recognized by the Department of Tourism as participants in their Medical Tourism Program.

Listed below are the private tertiary care hospitals in Manila:

Private Manila Hospitals
Hospital Address Telephone

Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center 286 Blumentritt Street, Sta. Cruz
De Ocampo Memorial Medical Center 2921 Nagtahan Street, Sampaloc 715-1891
Family Clinic Hospital 1474 Maria Clara Street, Sampaloc 731-2901
Hospital of the Infant Jesus 1556 Laong-laan, Sampaloc 731-2771
Manila Doctors Hospital 667 U.N. Avenue, Ermita 524-3011
Medical Center Manila 1122 Gen. Luna Street, Ermita 523-8131
Mary Chiles General Hospital 667 Gastambide Street, Sampaloc 735-5341
Mary Johnston Hospital 1221 Juan Nolasco Street, Tondo 245-4021
Metropolitan Hospital 1357 G. Masangkay Street, Sta. Cruz 255-0401
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital 46 P. Sanchez Street, Sta. Mesa 716-3901
Perpetual Succor Hospital and Maternity 836 F. Cayco Street, Sampaloc 731-5778
Seamen’s Hospital Cabildo cor. Victoria Street, Intramuros 523-2692
St. Jude General Hospital Dimasalang, Sampaloc 731-2761
Trinity General Hospital 2732 New Panaderos Street, Sta. Ana 564-1510
Unciano General Hospital V. Mapa Street, Sta. Mesa 716-7292
United Doctors Medical Center 290 España cor. N. Ramirez Street, Welcome Rotonda 712-3640,
University of Santo Tomas Hospital España Boulevard, Sampaloc 731-3001
Manila Government Hospitals
Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital Lope de Vega Street, Sta. Cruz 734-5561
Dr. Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center DOH Compound, Sta. Cruz 711-9491
Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center Delpan Street, Tondo 241-2606
Ospital ng Maynila Roxas Boulevard cor. Quirino Avenue, Malate 524-6061
Ospital ng Sampaloc 667 Gen. Geronimo cor. Carola Street, Sampaloc 749-0224,
Ospital ng Tondo Jose Abad Santos Avenue, Tondo 251-9406
Philippine General Hospital Taft Avenue, Ermita 521-8450                                                                                San Lazaro Hospital Quirada Street, Santa Cruz 732-3776

Manila is also the study capital of the Philippines because of the numerous institutions for higher education found in the city.  Many of these colleges and universities are clustered at a defacto district called the University Belt, or U- belt, which refers to the southern tip of España Boulevard, Nicanor Reyes Street, the eastern tip of Claro M. Recto Avenue, Legarda Avenue, Mendiola Street, and their surrounding side streets.  The area also generally includes the district of Intramuros and the stretch of Taft Avenue in Malate and Ermita.  These areas form an asymmetrical crescent shape, thus giving rise to its name.

Among the colleges and universities that are found in this are three of the Philippines’ most prestigious universities—the University of the Philippines-Manila (UPM), De La Salle University-Manila (DLSU), and the University of Sto. Tomas (UST).

Located along Taft Avenue in Ermita, the state-owned UPM is the oldest constituent university of the UP system.  It is a prestigious tertiary school for health sciences with its course offerings in medicine, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech pathology, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, and public health.  As it exercises administrative supervision over the Philippine General Hospital, the said institution functions as a teaching hospital for its medicine and nursing students.  Besides health sciences, the university also offers courses in arts and sciences.

Also on Taft Avenue in Malate is the private Catholic institution of De La Salle University.  DLSU is well known for its degrees in business, economics, engineering, education, liberal arts, the sciences, and computer studies.  It was the first of only two universities to receive the highest-ranking set by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAASCU).  The PAASCU is a private organization involved in the accreditation of academic programs that have met commonly accepted standards of quality education.  Some notable alumni from DLSU are Secretary Rolando G. Andaya of the Department of Budget and Management, General Santos City congresswoman Darlene Antonino-Custodio, the owner/developer of the Araneta Center in Cubao J. Amado Araneta, and Eduardo M. Cojuangco Jr, president of the United Coconut Planters Bank and Chairman-CEO of the San Miguel corporation.

The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, or simply University of Sto. Tomas (uST, is a private Dominican university situated along España Boulevard in Sampaloc.  Established in 1611, it is the oldest Catholic university in the country.  The title “Royal” was given on March 7, 1785 by King
Charles III of Spain, and the title “Pontifical” on September 17, 1902 by Pope Leo XIII.  It is recognized for its degrees in architecture, law, medicine, business administration, education, engineering, music, and its other degrees in the fields of literature, philosophy, and the sciences.  It had produced many Philippine national heroes such as Jose Rizal and Apolinario Mabini’
Philippine presidents Manuel L. Quezon, Sergio Osmeña, Jose P. Laurel, and diosdado Macapagal; Supreme Court Justices   Cayetano Arellano, Victorino Mapa, and Jose Abad Santos; and other prominent political, military, and church figures.

Other prominent colleges and universities in the U-belt are Centro Escolar University, San Beda College, Far Eastern University, University of the East, Adamson University, Philippine Normal University, Collegio de San Juan de Letran, Mapúa Institute of Technology, and the Pamantasan ng Lung sod ng Maynila.

Commercial Places in Manila
The Industrious nature and merchant spirit of Filipinos are clearly evident in the numerous commercial establishments found along the major thoroughfares and side-streets of Manila, particularly in the districts of Quiapo and Divisoria.  These districts are known for their flea markets and rows and rows of stores that sell their merchandise at rock-bottom prices.  Traditional Filipino handicrafts and delicacies, cheap electronic products, and cameras are among the attractions in Quiapo, while Divisoria is a bargain center for clothes, textiles, clothing accents, toys, and a variety of retail products.  Whether found at street stalls or at air-conditioned shopping centers of Tutuban Center and 168 Mall, all products in Divisoria are at bargain prices.

Various Chinese products, such as traditional Chinese delicacies and medicine, are found in the Chinese district of Binondo.  Jewelry shops also abound in Binondo.  The area of Bambang in Sta. Cruz is clustered with stores that specializes in medical apparatuses and garments sought by medical students from all over Metro Manila.

More Shopping Pleasures
Manila, of course, is not without modern shopping malls that complement the bargain centers in the city.  The newest of these are the Robinsons Place Ermita and SM city Manila.  Standing Beside the Manila Midtown Hotel at the corner of Pedro Gil and Adriatico streets in Ermita, Robinsons Place provides a casual shopping atmosphere to shoppers with its six-level structure filled with shops and boutiques of local and international brands, music stores, book shops, a department store and supermarket.  It is also a one-stop venue for entertainment with its state-of-the-art cinemas and numerous cafes and restaurants.  The SM City Manila, which stands behind the Manila City Hall, is the 9th Supermall to open in Metro Manila.  Its 6-storey structure houses the usual anchor shops of SM Department Store and SM Supermarket, numerous retail shops, 12 cinemas, a bowling center, and several prominent fastfood chains and restaurants.

The SM San Lazaro at the corner of Felix Huertas and AH Lacson Streets in sta. Cruz, St. Thomas Square that stands along España Boulevard corner Padre Campa Street in Sampaloc, and the SM Centerpoint which stands at the boundary of San Juan and Quezon City in Sta. Mesa are other newly constructed shopping malls in the city.  Other much older, yet still as notable, shopping malls in Manila are the Harrison Plaza at the corner of A. Mabini and Adriatico Streets, SM Carriedo, in Sta. Cruz, and Isetan and Ever Gotesco along CM Recto Avenue.

The prime nightlife district in the city is the area of Malate in Ermita.  Roxas Boulevard and the streets of Adriatico, Nakpil, Remedios, A. Mabini, J. Bocobo, MH del Pilar, and other side streets are teeming with international restaurants.  Some notable restaurants found along these streets are the Filipino Aristocrat, the Chinese Imperial Dragon Seafood Restaurant and Ping Yang Hot Pot and Dimsum Restaurant, Korean Chongno and Korean Ginseng Chicken, the Japanese Izakaya Taishoand, New Musashi, and Tatsu, the Spanish Guernica’s, the Italian La Tavola, the American Steak Town, and the Mexican Tia Maria’s.

These areas in Malate also have many frequented dance clubs and music bars/grills, such as Padi’s Point, Skorski’s Bar and Restaurant, Anthology, Arkdia, Biology Bar, Bistro Remedios, Blue Room, Cafe Adriatico Cafe Breton, Cafe Fontana, da Verb, Endangered Species, Episode, Hobbit House, Larry’s Cafe Bar, Nep2 Bar and Resto, Boysie’s Bar, Tequila Joe’s, The Library, and Unplugged.

Service Establishments of Manila
The Manila Electric Company (MERALCO), formerly the Manila Electric Rail and Light Company, supplies the electricity in the city.  Manila is part of the 22 cities and 89 municipalities that the company services.  Several MERALCO branches are located all over the city to provide its residents convenience in bill payments and application for subscriptions.  Listed below are the MERALCO Branches in Manila:

MERALCO Manila Branches
Branch Address Telephone

España 2200 España Cor. Josefina Street, Sampaloc 712-6180 to 84
Malate 957 Escoda Street 524-9485
Tutuban Tutuban Shopping Complex, Mayhaligue Cor. A. Rivera Street, Tondo 251-5054
Lubiran Payment Office
Manila District Compound, Lubiran Street, Bacood, Sta Mesa  632-8490

The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) is the largest telecommunication service provider in the city.  It provides traditional fixed line services and internet access via dial-up and DSL.  It has branches in Binondo on Reina Regente Street near the Binondo Church, Sta. Cruz at the Cinerama Complex along CM Recto Avenue, Escolta at the ground floor of the Regina Building, Paco on Pedro Gil Street, Sampaloc at the Lexal Building on España corner Macaraeg Street, and in Tondo on Tayuman Street.

Alternative telecom companies that provide telecommunication services in Manila are Eastern Telecoms and Bayan Telecommunications) BayanTel).  The former provides a wide variety of telecommunication products and services to business and residences.  Among its services are fixed telephony and internet access via ADSL and broadband.  The latter company also provides fixed telephony and internet access through dial-up and DSL.
Another wireless broadband service provider in Manila is SmartBro of Smart Communications.

The cellular network providers in the city are Globe Telecom, Smart Communications that is a subsidiary   of PLDT, and Sun Cellular of Digitel Communications.  All companies offer prepaid and post paid subscriptions, as well as competitive features such as mobile banking, mobile TV, 3G, and WAP.

The Philippine National Police Manila District has jurisdiction over the entire city.  Under it are several stations and substations that functions as community police and precincts.  Below is a table detailing the locations and contact information of the police stations and substations under the PNP Manila District:

Philippine National Police Manila District
Police Station PCP* Address Telephone

Balut  Raxabago Street, Balut, Tondo 252-6808or 252-3093
PCP1 Pritil Zamora cor Capulong Street 258-7430
PCP2 Don Bosco Pacheco Street cor Road 10 258-9824
PCP3 SM/NHA Road 10 cor Jacinto Street 257-0763
PCP4 Gagalangin Pampanga/Luna Luna Street 258-3285
PCP5 Harbor Park Harbor Center, Vitas -Moriones   Morga corner Nolasco Streets, Moriones,Tondo                         245-5002/245-4551 or 245-5002
PCP1 Delpan CM Recto cor Delpan 245-4101 Loc 30
PCP2 Asuncion Asuncion cor CM Recto 245-9469
PCP3 Dagupan Dagupan cor CM Recto 251-1661 loc 30
PCP4 P. Algue JAS cor P. Algue 257-1117
PCP5 Bambang Bambang Street 255-6523
Sta Cruz   Old Bilibid Compound, Quezon Boulevard 735-0268
PCP1 Barbosa Bautista/Escaldo Streets 736-9182
PCP2 Plaza Miranda Plaza Miranda, Quiapo 314-7935
PCP3 Alvarez Alvarez/Rizal Avenue 309-9903
PCP4 Blumentritt Blumentritt/Rizal Avenue 741-9322
Sampaloc   G. Tuazon corner Algeriras Streets 781-3049
PCP1 Uba Noval/Teten Street 339-0051
PCP2 R. Magsaysay España/Don Quijote 309-2237
PCP3 España/Blum. España cor Blumentritt 338-8469
PCP4 Sibama Maceda/Basilio Streets 724-7901
PCP5 Gulod Cebu/Visayan Avenue 714-3177
Ermita  United Nations Avenue 528-0242
PCP1 Rizal Park Rizal Park, Luneta –
PCP2 Sta Monica Sta Monica Street 302-4144
PCP3 Paco A. Linao/P.Gil Streets 302-5421
PCP4 Lawton Liwasang Bonifacio 404-2920
PCP5 Bagong Lupa Port Area 404-1045
PCP6 Paz Pedrigon Street 589-8334
PCP7 Manila Bay Roxas Boulevard –
PCP8 Intramuros Muralla Street, Parain Gate 535-6712
Sta. Ana  Plaza Hugo 420-2151
PCP1 Dagonoy Dagonoy/Crisolita Streets 561-4837
PCP2 San Andres Osmeña Hwy/Quirino Avenue 562-1830
PCP3 Punta J. Posadas Street –
Tondo  Jose Abad Santos Avenue 252-8450
PCP1 Obrero Rizal Avenue cor Papa Street 324-0030
PCP2 Tayuman Tayuman/Immaculada Street 254-7805
PCP3 Hermosa Dagupan Extension 256-4030
Sta. Mesa  Old Sta. Mesa Street 716-5022
PCP1 Palanca Palanca Street, San Miguel 704-1950
PCP2 Plaza Avelino R. Magsaysay Boulevard 716-6526
PCP3 Bacood Bacood Street 715-6614
PCP4 V. Mapa V. Mapa Street 716-9053
Malate  A. Mabini Street 524-9435

PCP1 Grand Blvd Roxas Boulevard 525-7966 loc 201
PCP2 P. Ocampo P. Ocampo/Estrada Streets 303-0638
PCP3 Singalong Singalong Street 338-8091
Pandacan  Pandacan Street 562-5105
PCP1 Beata Certeza/Lorenzo de Paz 562-5243
PCP 2 Zamora Zamora/Badmen Streets –
PCP3 Labores Labores/Quirino Extension –
Binondo  Felipe II Street 244-3079
PCP1 Gandara Padilla/Tetuan Streets 309-910
PCP2 Ongpin Ongpin Street 314-8301
PCP3 San Nicolas Sevilla/Jaboneros Streets 243-7322
PCP4 Juan Luna Juan Luna/Sta Elena 245-5669
*PCP-Police Community Precinct

Embassies in Manila
Majority of the foreign embassies in the Philippines have their offices located in Makati City.  However, there are a few consulates and embassies located in Manila.  These are the offices of the United States Embassy, which stands on 1201 Roxas Boulevard, and the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam at 670 Pablo Ocampo Street

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