Monday, January 31, 2011

Manila, Philippines - Intramuros

Manila is the capital of the Philippines. With a population of 1,660,714 in 2006, Manila is the second most populous city in the Philippines behind Quezon City. With an estimated population of 16,300,000, Metro Manila is the most populous metropolitan area in the Philippines and the 11th in the world. The greater urban area is the 5th largest in the world with a population of 20,654,307 people.However, the populace inhabit an area of only 38.55 square kilometers, making Manila the most densely populated city in the world.

For hundreds of years, the walled city of Intramuros was Manila: the nerve center of the Spanish occupation in the Philippines, home to several thousand Spanish colonists, their families, and their Filipino servants.

Intramuros was erected on the ruins of a Malay settlement at the mouth of the Pasig River. Its strategic location attracted the attention of the conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, who took over the area in 1571 and proclaimed it as the Philippine colony's new capital.

For 400 years, Intramuros was the center of Spanish political, religious, and military power in the region. The walled city suffered grievously through World War II; only San Agustin Cathedral was left standing by war's end.

In the 1980s, the government led a major restoration effort that reconstructed Intramuros to its present state. Today, Intramuros is a prominent tourist spot where visitors can experience Spanish-era Manila through the walled city's churches, restaurants, and museums.

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