The below timeline provides an overview of significant events that not only help define the Republic of the Philippines, but also highlights the history that concurrently shaped both Malate and the Manila Baywalk into vibrant cultural and entertainment hubs. 

Pre-16th Century
Pre-Hispanic/Pre-colonial Era

Manila Bay was an important trading port for the pre-colonial kingdoms of the Philippines, such as the Kingdom of Maynila and the Sultanate of Sulu. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the region was inhabited by various indigenous groups, including the Tagalog people. The Tagalog people were known for their maritime skills and were active traders and fishermen. They established settlements along the coast and riverbanks, and their communities thrived on agriculture, fishing, and trade. The Tagalog people and other indigenous groups in the region had their own systems of government and social organization, with leaders known as datus or rajahs. They had their own religions and cultural traditions, many of which were influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism.

Asia-to-the-Americans Trade Network Established

The Kalakalang Galleon or Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade was a maritime trading route that connected Asia, particularly the Philippines and China, to the Americas, particularly Mexico and Peru, during the Spanish colonial era. The galleon trade started in 1565 and lasted for more than 250 years, until 1815.

The main cause of the Kalakalang Galleon trade was the need for Spain to establish a trade network that would connect its colonies in Asia to its colonies in the Americas. Spain wanted to control the valuable trade in silk, spices, and other goods that was taking place in Asia, as well as to exploit the rich silver mines in Mexico and Peru. The galleon trade was also influenced by the desire of the Spanish monarchy to spread Christianity and establish a Catholic empire.

The City of Manila is Established

The Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi established the city of Manila on the banks of the Pasig River, which flows into Manila Bay.

Miguel López de Legazpi was born in 1503, known as "the Early" and "the Elder". He was a conqueror and colonial administrator of the Philippine Islands and founder of Manila. After proclaiming Manila as the capital of the Philippine archipelago and the Spanish domains of the far East, López de Legazpi moved there his residence. He remained in Manila until his death from apoplexy on August 20, 1572.

Fort Santiago is Built

Fort Santiago, built in 1571, is a citadel built by Spanish navigator and governor Miguel López de Legazpi for the newly established city of Manila in the Philippines. The defense fortress is located in Intramuros, the walled city of Manila.

The fort is one of the most important historical sites in Manila. Several people died in its prisons during the Spanish Empire and World War II. José Rizal, one of the Philippine national heroes, was imprisoned here before his execution in 1896. The Rizal Shrine museum displays memorabilia of the hero in their collection and the fort features, embedded onto the ground in bronze, his footsteps representing his final walk from his cell to the location of the actual execution.

Chinese Pirate Attacks Manila Bay

The Battle of Manila was a battle in the Manila area between Chinese pirates and the Spanish colonial forces and their native allies.

In the year of 1574, the fleet of the Chinese pirate known as Limahon -- consisting of 3,000 pirates, 400 Japanese warriors, artisans, women and between 62 and 70 ships -- landed and began to assault the fortifications of Intramuros.

Although the warlord attacked Manila Bay, he is noted to have twice attempted, and failed, to invade the then-Spanish City of Manila.

The image is of a Spanish book titled, Attack of Limahong on Manila in 1574.

Malate Catholic Church

In 1588, in this village known as Malate, the Augustinian friars built a church in honor of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. The stone church and convent, built in 1591, suffered heavily during the earthquake of 1645 and 1863, while both buildings were pulled down in 1667 on orders of Governor General Manrique de Lara, who feared an invasion by the pirate Koxinga. But the Sino corsair died in Formosa or Taiwan just before the invasion, and the church was rebuilt later that year, and during the next three years, with the use of the same stones and bricks.

When the British landed in Manila in 1762, they made the church their headquarters. Repairs had to be made after the British left the following year. But both church and convent were destroyed beyond repair by the typhoon of June 1868.

The present church (the one in the image) was then rebuilt — starting in 1868 — for the third time in its entirety, thanks to the parish priest, Fr. Francisco Cuadrado, who, together with the poor fishermen of his parish, toured the city and nearby provinces to raise the much-needed funds. The upper façade of the church was completed three decades later, from 1894 to 1898.

The Japanese occupation proved disastrous to the church in Malate. Both church and the convent were burned, with just the walls left standing. Fortunately, the Columban fathers rebuilt the roof, the main altar, the dome and the transept around 1950, and in 1978, the interior of the church was painted, the bricks and the stones outside were made to look new.

The Intramuros City Walls Are Built

The walls of Intramuros are arguably the most important historical site in Manila.

They are near the mouth of the Pasig River on the southern bank. They are 3.7 kilometers long and are set up in an odd pentagon shape. They surround the five square kilometers that made up Spanish colonial Manila.

Governor-General Gomez Perez Dasmarias did the most to fortify Manila from 1590 to 1593. He changed the shape of the old fort to make it more useful and connected it to a curtain wall. In 1590, work began on a wall made of stone. During the time that Francisco Tello was Governor-General (1596–1602) and Pedro Bravo de Acua was Governor-General (1602–1606), the walls of the whole fort were raised and any previous damage was fixed.

Republic Act No. 597 made Intramuros a historical landmark and made Fort Santiago a national shrine in 1951. 

Chinatown is Established in Manila

The Spanish colonial authorities established Chinatown in the Binondo district — situated north of the Pasig River and west of the historic walled city of Intramuros — to attract Chinese traders and immigrants to Manila via Manila Bay.

Established in 1594 by Governor and Captain-General of the Philippines Luis Pérez Dasmariñas, Binondo was intended as a permanent settlement for Chinese immigrants, particularly those who had converted to Catholicism and intermarried with indigenous Filipinos. 

The Spanish were distrustful of the Chinese, and Binondo was said to have been intentionally situated to put some distance between the Spanish elite and sangleys — an archaic and derogatory term for pure-blooded Chinese immigrants — but close enough to keep an eye on them amid fears of an imminent invasion from China.

Today, Binondo remains a vibrant commercial and cultural center, known for its bustling streets, traditional Chinese shops and restaurants, and historic landmarks. It is considered the oldest Chinatown in the world.

The British Occupation of Manila

The Seven Years' War was a global conflict that involved most of the European great powers, and was fought primarily in Europe, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific. 

The British occupation of Manila was an episode in colonial history of the Philippines when the Kingdom of Great Britain occupied the Spanish colonial capital of Manila and the nearby port of Cavite for twenty months from 1762 to 1764. The occupation was an extension of the larger Seven Years' War between Britain and France, which Spain had recently entered on the side of the French.

The British wanted to use Manila as an entrepôt for trade in the region, particularly with China. In addition, the Spanish agreed to deliver a ransom to the British in exchange for the city being spared from any further sacking. The resistance from the provisional Spanish colonial government established by members of the Royal Audience of Manila led by Lieutenant Governor Simón de Anda y Salazar and their Filipino troops prevented British forces from expanding their control of the territory beyond the neighboring towns of Manila and Cavite.

The Manila Boat Club

The Manila Boat Club is the oldest existing club in Manila and its founding dates from 1895 when it welcomed affluent members of society, whilst portraying itself as the epitome of prosperity. The Club of those years was situated on Manila Bay on what is now Roxas Boulevard.

In the course of its existence, the club has moved four times. The first movement took place in the early part of the present century to the north bank of the Pasig River at Calle Nagtahan, Santa Mesa. In 1909, the Club transferred to the Isla de Provisor where it remained until the end of 1918. 

Throughout the 20s, the Club was on the lookout for a new site and finally at the end of 1931 an arrangement was made to lease the property upon which the Club now stands. A bond issue was floated to raise Php 7,000 for erection of a clubhouse and the building was completed and declared open on July 30th in 1932. Just over two months later, a general meeting was held in the new premises to constitute the Club as a corporation.

The Philippine Revolution

The Philippine Revolution is one of the most important events in the country’s history, awakening a proud sense of nationalism for generations of Filipinos to come. In a period of heavy struggle and conflict, Filipinos of different backgrounds united with a common goal: to resist colonialism.

The Philippine Revolution, also called the Tagalog War, was a conflict waged by the Filipino revolutionaries against the Spanish colonial authorities in an attempt to win the country's independence.

The Philippine Revolution began on August 24, 1896, when the Spanish authorities discovered the Katipunan, an anticolonial secret organization. The Katipunan, led by Andrés Bonifacio, began to influence much of the Philippines, taking full advantage of Spanish failures against Cuban nationalists in 1895 and declaring Spain a weakened empire. 

The Battle of Manila Bay

The Battle of Manila Bay, also known as the Battle of Cavite, took place in Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War. On May 1, 1898, the United States Asiatic Squadron, led by Commodore George Dewey, defeated the Spanish Navy in a surprise attack, effectively ending Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines, resulting in the transfer of the Philippines from Spanish to American colonial rule. 

In August 1898, U.S. forces occupied Manila and denied the independent — as declared by revolutionary leader Emilio Aguinaldo — Philippine Republic's troops entry into the city. That fall, Spain and the United States negotiated the Philippines' status at Paris without Filipino consultation. The U.S. Senate and the American public debated the Treaty of Paris, which granted the United States "sovereignty" over the Philippine Islands for $20 million. The discussion emphasized the economic costs and benefits of imperialism to the United States and the political and racial repercussions of colonial conquest.

The Philippine-American War

When U.S. troops fired on Philippine troops in February 1899, the Philippine-American War erupted. The U.S. Senate narrowly passed the Treaty of Paris, and the U.S. military enforced its provisions over the next three years through a bloody, racialized war of aggression. Following ten months of failed conventional combat, Philippine troops adopted guerrilla tactics, which American forces ultimately defeated only through the devastation of civilian property, the "reconcentration" of rural populations, and the torture and killing of prisoners, combined with a policy of "attraction" aimed at Filipino elites. While Filipino revolutionaries sought freedom and independent nationhood, a U.S.-based "anti-imperialist" movement challenged the invasion as immoral in both ends and means.

The American Colonial Rule

The United States of America exercised formal colonial rule over the Philippines, its largest overseas colony, between 1899 and 1946. American economic and strategic interests in Asia and the Pacific were increasing in the late 1890s in the wake of an industrial depression and in the face of global, inter-imperial competition. Spanish colonialism was simultaneously being weakened by revolts in Cuba and the Philippines, its largest remaining colonies.

Carried out in the name of promoting "self-government" over an indefinite but calibrated timetable, U.S. colonial rule in the Philippines was characterized politically by authoritarian bureaucracy and one-party state-building with the collaboration of Filipino elites at its core. The colonial state was inaugurated with a Sedition Act that banned expressions in support of Philippine independence, a Banditry Act that criminalized ongoing resistance, and a Reconcentration Act that authorized the mass relocation of rural populations.

In the interests of "pacification," American civilian proconsuls in the Philippine Commission, initially led by William Howard Taft, sponsored the Federalista Party under influential Manila-based elites. The party developed into a functioning patronage network and political monopoly in support of "Americanization" and, initially, U.S. statehood for the Philippines. 

Philippine-American colonialism also transformed both the Philippines and the United States in cultural terms. In the Philippines, the colonial state introduced a secular, free public school system that emphasized the English language (believed by U. S. officials to be the inherent medium of "free" institutions), along with industrial and manual training to facilitate capitalist economic development. While the Filipino elite retained and developed Spanish as a language of literature, politics, and prestige into the 1920s—often contrasted with "vulgar" Americanism—Filipinos increasingly learned and transformed English and used it to their own purposes.

The Manila Bay Shipyard is Established

The first shipyard in the Manila Bay area was established in the district of Pandacan, Manila, in 1904 by the Elizalde and Company.

This shipyard was one of the earliest and most significant shipyards in the Philippines, playing a crucial role in the development of the country's maritime industry. The Elizalde and Company shipyard produced a wide range of ships, including passenger liners, cargo vessels, and warships. It was known for its innovative designs and high-quality workmanship, and it helped to establish the Philippines as a major player in the maritime industry in the early 20th century.

The Elizalde and Company shipyard is no longer operational today. The shipyard, which was located in the district of Pandacan in Manila, played a significant role in the development of the Philippine maritime industry in the early 20th century, but it eventually ceased operations due to changes in the industry.

In recent years, there have been efforts to revitalize the maritime industry in the Philippines, including the shipbuilding and ship repair sector. Several modern shipyards have been established in the Manila Bay area and other parts of the country, and there is renewed interest in developing the industry to take advantage of the Philippines' strategic location and skilled workforce.

Roxas Boulevard was Developed

Roxas Boulevard, a major thoroughfare along the shore of Manila Bay, was developed.

This waterfront boulevard, famed for the Manila Bay sunset, was originally called Cavite Boulevard. It was later renamed Dewey Boulevard after Admiral George Dewey, who defeated the Spanish Navy in the Battle of Manila Bay. During the Japanese occupation, it was called Heiwa Boulevard and finally, it was called Roxas Boulevard by the 1960s, in honor of President Manuel Roxas.

Manila Bay Emerges as a Commercial Hub

Manila Bay emerges as a hub for commercial and trade activities, with the construction of piers and wharves. The area attracts both local and foreign businessmen, leading to the development of hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

The Manila Hotel

The Manila Hotel, a luxury hotel overlooking Manila Bay, was completed.

Rizal Park Opens to the Public

Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park, was originally created as a public garden by Spanish architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham in 1902 during the American colonial period in the Philippines.

The park was officially opened to the public on December 30, 1926, to coincide with the commemoration of the death anniversary of the Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, who was executed by the Spanish colonial government on December 30, 1896. Since then, Rizal Park has become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, with many historical landmarks and attractions located within its grounds.

Malate: Choice of the Rich & Famous

Malate becomes a popular residential area for American expatriates and Filipino elites, leading to the development of restaurants, cafes, and theaters.

Malate Nightlife Emerges

The nightlife scene in Malate begins to emerge with the opening of dance clubs, cabarets, and theaters. One of the most popular venues was the Life Theater, which hosted live performances, plays, and film screenings.

Philippine Navy Opens Along Roxas Boulevard

The Philippine Navy officially opened its headquarters and main base along Roxas Boulevard in Manila in 1940.

The base, which was known as the Philippine Navy Headquarters and Naval Station, was constructed with the assistance of the United States and was designed to accommodate the Navy's growing fleet and support its operations. Over the years, the base has undergone several renovations and upgrades to keep pace with the changing needs and capabilities of the Navy.

The original headquarters of the Philippine Navy was located at Port Area, Manila, which is situated near the mouth of the Pasig River and the Manila Bay.

WWII: Japanese Capture Manila

During World War II, Manila Bay became a battleground between American and Japanese forces.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and subsequently invaded the Philippines.

On January 2, 1942, the Japanese captured Manila, and Manila Bay became a vital base for Japanese military operations in the region. The Philippines was under Imperial Japanese occupation for three years. The Manila Hotel was used as a headquarters by the Japanese military during this time. 

The image is of the Japanese Imperial Army.

The Battle for the Liberation of Manila

The battle for the liberation of Manila — waged from February 3 to March 3, 1945, between Philippine and American forces, and the Imperial Japanese forces — is widely considered to be one of the greatest tragedies of the Second World War. One hundred thousand men, women, and children perished. Architectural heritage was reduced to rubble—the City of Manila was the second most devastated Allied capital of World War II.

During this battle, the American forces launched a major offensive to recapture the Philippines. The battle resulted in the defeat of the Japanese and the eventual liberation of Manila and the Philippines.

World War II and the Japanese occupation led to the destruction of many buildings and structures in Manila Bay and Malate. Reconstruction efforts begin after the war, with the development of new buildings and infrastructure. 

Rizal Park Grandstand

The Rizal Park Grandstand, also known as the Independence Grandstand, is located in the eastern section of Rizal Park facing Roxas Boulevard — and Manila Bay behind it.

The Grandstand was built in 1935 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Philippine Independence from American colonial rule. The structure was designed by architect Juan Arellano and built under the supervision of the Bureau of Public Works.

The Grandstand has been the site of many significant events in Philippine history, including the proclamation of Philippine independence by President Manuel L. Quezon on July 4, 1946. It has also been the venue for numerous political rallies, cultural performances, and sports events.

Today, the Grandstand continues to serve as a landmark and gathering place for the Filipino people.

Manila Yacht Club Relocated to Roxas Boulevard

The original Manila Yacht Club (MYC) — located along the Pasig River — was heavily damaged during World War II; its facilities were destroyed.

In the mid-1940s, the MYC was rebuilt and relocated to its current location along Roxas Boulevard in Manila.

The Manila Zoo

THE Manila Zoo, known officially as the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden, is one of the frequently visited places in the City of Manila. First opened in 1959, the zoo is the go-to place for field trips or excursions for children as they get to see wildlife from the Philippines and various parts of the world.

The Manila Zoo re-opened to the public after its first major renovation which started in 2019 after the DENR called out the lack of proper sewage system in the facility.

This 5.5-hectare facility is located along Adriatico Street in Malate, Manila.

United States Embassy

Although the original chancery of the US Embassy in Manila was built in 1940 along A. Mabini Street, the current and main embassy building -- situated along the intersection of Roxas Boulevard and United Nations Avenue -- was completed in 1960. The Embassy has undergone several expansions and renovations over the years to accommodate the embassy's growing staff and function.

Malate: Manila's Bohemian Culture

Malate becomes known as the center of Manila's bohemian culture, attracting artists, writers, musicians, and intellectuals. The area is also known for its lively nightlife scene with the opening of bars, nightclubs, and discos.

Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex

The construction of the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex along Roxas Boulevard -- started in 1966 -- brought more development to the area.

Martial Law Under Ferdinand Marcos

At 7:17 pm on September 23, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos announced on television that he had placed the entirety of the Philippines under martial law.

This marked the beginning of a 14-year period of one-man rule that would effectively last until Marcos was exiled from the country on February 25, 1986.

When he declared martial law in 1972, Marcos claimed that he had done so in response to the "communist threat" posed by the newly founded Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and the sectarian "rebellion" of the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM). Opposition figures of the time — such as Lorenzo Tañada, Jose W. Diokno, and Jovito Salonga — accused Marcos of exaggerating these threats, using them as a convenient excuse to consolidate power and extend his tenure beyond the two presidential terms allowed by the 1935 constitution.

After Marcos was ousted, it is alleged that government investigators discovered that the declaration of martial law had also allowed the Marcoses to hide secret stashes of unexplained wealth.

Even though the formal document proclaiming martial law – Proclamation No. 1081, which was dated September 21, 1972 – was formally lifted on January 17, 1981, Marcos retained essentially all of his powers as dictator until he was ousted.

Sub Label
LGBT Community Thrives in Malate

The gay community in Manila begins to thrive in Malate, with the opening of gay bars, nightclubs, and bathhouses. This leads to the development of a vibrant and diverse LGBTQ+ community.

The PICC Project

The construction of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and the Folk Arts Theater further transformed the waterfront area of Roxas Boulevard.

The Philippine International Convention Center (image above) is a convention center located in the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex. The facility has been the host of numerous local and foreign conventions, meetings, fairs, and social events.

In 1974, then President Ferdinand Marcos signed the Presidential Decree No. 520 which authorized the Central Bank of the Philippines (now Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) to construct an international conference building, acquire a suitable area for that purpose, and organize a corporation to manage a conference center. Thus, the PICC was organized under the Corporation Code. This was a part of Marcos' efforts to make Metro Manila as one of Southeast Asia's financial centers.

The PICC served as the office of the Vice President of the Philippines until 2005.

Bay City is Established

Bay City, also known as the Manila Bay Freeport Zone and Manila Bay Area, is the name for the reclamation area on Manila Bay located west of Roxas Boulevard. The plan was to reclaim 3,000 hectares of land in Manila Bay.

The project, formerly known as Boulevard 2000, was initiated by Imelda Marcos in 1977, with the creation of the Public Estate Authority (now Philippine Reclamation Authority) to manage the project. By the end of the Marcos rule in 1986, 660 hectares had been reclaimed, including the 77-hectare (190-acre) Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex.

On January 25, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 35 and was organized as Manila Bay Freeport Zone.

The area is most well known for being home of the SM Mall of Asia, the third largest mall in the Philippines; Aseana City, an integrated mixed-use central business district serving the Bay Area; Solaire, Okada and Entertainment City — Las Vegas-style casinos with amusement parks, theaters, office building, hotels, residential buildings and resorts.

Bay City remains consistently under development, experiencing incredible growth and prosperity.

Malate Reaches the Peak of its Popularity

Malate continues to be a popular destination for nightlife and entertainment, with the opening of more bars, clubs, and restaurants.

The area also becomes known for its street parties and festivals, such as the annual Malate Literary Festival.

The Harbor Square Development

The Harbor Square development was built on a reclaimed area along the Manila Baywalk and was one of the first commercial and recreational developments in the area. The Harbor Square complex consists of a retail mall, dining and entertainment establishments and a marina.

Star City

Star City is a 35,000 m² amusement park in Pasay, Philippines, that opened in 1991.

It is located in the reclaimed area of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, part of Bay City.

The Manila Baywalk Opens to the Public

The Manila Baywalk was unveiled as a 1.5-kilometer park and recreational space paved by colorful interlocked stone slabs, widened walkways and bike lanes, lined with trees, restaurants, cafes, street lamps, fountains, park benches and an amphitheater for public performances, all overlooking Manila Bay.

When Alfredo Lim became city mayor in 2007, he proceeded to get rid of the restaurant-bars and other commercial establishments along the Baywalk.

Shortly afterward, informal settlers moved in and occupied the area, and the once vibrant seaside promenade dramatically changed. 

While the removal of the dining establishments, et cetera, was intended to bring some semblance of order and transform it into a good old-fashioned park, it did have the unintended consequence of bringing the Manila Baywalk into a state of decline. The tourists and the locals still visited, but there was a marked decline in foot traffic. As a result, the area was not as well-maintained, though not in a state of total neglect.

The Decline of Malate

Apparently unnoticed, unacknowledged, or worse, met with a shoulder shrug and lack of concern at the time, the area along and around Roxas Boulevard began a heartbreaking, quiet — almost secret — and slow deterioration, mostly due to increasing pollution.

As a result of this pollution, an increased crime rate and gradual urban decay, Malate's nightlife scene sadly began to decline. Many of the bars, clubs, and restaurants are forced to close, leading to the area's multiple-year decline as a nightlife destination.

SM Mall of Asia

More than just a Mall, the SM Mall of Asia is a tourist destination that has raised the standard of shopping, leisure and entertainment in the Philippines.

SM Supermalls — SM Mall of Asia developer — is one of Southeast Asia’s biggest developers and the operator of 79 malls in the Philippines, and 8 malls in China. With an average foot traffic of 4.2 million daily in the Philippines, 300,000 in China and over 20,000 tenant partners, SM Supermalls provides family fun experiences as it partners with the best-loved brands and events.

SM Supermalls is owned by SM Prime Holdings, Inc., a publicly-listed company and is one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia.

Typhoon Milenyo

The Manila Baywalk was damaged by Typhoon Milenyo, which caused flooding and debris along the promenade.

The Supreme Court Mandamus of 2008

The Supreme Court issues a writ of mandamus ordering the cleanup and rehabilitation of Manila Bay, including the Baywalk area. The order is part of the government's efforts to address the pollution and environmental degradation of the bay.

The Manila Baywalk Closes: Pollution

The Manila Baywalk was temporarily closed to the public due to pollution and sanitation issues.

The Manila Baywalk was reopened after undergoing rehabilitation and cleanup efforts by the city government and various environmental groups.

Shortly thereafter, Mother Nature again and again proved that the pollution problem was deep, and it was not something that could be solved cosmetically or without significant focus and planning.

Although likely far slower than environmentalists and nature lovers would have preferred, behind the scenes, plans for the upcoming "Battle for Manila Bay" — the government's response to the Supreme Court Mandamus of 2008 — had already begun.

Manila Ocean Park Complex

Maybe as an unintentional effort to breathe life into the area, The Manila Ocean Park opens to the public.

The Manila Ocean Park complex is a marine-themed park and oceanarium located along Manila Bay, adjacent to Rizal Park. It opened in 2008 and features a variety of attractions and exhibits, including an oceanarium, a marine-themed mall, a hotel, and several restaurants and cafes.

The oceanarium is one of the main attractions of the complex and features a wide variety of marine life from different parts of the world. The park also offers various interactive experiences for visitors, such as swimming with sharks, feeding fish, and a glass-bottom boat ride. Hotel H2O is located within the Manila Ocean Park complex and is a unique hotel that offers guests the opportunity to stay in aquarium-themed rooms. The hotel has 147 rooms, each featuring an aquarium wall that allows guests to see different species of marine life.

Reclamation Projects Approved

Even though in 1993, the Manila City Council passed City Ordinance 7777 which banned any form of reclamation along Manila Bay from the US Embassy to the CCP Complex, the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) received approval for various reclamation projects in that exact area: in front of the Manila Baywalk.

These reclamation projects include the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Plan, which aims to reclaim about 2,000 hectares of land along the Manila Bay shoreline for mixed-use developments and other infrastructure projects. The plan has been controversial, with concerns raised about its potential environmental impact and the displacement of fishing communities in the area.

It must be noted also that the land the United States Embassy, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Sofitel Hotel, the MOA, nearly all of Bay City (casinos, hotels, shopping malls), et cetera, are all resting now on reclaimed lands; therefore, the idea of reclaimed land somewhere in-between the US Embassy and the Manila Yacht Club area would seem quite likely.

The Battle for Manila Bay

The Philippine government launched the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program — endearingly termed The Battle for Manila Bay, an obvious historical and hopeful, inspiring reference — a multi-agency effort aimed at improving the water quality and environmental conditions of Manila Bay. The program involves various initiatives such as cleanup drives, relocation of informal settlers along the bay, and the enforcement of environmental regulations on businesses and industries operating in the area.

The Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach

The DENR announced plans to construct a beach using crushed dolomite rocks as part of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program.

Manila Baywalk Redevelopment

The City of Manila government announced plans to once again redevelop the Manila Baywalk area, which had badly fallen into disrepair over the past few decades.

The redevelopment will involve upgrading the walkway and adding new amenities such as public restrooms, seating areas and lighting fixtures.

This work continues still today.

June 2022
Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach Inauguration

The Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach was inaugurated and permanently opened to the public.

The Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program Continues

The Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program continues concurrently alongside the rehabilitation and restoration of several historical landmarks in the Manila Bay area — some completed, some ongoing — including the Manila Metropolitan Theater, the National Museum of Fine Arts, and the Fort Santiago complex in Intramuros. Additionally, several private sector developers have also invested in the Manila Bay area, with plans to construct mixed-use developments, residential towers, and other commercial projects along the Bay.