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In 1564, conquistadors led by Miguel López de Legazpi sailed from New Spain (Mexico) and arrived on the island of Cebu in February 13, 1565. There they established the first Spanish colony in the archipelago. Having heard of rich resources of Manila by local natives, López de Legazpi dispatched two of his Lieutenant-commanders, Martín de Goiti and Juan de Salcedo to explore the northern regions of the Visayas.

In 1570, the Spaniards arrived in the island of Luzon. After quarrels had erupted between the Islamic natives and the Spaniards; Goiti and López de Legazpi's soldiers waged war on the people, before they were able to take control and establish a permanent settlement in the area. In 1571 after the natives were defeated in battle, López de Legazpi made a peace pact with Rajah Sulayman, Rajah Lakandula and Rajah Matanda; who, in return, handed over Manila to the Spaniards.

Citing the rich resources and location of Manila; López de Legazpi declared the area as the new capital of the Spanish colony in the Philippines on June 24, 1571. The King of Spain, delighted at the new conquest achieved by López de Legazpi and his men, awarded the city a coat of arms and declaring it Ciudad Insigne y Siempre Leal ("Distinguished and ever loyal city").

The planning of the city of Manila was commenced by López de Legazpi who had become the first Governor general on the islands. He established forts, roads, churches and schools. The plans for Intramuros were based on King Philip II's Royal Ordinance issued on July 3, 1573 in San Lorenzo, Spain. It's design was based upon a star fort or trace italienne (a very flat structure composed of many triangular bastions, specifically designed to cover each other, and a ditch) and covered 64 hectares of land, surrounded by 8 feet thick stones and high walls that rise 22 feet.It was built to protect the seat of the Government by raiding Chinese pirates, especially Lim-Ah-Hong.

馬尼拉位於菲律賓最大島嶼呂宋島西岸,瀕馬尼拉灣,是菲律賓首都. 它是全國政治、經濟、文化的中心, 也是全國最大的交通樞紐和貿易港口.

馬尼拉還被譽為“亞洲最歐化的城市”. 比比皆是的教堂構成了一道獨特的風景線;古老的西班牙王城內富麗堂皇的大教堂讓人感受到歷史的滄桑與積澱; 而布滿街頭由五顏六色的圖案、車燈和輪胎組成的吉普尼則展現了馬尼拉的物資雜交: 菲律賓人利用美國大兵撤離時留下的吉普, 換上日本的引擎、馬來西亞的橡膠輪胎, 再把白色鐵皮的車殼用繽紛的當地顏料刷一遍,就載著全世界來的客人到處跑了.

現實中的馬尼拉實在又是一個讓人擔憂的地方: 報紙上連篇累牘的綁架、搶劫、爆炸事件報道令人讀得心驚肉跳, 所有大型公共設施入門處荷槍實彈的保安對顧客進行的“安檢”在保證安全的同時, 又時時提醒著人們這是一個面臨恐怖威脅的城市, 而高樓大廈旁邊低矮擁擠的簡陋木板房和露宿街頭的人們以及皮膚棕黑、光著身子滿街亂跑的小男孩更讓人擔憂在這種強烈的貧富對比下, 他們有一天是否會成為新的不安定因素…

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