Around Mega Manila

PauTravels in Intramuros Manila

Being a resident of Manila, traveling around it is just part of my routine.  I have been to almost every nook and corner of Manila.  But I’d just try to write up something about the nation’s capital in this article.

Manila lies along the inland shores of Manila Bay at the central area of the island of Luzon, the northern major island of the Philippines.  It was born from the banks of the Pasig River near its mouth that open up to the Manila Bay.  It has acquired its name from an extinct mangrove tree that bloomed a beautiful white flower, called ‘Nilad‘. The nilad used to be abundant near the river delta.  Local people called the place ‘may nilad‘, which meant ‘where there is nilad‘.  Eventually the name became from May Nilad to Maynila, in Filipino verbage and Manila in English.

The city is the current seat of the democratic government of the Philippines and has been a center of political power for more than 400 years, except during the Commonwealth regime in the 1940’s.  The city has been part of the Philippine history and dates back to pre-Hispanic occupation until in 1570 when it was ceded as the capital of the archipelago named in the honor of King Philip of Spain.

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Viva Cebu!

PauTravels at the Magellan's Cross in Cebu

In continuation of our trip last September 2006 in the island of Bohol, our group of 17 people ferry ourselves to one of the key and most historical cities in the Philippines.  Cebu City is part of now the great metropolitan region of Metro Cebu which lies in the middle section of elongated island province of Cebu.

Cebu (pronounced as ‘Se-boo’) is the center of commerce and trade in the Visayan region of the Philippines and is connected to most domestic airports and some international airports through the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.  This makes Cebu as the second major gateway and second most important trade center of the country after Manila.  The Port of Cebu also connects the island to other islands in the country.

Aside from it’s importance in the Philippine economy, Cebu is also very rich in history as it is considered the oldest city in the country.  It marks its existence in history for more than 439 years ago, before the first Spanish expedition came in the islands in 1521 which led to the Philippines’ official discovery, putting it in the map.  The expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan that year has seen a thriving settlement with an organized social structure led by a datu.  And the settlement was already a center of trade by trading Chinese, Japanese, Malays, Indians, Burmese, and Arabs.

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