Manila (pronounced /məˈnɪlə/ mə-NIL-ə; Filipino: Maynila), officially the City of Manila, is the capital of the Philippines and one of the 16 cities that make up Metro Manila, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world with a population of 20 million people. It is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay on the western side of the island of Luzon. Several cities lie on its border: Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati to the southeast, and Pasay to the south.
With a population of 1,660,714 Manila proper is the second most populous city in the Philippines behind neighboring Quezon City. The city's inhabitants, however, inhabit an area of only 38.55 square kilometers, making Manila not only the most densely populated city in the Philippines but also the most densely populated city in the world.
The city is divided into six legislative districts and consists of sixteen geographical districts: Binondo, Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Paco, Pandacan, Port Area, Quiapo, Sampaloc, San Andres, San Miguel, San Nicolas, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz, Santa Mesa and Tondo. Within their precincts can be found areas of bustling commerce and some of the most historically and culturally significant iconic landmarks in the country as well as the seat of the executive and judicial branches of the government. It is home to many scientific and educational institutions, as well as numerous sport facilities. These make the city a major political, commercial, cosmopolitan, cultural, educational, religious, and transportation center of the Philippines.
The earliest written accounts of the city date back to the Spanish era which describe a native settlement already existing in the area when the Spanish first arrived. Manila eventually became the center of Spanish activity in the Far East and one end of the Manila–Acapulco galleon trade route leading to it being called the "Pearl of the Orient". Later, it saw the arrival of the Americans who made contributions to the city's urban planning and development only to have most of those improvements lost in the devastation of World War II. Since then the city has been rebuilt.