Political map of Metro Manila
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
On February 27, 1975, former President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Decree (P. D.) 824 which combined Manila, Quezon City, and some municipalities in Rizal and Bulacan and covered the area now known as Metropolitan Manila, Metro Manila, or the National Capital Region. Imelda Marcos, Ferdinand's first lady, became the first governor of its governing body, the Metropolitan Manila Commission. The MMC would soon be replaced by the MMDA or the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority in 1995, and the position governor was replaced by a chairman being appointed by the President of the Philippines.

So, the Metro Manila was created. Is that it, the original concept?

No. Metro Manila is like a modern Troy, a metropolis of many layers. The modern Metro Manila is not the first, and if it continues to evolve, it would not be the last.

Extent of the Kingdom of Namayan
at its peak
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
In 1335, a son of Raden Wijaya and a Manila princess turned empress of Wijaya's Madjapahit Empire, which was centered in Indonesia, established the Kingdom of Namayan, which encompassed half of the modern City of Manila up to the Laguna de Bai (Laguna de Bay). In those times, the Philippines was divided into several small principalities called barangays which amounted only to some 30 to 100 families (assuming each family had four members, 120 to 400 people). At times of war, two or three barangays team up into a confederation if they had a common enemy at hand. After the war, they break up again. What makes Namayan stand out is that it comprised of more than six barangays, which meant it would have around 700 to 2,500 people under its fold, and it is united under one ruler, which is so unlike the confederations that recognize joint leadership when they combined their turfs. Namayan, covering around a third of today's Metro Manila, survived another two centuries before being outshone by the Kingdoms of Tondo and Maynila, which both had better locations for maritime trade since they both face the calm Manila Bay. Tondo is way older than Namayan, since it was mentioned in the Laguna Copperplate Inscription (LCI), around the year 900. One theory I have here is that Tondo was reduced in influence in the area when Namayan power rose in the region. But Maynila is newer than Namayan, and the most famous ruler we know of this kingdom was Rajah Sulayman.

Map of the Province of Manila
In 1571, the Spanish established Manila as the Distinguished and Ever Loyal City and was given her own coat of arms by 1595. It also became capital of a larger area, which would be the Province of Manila. It covered the area of modern NCR, but extended farther east, occupying some town that are today under the Province of Rizal, such as San Mateo and Rodriguez. Of course, the Ever Loyal City is the provincial capital, until Emilio Aguinaldo, which had most of the province occupied, made Marikina the provincial capital. This lasted only for almost two years though. Still, it can be observed that Namayan and Manila Province had been glimpses of a greater Manila, an extra-Manila.

The City of Manila today, meanwhile, offers her territorial extent today to the Americans, which extended the city outside Intramuros (also known as the Walled City, it featured one of the first stone forts in Asia). Manila, the Ever Loyal City, only extended inside Intramuros. Some of the suburbs only began to be incorporated after the 1863 Corpus Christi earthquake, which forced the Captain General to transfer his palace outside Intramuros. That is, the Malacanang Palace. However, the Americans made possible the completion of today's City of Manila.

Metro Manila (or NCR, the National Capital Region) and the City of Manila should not be confused with, today or in her history. The former owed its history to Namayan and the Province of Manila, while the latter owed its history to Sulayman's kingdom and the Ever Loyal City. Besides, the current Philippine Constitution offers a distinction as well.

Manila shall be the capital of the Republic of the Philippines, and the area designated as Metro Manila shall be the seat of national government.

So, do not fret whenever you don't see the Senate of the Philippines (which is located in Pasay City) nor the House of Representatives (which is located in Quezon City) in the City of Manila (don't worry though, the palace of the President is still there), because even though it is the capital of the Philippine Republic, Metro Manila shall still be the seat of national government.