Manila Bay - History


Manila Bay was connected to Laguna Lake (or Laguna de Bai) approximately 3,000 years ago. Recurring episodic uplifts along the West Marikina Valley Fault caused the two to break up. Interaction between Manila Bay and Laguna Lake occurs only through Pasig River.

The bay was the setting for the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898 in which American troops led by Commodore George Dewey, seized the area. Significantly, this battle showcased the United States' naval strength when all major Spanish ships were destroyed and captured. With its proud historic past and the place brimming with marine life, Manila Bay became the ocean portal to its epicenter for government, economy and industry. Seven years later during the Russo-Japanese War at the close of the Battle of Tsushima in 1905, three surviving Russian protected cruisers, the Aurora, Zhemchug, and Oleg, managed to make port in then-United States-controlled Manila for repairs. But because the US was a neutral power, the trio of warships and their crews remained interned by the U.S. until the war officially came to an end in September that year. In World War II, Corregidor Island was annexed by Japanese forces fighting from this bay once again in 1942. Even earlier various other battles were fought from this naval base including the La Naval de Manila in 1646, which finally put a stop gate to the Dutch trials to seize the Philippines.

Today, Manila Bay still remains important for commerce and industry, including fishing, although rapid urban growth and industrialization are contributing to a decline in water quality and deteriorating marine habitats. It also serves a focus for recreation for Metro Manila and is a popular destination for walks and for viewing the sunset. Much of the land fronting the bay along Metro Manila is reclaimed land which now includes important sites such as the Philippine Senate and the Mall of Asia.

On September 27, 2011, The sea walls of Manila Bay were destroyed by the storm surge caused by Typhoon Pedring. Even the US Embassy, Museo Pambata and Sofitel Philippine Plaza were submerged into flooding. It was estimated that the damage would cost P30 million. On April 2012, the sea walls were once again opened to public and it was also designed to become stronger to withstand strong storm surges.

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