Metro Manila

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For the article on the capital city of the Philippines, see Manila.
See also, see Mega Manila.
Metropolitan Manila

Nation Capital Region.jpg

Regional center Manila
Population 11,289,368[1] (2005)
– Density 17,751 per km²
Area 636 km²
Cities 14
Municipalities 3
Barangays 1694
Cong. districts 27
Languages Filipino, English, others

Metropolitan Manila (Filipino: Kalakhang Maynila) or the National Capital Region (NCR) (Filipino: Pambansang Punong Rehiyon) is the capital of the Philippines and among the world's thirty most populous metropolitan areas. Metro Manila is one of the two defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines, the other being Metro Cebu.

Metro Manila is the metropolitan area that contains the city of Manila, as well as sixteen surrounding cities and municipalities, including Quezon City, the capital from 1948 to 1976. Metro Manila is the political, economic, social, and cultural center of the Philippines, and is one of the more modern metropolises in Southeast Asia. Among locals, particularly those from Manila proper and those in the provinces, Metro Manila is often simply referred to as Manila; however locals from other parts of the metropolis may see this as offensive, owing to city pride and also the fact that some cities are actually geographically closer to the neighboring provinces than to Manila itself. Metro Manila is often abbreviated as M.M.. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is located in Makati City.

Metro Manila is the smallest of the country's administrative regions, but the most populous and the most densely populated, having a population of 9,932,560 (2000 census) in an area of only 636 square kilometers. It is also the only region without any provinces. The region is bordered by the provinces of Bulacan to the north, Rizal to the east, and Cavite and Laguna to the south. Metro Manila is also sandwiched by Manila Bay to the west and Laguna de Bay to the southeast with the Pasig River running between them, bisecting the region.

The term Metro Manila should not be confused with the metro rail system of the region, and the word metro itself always describes the metropolitan area (as in the metro). The railways are called by their abbreviations, such as the LRT and the MRT, also known as Light Rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit, respectively.

On paper, Manila is the designated capital and seat of the Philippine government, but in practice, the seats of government are all around Metro Manila. The executive and administrative seat of government is located in Manila, so is the judiciary. The upper house of the legislature (Senate of the Philippines) is located in Pasay City, and the lower house (House of Representatives of the Philippines) in Quezon City.


Cities and Municipalities


Metro Manila is composed of fourteen cities and three municipalities. Each is governed by a mayor who belongs to the Metro Manila Mayor's League, which is part of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Map of Metro Manila showing the cities and municipalities.
City Population
(2000 census)
Pop. density
(per km²)
Ph seal ncr caloocan.png Caloocan City 1,177,604 53.33 22,081
Ph seal ncr laspinas.png Las Piñas City 528,011 41.54 12,710
Ph seal ncr makati.png Makati City 444,867 27.36 16,260
Ph seal ncr malabon.png Malabon City 338,855 15.76 21,501
Ph seal ncr mandaluyong.png Mandaluyong City 278,474 11.26 24,731
Ph seal ncr manila.png Manila 1,581,082 38.55 41,014
Ph seal ncr marikina.png Marikina City 391,170 33.97 11,515
Ph seal ncr muntinlupa.png Muntinlupa City 379,310 46.70 8,122
Ph seal ncr navotas.png Navotas City 230,403 10.77 21,393
Ph seal ncr paranaque.png Parañaque City 449,811 47.69 9,432
Ph seal ncr pasay.png Pasay City 354,908 19.00 18,679
Ph seal ncr pasig.png Pasig City 505,058 31.00 16,292
Ph seal ncr quezoncity.png Quezon City 2,173,831 161.12 13,492
Ph seal ncr sanjuan.png San Juan 117,680 5.94 19,811
Ph seal ncr taguig.png Taguig City 467,375 47.88 9,761
Ph seal ncr valenzuela.png Valenzuela City 485,433 44.58 10,889
Municipality Population
(2000 census)
Pop. density
(per km²)
Ph seal ncr pateros.png Pateros 57,407 2.10 27,337

1. ^ There will be a cityhood plebiscite on March 29, 2007.

Unlike other regions which are divided into provinces, Metro Manila or the National Capital Region (NCR) is divided into four nonfunctioning districts, which are grouped by geographical basis in reference to the Pasig River. These districts were created in 1976 but have no local government and no congressional representation, in contrast the provinces. These districts are used mostly for fiscal and statistical purposes.

The cities and municipalities within the NCR are grouped into the four districts as follows:


City/Municipality Mayor
Caloocan City Enrico R. Echiverri
Las Piñas City Vergel Aguilar
Makati City Jejomar C. Binay
Malabon City Canuto Oreta
Mandaluyong City Benjamin Abalos Jr.
City of Manila Alfredo Lim
Marikina City Ma. Lourdes C. Fernando
Muntinlupa City Aldrin San Pedro
Navotas City Tobias Reynald M. Tiangco
Pasig City Robert Eusebio
Parañaque City Florencio Bernabe Jr.
Pateros Jaime Cruz Medina
Pasay City Wenceslao Trinidad
Quezon City Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr.
San Juan City Joseph Victor Ejercito
Taguig City Sigfrido R. Tinga
Valenzuela City Sherwin T. Gatchailan


Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong, Pasig and Quezon City Boundary

Business districts

Makati City is widely acknowledged as the financial capital of the country, where one can find the Makati Central Business District (CBD). Interesting landmarks in Makati's Central Business District include Ayala Center, composed of Glorietta and Greenbelt, Ayala Museum, and Yuchengco Museum. Also in Makati is Rockwell Center. Most multi-national company offices and embassies in the Philippines are situated in Makati. Also posing as a competitor for a vibrant business center are Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Eastwood City in Quezon City, Ortigas Center in Pasig City, Manila Bay City Reclamation Area in the cities of Pasay, Parañaque and Las Piñas, and Alabang Estates and Madrigal Business Park in Muntinlupa.

Shopping centers

Makati City skyline at night

Metro Manila currently has the largest number of malls in the Philippines. The largest being SM North EDSA, in Quezon City. Before the expansion of SM North EDSA, the SM Mall of Asia was the largest; prior to that the largest was SM Megamall in Ortigas Center.

Other shopping centers in Ortigas Center include Robinson's Galleria, Shangri-La Plaza, and The Podium.

Recently opened in Pasig is a new development called Frontera Verde, which currently hosts Tiendesitas, a tiangge-style shopping center. Soon to rise are a new SM development as well as several other malls. In the Central Business District of Makati, the Ayala Center hosts other malls, including Glorietta and the upscale Greenbelt shopping districts. Also in Makati is the Rockwell Center. These places are frequented by members of Metro Manila's upper classes.

Taguig City has a mall named Market Market!, which is strategically located in a transportation hub within Fort Bonifacio Global City.

In the City of Manila, the largest malls include SM City Manila and Robinson's Place-Ermita.

Cubao is Quezon City's Central Commercial Area that hosts 5 malls that includes the ultra-modern Gateway Mall. Other malls include various SM chains in the metropolis. Aside from Cubao, there is also Eastwood City, located along Libis.

Metro Manila has a lot of markets, locally called palengke. One of these are the Central Market, located in Quiapo district of Manila, and Divisoria Market, also in Manila. Cloverleaf Market in Balintawak, Quezon City supplies most of Metro Manila's fruit and vegetable products. Navotas Port Market supplies most of Metro Manila's fish products. Other smaller markets include the markets of Cubao Farmers, Nepa-Q Mart, Muñoz, Balingasa, Galas, Santa Mesa, Novaliches Talipapa, Baclaran, Pasay Libertad, and Pasay Cartimar, the latter also being one of the largest pet markets in the Philippines.

Midway between a mall and a market are the Philippine-only tiangges, or airconditioned markets selling goods such as clothes, shoes, accessories, computer parts, mobile phones, CDs, VCDs, MP3s, iPods, and DVDs. Among these can be found in Greenhills Shopping Center in the municipality of San Juan and St. Francis Square in Mandaluyong City.

Wealth extremes

Greenbelt Park, at the heart of Makati CBD, where al fresco cafés and restaurants are situated

Metro Manila is a place of economic extremes. Most of the wealthy and upper-middle class in the country reside within gated communities in places such as Forbes Park, Dasmariñas Village, San Lorenzo Village, Bel-Air Village, and Urdaneta Village in Makati, Loyola Heights, La Vista Subdivision, Corinthian Gardens, Greenmeadows, Capitol Hills District, Ayala Heights, Filinvest 1 and 2, Baranggay South Triangle, Baranggay West Triangle, New Manila, Blue Ridge, St. Ignatius Village, and White Plains of Quezon City, Valle Verde Village of Pasig City, Greenhills in San Juan, and Ayala Alabang in Muntinlupa City. Other wealthy families opt to live urban lifestyles and own large apartments and condominium units such as those in the Rockwell Center in Makati and the Fort Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. The fact that the area is populated by many of the wealthiest people in the country has also driven up the real estate value of the properties in these areas such that they are unmatched anywhere else.

However, practically side-by-side with the residences of Metro Manila's elite are slums and squatter areas, most of which are on the outskirts of the aforementioned gated communities, as well as areas left behind by the rapid development of the rest of Metro Manila, such as Tondo and Sampaloc in Manila, Guadalupe in Makati, some parts of Marikina, Caloocan, and Valenzuela, and most parts of Navotas. Highway roadsides are often crowded with corrugated-steel-roofed huts and straw markets by which livelihood is obtained, in a stark contrast to the gated subdivisions present in Metro Manila. Less than 10% of the population actually live in the aforementioned neighborhoods, while the rest live in non-gated (normal) neighborhoods in regular houses, apartments, tenements and shacks.

Metro Manila is also characterized by a very little middle class group scattered throughout the metropolis. The middle class in Metro Manila enjoys much more spending power, access to education, and far better living qualities than the numerous poverty-stricken people that migrate to Metro Manila from the provinces.


Located west of Metro Manila, Rizal Park is the reference point for all kilometer points on the island of Luzon and the Philippines. Rizal Park features the statue of the Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal, as well as several Philippine flags, a gigantic relief map of the Philippines, scenic Chinese gardens, and the several government offices, such as the Department of Tourism. On the seaside front of Rizal Park are numerous seafood restaurants specializing in Filipino and Asian cuisine. The National Museum of the Filipino People can be also found here. It is a complex of two Greco-Roman buildings which house ancient relics, native mummies, natural treasures and factual galleries about the Philippines and other countries. The museum also boasts a vast collection of artworks and masterpieces crafted by Filipinos which were commended by the Louvre Museum per se. Similarly, part of the museum complex is the first planetarium in Southeast Asia. Also located here is the Quirino Grandstand, which apart from the regular miting de avance (Spanish: political gatherings), is also a popular rendezvous site for various religious groups, such as El Shaddai and other popular American-based Protestant movements, such as Benny Hinn International Ministries.

Near Rizal Park is a 400-year-old Imperial City known as Intramuros, a walled domain which was once the seat of government during the Spanish Colonial Era and Mid-American Periods. Among the attractions are Fort Santiago, a timeworn Spanish military fortress which was also the cell for the national hero, Jose Rizal in 1896; Casa Manila, a Spanish colonial villa which is converted into a house gallery; Manila Cathedral, the official seat of the Archbishop of Manila; San Agustin Church, the oldest existing church/building in the Philippines that survived the wars and earthquakes of Manila since 1587; Intramuros Golf Club, a prime golf course outside the walls; and the Clam Shell Tent, an exhibition center of the Department of Tourism. Horse-carriages and tourist buses are also some of the attractions. The rest also include a walk above the walls surrounding Intramuros, government offices, universities and colonial houses.

Fort Bonifacio, or FB, is the location of military detachments, cemeteries, international schools, and world-class dining and shopping facilities. Other local recreation areas include Nayong Pilipino (Philippine Village) in Parañaque City, Quezon City Memorial Circle and Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Center (both located in Diliman district of Quezon City), the posh Greenbelt Center, located in Makati City, the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex and Bay City, both located in Pasay City. Meanwhile, the Paco Park, Arroceros Botanical Garden, Manila Zoo, Plaza Rajah Sulayman, Plaza Miranda, new Rizal Avenue Bargain Walkway, the all-steel Gothic Church of San Sebastian, the bars and night clubs of Ermita and Malate districts and the famous Roxas Boulevard Bay Walk which offers a fine view of the legendary Manila Bay sunset and dining of Asian, Western and Filipino cuisine, are all located in Manila.



The metropolis has an extensive system of highways connecting the various cities and municipalities. The major roads include ten radial roads, which branch out from central Manila and five circumferential roads which form a series of concentric semi-circular arcs around downtown Manila. Most of these roads are very important transportation arteries. One is the C-4 (Circumferential Road 4), also known as Epifanio de los Santos Avenue or more popularly as EDSA. It is the major thoroughfare in Metro Manila connecting five cities in Metro Manila, namely Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, and Caloocan. Some other important roads are R-1 (Radial Road 1) (Roxas Boulevard and Manila-Cavite Expressway) connecting to Cavite province in the southwest; R-3 or the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) connecting to Laguna province in the southeast; R-6 (Aurora Boulevard and Marcos Highway) connecting to Rizal province in the east; and R-8 or the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) connecting to Bulacan province in the north. One of its newest roads, the Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, running on the reclamation area parallel to R-1, is one of the destinations of Manila's elite.

Metro Manila is notorious for its traffic jams. A trip that should take 20 minutes will last an hour or more especially during rush hour. Consequently, the Metro Manila Development Authority (see section below) has constructed many projects to decongest traffic.

Evening rush hour in EDSA with the MRT in the middle

Such projects of the MMDA for motorists are the construction of flyovers (elevated roads), interchanges, loading bays for Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs), emergency bays, and U-Turn slots over various intersections and thoroughfares, and the completion of the comprehensive railway system (see below). It has also been engaged in road widening with the support of the Department of Public Works and Highways. MMDA also has projects to benefit pedestrians, such as the installation of footbridges, waiting sheds, and men's urinals along various roads in the metropolis. The agency has also implemented various schemes for motorists such as the Uniform Vehicular Volume Reduction Scheme (UVRRS), more popularly known as "color coding", where vehicles whose plate numbers end in different digits are banned from traveling on different days, the Yellow Lane scheme, where yellow-plated PUBs (Public Utility Buses) will only use the two outermost lanes in EDSA, and the Organized Bus Route (OBR) for Metro Manila.

As of 2005, there are two different rapid transit systems in Metro Manila: the Manila Light Rail Transit System, or the LRT, and the Manila Metro Rail Transit System, or the MRT. The Yellow Line (LRT-1) and the Purple Line (LRT-2) form the LRT network, while the Blue Line (MRT-3) forms the MRT network, with 29 stations on the LRT and 13 stations on the MRT . Four more lines are proposed and would connect Metro Manila to the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal upon their completion.

Philippine National Railways also operates two main-line railway lines within Metro Manila, all part of the once-flourshing Luzon railway system. The northern line, known as Northrail and connecting Manila to Caloocan City, is currently closed. Line extensions are proposed to Valenzuela City and further on to Bulacan and Pampanga. The trans-Metro Manila portion of the still-open southern line, known as Southrail, commences at Tutuban station in Tondo, Manila, passes through the cities of Manila, Makati, Taguig, Parañaque and Las Piñas, and ends in Barangay Buli, Muntinlupa City, before entering the province of Laguna.


Manila Metro Rail Transit

As of 2005, there are two different rapid transit systems in Metro Manila: the Manila Light Rail Transit System, or the LRT, and the Manila Metro Rail Transit System, or the MRT. The Yellow Line (LRT-1) and the Purple Line (LRT-2) form the LRT network, while the Blue Line (MRT-3) forms the MRT network, with 29 stations on the LRT and 13 stations on the MRT . Four more lines are proposed and would connect Metro Manila to the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal upon their completion.

Philippine National Railways also operates two main-line railway lines within Metro Manila, all part of the once-flourshing Luzon railway system. The northern line, known as Northrail and connecting Manila to Caloocan City, is currently closed. Line extensions are proposed to Valenzuela City and further on to Bulacan and Pampanga. The trans-Metro Manila portion of the still-open southern line, known as Southrail, commences at Tutuban station in Tondo, Manila, passes through the cities of Manila, Makati, Taguig, Parañaque and Las Piñas, and ends in Barangay Buli, Muntinlupa City, before entering the province of Laguna.


The country's main airport is the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) which straddles the boundary between Parañaque City and Pasay City. It presently consists of two terminals, while a third one will open soon. There is also a separate domestic terminal. There are two main runways and the hangar of Philippine Airlines is located near the Villamor Air Base.

There are four airport terminals in Metro Manila, all of which are located in Parañaque City, 9 kilometers south of the City of Manila.

  • NAIA-1: the original terminal, constructed in 1981. The 67,000 square meter terminal was designed by Filipino architect Leandro V. Locsin and has a design capacity of 4.5 million passengers per year. It currently serves all non-Philippine Airlines international flights. The terminal has reached capacity in 1991 and has been over capacity ever since.
  • NAIA-2: finished in 1998 and named the Centennial Terminal since 1998 was the centennial year of the declaration of Philippine independence. The 75,000 square meter terminal was originally designed by Aéroports de Paris to be a domestic terminal, but the design was later modified to accommodate international flights. It has a capacity of 2.5 million passengers per year in its international wing and 5 million in its domestic wing, which later will expand to nine million passengers yearly. Terminal 2 is the home of Philippine Airlines and Air Philippines and is used for both its domestic and international flights since it has the most flights out of the NAIA terminals.
  • NAIA-3: approved for construction in 1997 and is nearly complete. The modern US$500 million, 189,000 square meter facility was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) to have a capacity of 13 million passengers per year. However, a legal dispute between the government of the Philippines and the project's main contractor, PIATCO, over alleged anomalies in the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) contract, is holding completion and opening of the terminal. On December 2004, the Philippine Government took over the management of the facility through an order of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC). Manila International Airport Authority is due to announce its opening in the mid-2006.
  • Domestic Airport: built on 1948 on the old Airport Road. It currently handles all domestic air traffic, excluding Philippine Airlines and Air Philippines. Currently, the terminal is composed of two single-story buildings and serves the domestic local carriers, which are Cebu Pacific, Asian Spirit, Southeast Asian Airlines (Seair), Laoag International Airlines and Interisland Airlines.


As of the census of 2000, there were 9,932,560 people and 2,132,989 households residing in Metro Manila. With a population density of 15,617/km², it is by far the most densely populated region of the Philippines. For the period 1995 to 2000, the annual population growth rate was 1.06 percent, lower than that of the 1990 to 1995 period (3.30 percent). If the current annual population growth rate of the metropolitan area continues, the population is expected to double in 65 years.

The most common language spoken in households is Tagalog (94.34%). English is widely understood.

The large majority of the population of Metro Manila is Roman Catholic (89.10%). Other religions include Iglesia ni Cristo (2.89%), Evangelicalism (1.64%), and Islam (0.60%). [1]


Metro Manila is home to several noteworthy Philippine higher educational institutions. It is the education capital of the country and many students from the provinces head onto Metro Manila to study. As such, several dormitories, apartments and boarding houses abound. Areas with a high number of educational institutions include the so-called "University Belt" and Taft Avenue in Manila, Katipunan Avenue and Fairview in Quezon City and Sta. Mesa straddling the Manila, Quezon City and Mandaluyong City borders.

Metro Manila is also home to numerous public and private basic education institutions, science high schools, and international schools.

Every year, thousands of students from the various countries of Asia, such as China, Japan, Korea, Iran and Vietnam, and even from Europe go to the Philippines to study.

Police and security

Police structure in the Philippines is centralized and its command center is located in Camp Crame in Santolan, Quezon City. Metro Manila is divided into 5 police districts namely Central (Quezon City), Western (City of Manila), Eastern (Mandaluyong, Pasig, Marikina, San Juan), Northern (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela) and Southern (Makati, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Parañaque, Taguig and Pateros). The Armed Forces of the Philippines' command headquarters is located in Camp Aguinaldo in Murphy, Quezon City. Metro Manila is the National Capital Region Command created by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to defend the metropolis from insurgents and terrorist groups. Philippine Army headquarters is located in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City. Philippine Air Force headquarters is located in Villamor Airbase in Pasay City. Philippine Navy headquarters was once located in Roxas Boulevard in Manila until its transfer by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Zamboanga City.

Public utilities


Metro Manila's electricity is generated by the state-owned National Power Corporation (Napocor) and other independent power producers across the island of Luzon. It is transmitted by the state-owned National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) through high tension wires. It is stored and distributed by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the only company allowed to distribute electricity to the metropolis.


Metro Manila and its surrounding areas are divided into two water concessionaires: Maynilad Water (red) and Manila Water (blue).

Metro Manila's tap water is sourced from the Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan. It is stored in the Novaliches Reservoir and filtered in the La Mesa Dam, both in northeast Quezon City. Metro Manila's water distribution and sewerage system used to be managed by the Metropolitan Water and Sewerage System (MWSS), a state-owned company. In 1997, MWSS awarded concessionare licenses to two private corporations. Metro Manila was sliced into two distribution areas.

  • Maynilad Water Services Inc. (MWSI). It is currently majority-owned by the MWSS, which took it over from Benpres Holdings Company, which also controls MERALCO. It operates in western Quezon City, southern Caloocan City, Manila (excluding Downtown), Valenzuela City, Malabon City, Navotas, Pasay City, Parañaque City, Las Piñas City, and western Muntinlupa City. MWSS is currently bidding out its shares in MWSI and expects to conclude the bidding before the end of the year.
  • Manila Water Company (MWC). It is owned by the Ayala Corporation, which also controls Globe Telecom. It operates in eastern Quezon City, northern Caloocan City, downtown Manila, Marikina City, Pasig City, Taguig City, Pateros, Makati City, Mandaluyong City, San Juan, and eastern Muntinlupa City.


Since 1925, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) was the Philippines' only phone carrier. With the passage of the National Telecommunications Act of 1995, the Philippine National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) granted licenses to new and independent companies to install new phones across the Philippines. The NTC granted 3 new licenses for Metro Manila.

  • Bayantel/ Benpres - Northern Metro Manila (Quezon City, northern Caloocan City, Malabon City, Navotas, Valenzuela City, Marikina City, northeastern Manila, and the Ortigas Center in Pasig City)
  • Globelines/ Innove - Southern Metro Manila (Makati City, Mandaluyong City, Muntinlupa City, Pasay City, Las Piñas City, Parañaque City, Taguig City, Pateros, San Juan, and Pasig City excluding the Ortigas Center)
  • Eastern Telecoms - Western Metro Manila (Southern Caloocan City and Manila, excluding the northeast part)

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is the administrative body in charge of the metropolis' development, and solving perennial problems such as traffic management, flood control, garbage disposal and sewage maintenance. It closely coordinates with various other organizations such as the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), as well as the local government units of the component cities and municipalities. The agency's head (appointed by the president) is currently Chairman Bayani Fernando.

It is a member of Asian Network of Major Cities 21.

See also


External links

Original Source

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