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Pasig River and the Port of Manila

The Port of Manila is the capital city and chief port for the Philippines. It lies on the mouth of the Pasig River in
western Luzon Island and stretches along Manila Bay's eastern shores. The Port of Manila is about 645 nautical miles
southeast of the Port of Hong Kong and about 880 nautical miles east-northeast of Saigon Port. The Port of Manila is
also the country's main economic, cultural, and political center. Metropolitan Manila contains 17 cities and
municipalities, including the Port of Manila. One of the world's most densely populated cities, the Port of Manila was
home to almost 1.6 million people in 2000, but the metropolitan area had a populating of over 9.9 million souls.
The Port of Manila has a diverse economy. In addition to housing the Philippines' major seaport, it is an important
center for publishing and manufacturing. Products manufactured in the Port of Manila include textiles, chemicals,
clothing, electronics, watches, leather goods, shoes, and iron and steel. Local businesses process commodities for
export, including plywood, rope, refined sugar, coconut oil, and copra. The food, beverages, and tobacco sectors
employ many of the city's residents.
With more than a million visitors each year, tourism is a thriving and important economic sector in the Port of Manila.
Except for the Port of Manila, every district in the city has its own public market where local commerce is busy,
particularly in the early morning. The urban renewal program includes refurbishing some of these markets. The Port of
Manila also has plenty of modern shopping malls and chain stores.
Port History
Called Seludong or Sleurung under the Malay aristocracy, historians believe that the future Port of Manila was the
capital of the Ancient Tondo. With busy trade relations with China, the kingdom flourished during China's latter Ming
Dynasty. The local Tondo rulers had the status of kings, rather than chieftains. The Namayan, a confederation of
barangays, began to peak in the late 12th Century, and their territory stretched from Manila Bay to Laguna de Bay.
Their capital in Sapa is called Santa Ana today.
The Port of Manila pre-dates the Spanish invasion of the Philippine islands. Going back as early as the 9th Century, the
Port of Manila had trade relations with China, Japan, India, and modern Malaysia and Indonesia. The Port of Manila
traded often with Arab merchants, even after Spanish rule, although the Spanish Port of Manila most often traded with
Mexico, Spain, and China.
Built atop older towns, the Port of Manila was well fortified with a trading quarter on the Pasig River in the 13th
Century. In the late 15th and early 16th Centuries, the Kingdom of Tondo's was attacked by the Sultanate of Brunei in
an attempt to break the Port of Manila's trade with China. Under the Salalila, a new dynasty arose to challenge the
Tondo rulers.
In the middle of the 16th Century, the area of today's Port of Manila belonged to the maritime Muslim Rajahs. Rajah
Lakandula reigned over the Tondo, Hundu-Buddhist communities north of the Pasig River. Muslim communities south
of the river united into the Kingdom of Maynila. The Malay-speaking city-states had diplomatic ties with the Bolkiah
Dynasty of Brunei (today's Borneo).
Portuguese pirates drove the Spanish Governor General, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi , from Cebu Island to Panay Island
in the late 1560s. Hearing rumors of great wealth in Luzon, the governor sent an expedition to Luzon to the south of
Manila Bay. His envoys sent messages of friendship to Maynila. While Rajah Sulayman would accept friendship, he
would not submit to Spanish rule, and he went to war against the Spaniards. In 1570, Spanish forces attacked Maynila,
capturing the city.
With the Kingdom of Maynila under assault, the remaining Rajah Matanda formed an alliance with the Lakandula of
Tondo in 1571. However, powerful city-states began to challenge the long-standing rule of the Tondo and the Maynila.
In the early 1570s, Governor Legazpi led the full force of Spanish troops as they returned to the island. When the
natives saw them coming, they burned the city and escaped to Tondo.
The Spanish took what was left of Maynila and established a settlement. In 1571, Legazpi titled the Colony of Manila a
city, and the Spanish crown affirmed the status in 1572. The Port of Manila became a colonial trading post for the
Spanish. A Viceroyalty of New Spain was established that governed the Philippines, and the Governor-General ruled
from Port of Manila but was subordinate to the Viceroy in Mexico City. From 1571 until 1815, the galleon trade route
between the Philippines and Mexico flourished, and the Port of Manila became famous.
The Chinese population in the Port of Manila was subjected to Spanish commercial laws and restrictions, and they had
to pay tribute to Spanish officials. In 1574, 62 Chinese warships and some three thousand men attacked the Port of
Manila in rebellion against the Spanish. They were easily defeated. In order to prevent future rebellions, the Spanish
made Chinese merchants and residents move into a separate district.
In 1591, Governor-General Legazpi began building a fort at the Port of Manila and began to court Rajah Lakandula of
Tondo. The Rajah was eventually converted to Christianity, and local nobles sold their loyalty to the Spanish for
privileges and titles. Soon, Augustinian monks came to the Port of Manila to spread Roman Catholicism , and they were
followed by Franciscans , Dominicans , and Jesuits in the later centuries.
In 1595, the Port of Manila was named the official capital of the Philippines, and a municipal government was
established with a Spanish-style community called Intramuros within fortified walls. Today, it is the oldest district in
the modern Port of Manila.
During the 17th Century, the Chinese again revolted against the Spanish several times. They even threatened to capture
Intramuros. In the middle 17th Century, a conspiracy arose to kill all the Spaniards in the Port of Manila, ending in the
eviction of the Chinese form the city and country. However, the Chinese community continued to exist over the
following years.
The British occupied the Port of Manila for two years in the early 1760s during the Seven Years' War between France
and Britain. Fleeing from the British, the Spaniards destroyed many valuable historic documents. Even though the
British occupied the Port of Manila, it continued to be the capital of the Philippines under a provisional British
governor. The Philippines were returned to the Spanish Crown, by omission, under the provisions of the Peace of Paris
signed in 1763.
By the middle of the 19th Century, the Port of Manila was opened to trade with all foreign ports. In the late 19th
Century, the Port of Manila became a hotbed of anti-Spanish sentiment and propaganda. In 1886 a novel by Jose Rizal
planted the seeds of revolution. Although the author was exiled to Dapitan , organizations were formed with the goal of
ending Spanish rule. Open rebellion broke out in 1896. Rizal was made a martyr to the revolution when the Spanish
executed him by firing squad. After months of fighting, a revolutionary government was formed, but it did not survive.
During the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War , troops from the United States invaded the Port
of Manila in 1898. Spain was defeated, and the United States took control of the Port of Manila and the Philippine
islands in a brutal assault. Under Admiral George Dewey , the American Navy defeated the Spanish in the Battle of
Manila Bay. Spain transferred the islands and the Port of Manila to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris ,
ending over three centuries of Spanish rule.
The Filipinos did not want to accept rule by the United States, having just won independence from Spain. Emilio
Aguinaldo declared the First Philippine Republic , but the United States did not recognize the new republic. War broke
out in 1899 between the Filipinos and the Americans. In 1901, General Aguinaldo surrendered. The Americans
immediately invaded and occupied the islands and the Port of Manila.
The Filipinos continued to resist US control and undertook a guerrilla resistance with limited success. General Douglas
MacArthur was brought in to suppress the rebellion. Rumors of brutality and bloody suppression by the Americans
continue today.
In 1901, a civil government was established for the Port of Manila. The Philippine-American War continued until 1903,
with many Port of Manila lives lost. In 1935, the US government agreed to grant Philippine Independence after a 10-
year period that was extended by one year due to World War II.
In December 1941, the Port of Manila was declared an open city, and American troops were ordered to withdraw from
the city in hopes of sparing the Port of Manila destruction at the hands of the invading Japanese. The Japanese bombed
the Port of Manila nonetheless. On January 2, 1942, the Japanese Imperial army marched into the Port of Manila. The
Japanese gave the Port of Manila leaders three choices as to how they would be governed. They chose government by
commission selected by Filipinos and established the Philippine Executive Commission that would manage greater
Manila; however, this was later extended to the whole Philippines.
In October 1944, General Douglas MacArthur fulfilled his promise to return to the Philippines. After a terrible battle at
the Port of Manila's Intramuros district, a devastated Port of Manila was liberated by American and Filipino troops.
However, they did not arrive in the Port of Manila soon enough to stop the Manila Massacre . The city was nearly
destroyed, having received more damage than any other city during World War II except for Warsaw . On July 4, 1946,
the Philippine flag was raised for the first time ever in Rizal Park.
From 1972 until 1981, the Port of Manila and the country were under Martial Law declared by President Ferdinand
Marcos . During his rule, the local economy disintegrated, and corruption was rampant. Tens of thousands of Filipinos
disappeared or were imprisoned if they opposed Marcos' martial law. When he was deposed in 1986, claimants against
Marcos were awarded over US$500 million in compensation.
When opposition leader Benigno Aquino arrived in the Port of Manila in 1983, he was killed as he de-boarded the
airplane. The people of the Philippines increasingly opposed the rule of Ferdinand Marcos. When the People Power
Revolution succeeded in 1986, Aquino's widow, Corazon , was installed as president, and she survived six unsuccessful
coup attempts. Since the early 1990s, the Port of Manila's mayors have worked hard to fight crime, provide education,
improve social welfare, and marshal urban renewal projects.
In the early 1970s, there were almost 600 national and municipal ports and 200 private ports scattered throughout the
Philippine islands. The Bureau of Public Works was responsible for maintaining ports and harbors, but the need for
coordination and long-range planning was overwhelming. The Bureau of Customs proposed a new government agency
to integrate port operations and development, and the World Bank made creation of a port authority a condition of a
1973 port development loan.
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) was created by Presidential Decree in late 1975 to plan, develop, finance,
operate, and maintain ports and port districts for the nation. A National Ports Advisory Council was created to facilitate
cooperation between government and private interests. In 1987, the PPA was given financial autonomy and the
additional responsibility for construction port facilities.
Port Commerce
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Ports District Office for Manila/Northern Luzon is the governing body for the
Port of Manila. The PPA is committed to providing reliable services, sustaining the development of port communities
and the environment, and being a model corporate-government agency.
The PPA's priority objectives include establishing, developing, regulating, managing, and operating a rationalized
national port system that supports trade and development for the nation of the Philippines. To meet these goals, the PPA
will modernize at least ten ports by the year 2010, improve port services, reduce costs for port customers, integrate port
and community development and operation, and provide a working environment conducive to improved productivity
and job satisfaction.
The Port of Manila is the Philippines largest and busiest port. Located on one of the world's best natural harbors, the
Port of Manila is the world's shipping gateway to the Philippines. The Port of Manila International Cargo Terminal
(MICT) is one of the most active seaports in Asia.
In 2006, the Port of Manila served a total of 5325 vessels, including 2442 foreign vessels and 1911 domestic vessels.
The Port of Manila's North Harbor served 1911 domestic vessels and 208 foreign vessels. The South Harbor served
1007 foreign and 764 domestic vessels. The Manila International Cargo Terminal (MICT) served 1435 foreign vessels.
In 2006, the Port of Manila handled a total of 44.2 million metric tons of cargo, including 20.7 million metric tons of
domestic and 23.5 million metric tons of foreign cargo. The Port of Manila's North Harbor handled 16.7 million metric
tons, including 13.8 million metric tons of domestic and almost three million metric tons of foreign cargo. The South
Harbor handled a total of 12.9 million metric tons of cargo, including 6.9 million metric tons of domestic and over six
million metric tons of foreign cargo. The MICT handled almost 14.5 million metric tons of cargo, including 924
thousand metric tons of domestic cargo.
In 2006, the Port of Manila handled a total of almost 23.5 million metric tons of foreign cargo. The Port of Manila
International Cargo Terminal handled 14.5 million metric tons of foreign cargo, while the North and South Harbors
handled over nine million metric tons.
The Port of Manila handled 2.7 million TEUs of containerized cargo in 2006, including 1.9 million TEUs of foreign
containers and almost 808 thousand TEUs of domestic containers. The North Harbor handled 608 thousand TEUs of
domestic containers. The South Harbor handled 716.3 thousand TEUs of foreign and almost 200 thousand TEUs of
domestic containers, for a total of 916.3 thousand TEUs. The MICT handled almost 1.2 million TEUs of containers, all
but 42 of them foreign containers.
In 2006, the Port of Manila hosted a total of 3.1 million passengers. More than 1.3 million passengers used the North
Harbor, and almost 1.8 million used the South Harbor.
The entrance to the Bay of Manila is 19 kilometers wide, and it expands to 48 kilometers in width inside the harbor.
The Port of Manila consists of three main areas: Manila North (the North Harbor), Manila South (South Harbor), and
Manila where the Manila International Cargo Terminal is located.
The Port of Manila International Cargo Terminal (MICT) is operated by International Container Terminal Services, Inc.
The MICT is the company's flagship operation. The company won a 25 + 25 year concession to operate the Port of
Manila's MICT in 1988 in the country's first port privatization effort. The company is responsible for managing,
operating, and administrating the Port of Manila's MICT; planning, developing, and constructing MICT facilities;
supplying all equipment; and assuming investment risk in the MICT. Since the company took over, the Port of Manila's
MICT annual cargo-handling capacity has increased five-fold and an integrated real-time IT terminal control system has
been implemented.
The Port of Manila's MICT handles much of the of the cargo through in the Port of Manila. The terminal covers an area
of 67.7 hectares and has annual cargo-handling capacity for 1.5 million TEUs. The berth at the MICT in the Port of
Manila is 1300 meters long, and it contains five berthing positions with alongside depths from 10.5 to 14 meters. The
Container Yard is 37 hectares, and the Container Freight Station covers 2.7 hectares. The MICT offers 270 220-volt and
702 440-volt reefer points. The empty container depot covers five hectares and has capacity for 9184 TEUs. The
hazardous cargo control area covers 10.5 thousand square meters and has capacity for 500 containers. The Port of
Manila's MICT also has two on-site maintenance workshops.
Cruising and Travel
The City of Manila is the second most populous and one of the busiest cities in Southeast Asia. The Port of Manila has
been the Philippines' social, cultural, political, and economic center for four centuries, and it is the modern center for
industry and international trade. Since being almost destroyed in World War II, the Port of Manila is rebuilding, and it
faces the same problems that other modern metropolises face today. For more information about the things to see and
do in the Port of Manila and the Philippines, please visit the tourism website.
Old Manila is very much a Latin American city, with historic churches, forts, and the original city founded by the
Spanish conquerors, Intramuros. Until the 1950s, most of the Philippines educated citizens spoke fluent Spanish.
Today, most Filipinos speak English and native languages, but the Hispanic culture remains. The Port of Manila is a
diverse, exciting city that invites visitors from all over the world. The Port of Manila is relatively inexpensive, but it is
rich in culture, nightlife, and wonderful sunny beaches.
The Port of Manila is protected from harsh weather by the Eastern Cordillera hills and the Bataan Peninsula's mountains
to the west. The Port of Manila has a tropical climate with a wet season that stretches from June to November and a
December-to-May dry season. Thunderstorms and high humidity are common from July until September, and
September is the rainiest month of the year. The Port of Manila also enjoys a relatively constant temperature, ranging
from an average high of 33 °C (91 °F) in April and May to an average low of 21 °C (70 °F) in February.
The Port of Manila boasts the oldest Chinatown in the world. Binondo is the Chinatown district, which is another world
in the middle of this bustling metropolis. Chinese music blares from shops. Incense permeates the air. People haggle
over goods. Chinatown was established in 1594 when the Spanish wanted to control Chinese residents' unrest. Today, it
covers about one square kilometer. The Port of Manila's Chinatown is well-known for wholesale stores, and its
restaurants and street food vendors make the area popular as well. Its top-rated restaurants offer everything including
roast suckling pig, century eggs, freshwater turtles, and exotic fish and fruit that are not available anywhere else in the
Philippines. In the middle of Chinatown is the Binondo Church, a Catholic Church, one of the oldest houses of worship
in the Philippines. Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint and a Chinese mestizo, was an altar boy at Binondo Church. At
the 128 Mall, shoppers find bargains at amazingly low prices. Horse-drawn carriages are also often seen in the streets of
the Port of Manila's Old Chinatown. It is an area unique not only to the Port of Manila and the Philippines, but the
whole world, since nowhere else will you find the mix of Chinese, Filipino, and Spanish cultures.
The Museum of the Filipino People was established in 1901 as a natural history and ethnographic museum. Located
beside Rizal Park near Intramuros, the former Congress building houses exhibits related to the arts, natural sciences,
and Philippine history. The San Diego Gallery 1 treats visitors to a walk-in diorama of the Spanish wreck San Diego,
illustrating the wreck as it appeared when it was discovered under 54 meters of water. The Spanish trading vessel was
built for trade but refitted for war by the Vice-Governor General. Two additional galleries contain artifacts and
information about his fascinating shipwreck and piece of history.
Another gallery in the Port of Manila's Museum of the Filipino People (also the National Museum) tells about the Port
of Manila and Philippines' role in maritime trade throughout East Asia before the Spanish arrived. The Pingamulan
gallery informs visitors about the original of the islands and the people. The Kaban ng Lahi gallery portrays ancient
Filipino burial practices and contains burial jars and other pottery excavated from caves around the islands. The
Kinahinatnan (The Filipino Today) gallery illustrates the diversity of Philippine cultures, focusing on the different
ethno-linguistic groups, ecological zones, and the country's national treasures. The Cloth Traditions gallery features
traditional textiles from the country's history including rare textiles usually found only in private collections.
The Port of Manila's Rizal Park is located just outside the walled city of Intramuros. Known more popularly as the
Luneta, the park offers the best museums, bayside restaurants, an open-air theater, a planetarium, and the Manila Hotel.
Early morning joggers and tai chi enthusiasts love the Rizal Park. Located in the heart of the Port of Manila, the park
overlooks the bay. Originally meant to protect Intramuros from rebellious natives, the park has witnessed some of the
country's most important historic moments since it was built in the early 1700s, including the execution of author and
national hero Jose Rizal.
Built by Spaniards in the 16th Century, Intramuros is the Port of Manila's oldest district. Built as a walled enclosure to
protect the colonial government, it was considered the whole of Manila for many years. Within its walls were many
churches, convents, and chapels, many of which serve other purposes today, including the Manila Cathedral and the
ruins of San Ignacio church. The district also contained many schools and other buildings including the Governors
Palace (now the Commission on Elections).

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