Metropolitan Manila, commonly known as Metro Manila, the National Capital Region (NCR) of the Philippines, is the metropolitan region of the country which is composed of the City of Manila and the surrounding cities of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon City, San Juan, Taguig, and Valenzuela, as well as the Municipality of Pateros.
The region is the center of culture, economy, education, and politics of the Philippines. Its most populous and largest city in terms of land area is Quezon City, with the center of business and financial activities in Makati (with Ayala Center and Rockwell Center), and in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world located in the City of Manila is also a center of the thriving economic activities in the region, along with Ermita and Malate. Other financial areas within the region include: Araneta Center, Eastwood City and Triangle Park in Quezon City; Ortigas Center, which is shared by the cities of Mandaluyong and Pasig, with parts of it belonging to Quezon City; Bay City reclamation area, which is split between the cities of Pasay and Parañaque; and Ayala Alabang and Filinvest Corporate City in Muntinlupa.
Since the colonial period, Manila has been the center of education. The University of Santo Tomas (1611), Colegio de San Juan de Letran (1620), Ateneo de Manila University (1859) are some of the educational institutions established during the colonial period. The country's national university, the University of the Philippines, along with several state colleges and universities calls the region as its home. Most of the educational institutions in the country is concentrated on an area called as "the University Belt" where there is a high concentration or a cluster of colleges and universities. The high concentration of higher learning institutions makes Manila the country's educational capital.
Its economical power makes the region the country's center for finance and commerce. Its gross regional product is estimated as of July 2011 to be $159 billion and accounts for 33% of the nation's GDP. It was listed by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2011 as the 28th largest economy of all urban agglomerations in the world and the 2nd in Southeast Asia.
Metro Manila is the most populous of the 12 defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines and the 11th most populous in the world. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 11,855,975, equivalent to 13% of the national population. The sum of total population of provinces with a density above 700 people per square kilometer (more than double the national average) in a contiguous zone with Metro Manila is 25.5 million people as of the 2007 census. One way to refer to the conurbation around Metro Manila is Greater Manila Area.
The area of Metropolitan Manila was already settled before the Spanish came. The Malayo-Polynesians who displaced the aboriginal Negritos, traded and received goods and peoples from its Asian neighbors. Thus the area possessed many labels according to the varying cultures that interacted with it before the Spanish came. The Chinese called the place "東都" (Dongdu) when it was under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Tondo. During the era of the Maharajanate of Majapahit the area was called "षेलुरोन्ग्" (Selurong) and under the Sultanate of Brunei it was called كوتا سلودوڠ (Kota Saludong) or simply Maynila.
After the Spaniards arrived from Nueva España, now Mexico, Spanish Manila was founded on June 24, 1571, by three conquistadors: Martín de Goiti, Juan de Salcedo, and Miguel López de Legazpi who successfully wrested power away from Lakan Dula, Rajah Matanda and Tariq Suleiman. Spanish power was eventually consolidated after the Tondo Conspiracy and the Battle of Manila (1574) attempted by the Chinese Pirate Warlord Limahong. After doing this, they renamed the area and its surroundings as Nuevo Reino de Castilla. In 1867, the Spanish Government of the Philippines established the municipalities and territories south of the District of Morong in Nueva Ecija, north of the Province of Tondo and Manila, and isolated these from their mother province of Nueva Ecija. The government created the Province of Manila, composed of the Province of Tondo to the south and the isolated territories of Nueva Ecija to the north. The parts of Tondo were Navotas, Tambobon (presently called Malabon), and Caloocan; the parts of Nueva Ecija were Mariquina (Marikina), Balintauag (Balintawak), Caloocan, Pasig, San Felipe Neri (which is now Mandaluyong), Las Piñas, what had once been known as Parañaque, and Muntinlupa. The capital of the Province was Intramuros, then itself called and considered to be Manila, a walled city located along the banks of the Pasig River and on the shore of the Manila Bay. Through the ages, this city witnessed the sailing of the Manila Galleons when it was a territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, then, massive arson and looting during the British Occupation of Manila. Eventually, it was ruled directly from Spain after the Mexican War of Independence and was educated with liberal ideas right before the Cavite Mutiny(Precursor of the Philippine Revolution) occurred.
During the Philippine Revolution, the Province of Manila was the last of the eight provinces to first revolt against Spain in 1896, paving the establishment of the Philippine Republic (composed of Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, Laguna, Batangas, Cavite and Manila). The Province of Manila remained in existence until 1901, when its territory was subdivided by the Americans.
In 1901, the Philippine Assembly created the City of Manila composed of the municipalities of Ermita, Intramuros, Manila, Tondo, Santa Cruz, Santa Ana de Sapa, San Nicolas, San Miguel, San Fernando de Dilao (Paco), Port Area, Pandacan, Sampaloc, Quiapo, Binondo, Malate, San Andres, and Santa Mesa. The municipalities of Caloocan, Mariquina, Pasig, Parañaque, Malabon, Navotas, San Juan del Monte, Makati (San Pedro de Macati), Mandaluyong (San Felipe Neri), Las Piñas, Muntinlupa and Taguig-Pateros were incorporated into a new province named Rizal, the capital of which was Pasig.
In 1941, with the onset of World War II, President Manuel L. Quezon created the City of Greater Manila as an emergency measure, merging the city and municipal governments of Manila, Quezon City, San Juan del Monte, Caloocan, etc. and appointed Jorge Vargas as mayor. Existing mayors of the included cities and municipalities served as vice-mayors for their areas. This was in order to ensure Vargas, who was Quezon's principal lieutenant for administrative matters, would have a position of authority that would be recognized under international military law. There were doubts if the Japanese Imperial Army poised to occupy Manila would recognize the authorities of members of the Quezon cabinet. The City of Greater Manila was abolished by the Japanese with the formation of the Philippine Executive Commission to govern the occupied regions of the country. As an administrative concept, however, the City of Greater Manila served as a model for Metro Manila and the position of Metro Manila governor established during the Marcos administration.
In 1975, the Metropolitan Manila Commission was created to administer the emerging metropolis when President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 824. Marcos appointed his wife Imelda as governor of Metro Manila.
In 1986, after a major government reorganization, President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order No. 392 and changed the structure of the Metropolitan Manila Commission and renamed it to the Metropolitan Manila Authority. Metro Manila mayors chose from among themselves the chair of the agency.
In 1995, through Republic Act 7924, Metro Manila Authority was reorganized and became the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. The chair of the agency is appointed by the President and should not have a concurrent elected position such as mayor.