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Manila has come a long way from being a fortified settlement and trading quarter near the mouth of the Pasig River to a walled enclave during the Spanish era when it was designated the capital of the Philippines on 24 June 1571.

The influence of Manila was aptly evoked by a humorous jab from National Artist Nick Joaquin who said “When Manila sneezes, the Philippines catches cold”

In 1958, then Manila Mayor Arsenio Lacson declared 24 June as the city’s foundation day. In 1963, Manila Mayor Antonio Villegas changed the name of the festivity from “Foundation Day” to “Araw ng Maynila.”

The city is the seat of government which makes it the logical center of activity for the whole nation.

In the realm of politics, Manila has become too powerful that it dictates the fate of most of the country’s provinces and regions.

Thus, the farther away a political subdivision is from Manila, the poorer they become.

The influence of Manila was aptly evoked by a humorous jab from National Artist Nick Joaquin who said “When Manila sneezes, the Philippines catches cold.”

The two People Power revolts, for instance, were mostly staged by the middle class of Manila but it changed the political fortune of the whole country.

The equation has greatly changed after President Rodrigo Duterte took the rein of power. As a longtime mayor of Davao City, which is now an emerging center of development in Mindanao, Mr. Duterte made equal distribution of progress as a policy.

Development has become more equitable even as Manila is strengthened as a key economic engine.

From Imperial Manila, the capital city became a model for development of other urban centers of the nation.

With its rich history, Manila also remains the showcase of the Philippine’s character as a melting pot in the region where East meets West.

As the city marks its 448th year, Manila continues to shine as the center of everything, from commerce, tourism and even for its notorious daily traffic that lends the face and character for the entire Philippines and all Filipinos.

If the pursuit of a federal government pulls through, Manila would evolve into being the first among equals of developed cities throughout the entire progressive Philippines.

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