Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is the 7th largest city in the National Capital Region (NCR), otherwise called Metropolitan Manila. NCR is one of the 17 regions in the Philippines. It is located at the mouth of Pasig River and Manila Bay and found in South-western part of Luzon, the biggest island of the Philippine archipelago.

It is bounded on the west by Manila Bay, on the north by Navotas and Caloocan City, on the east by Quezon City, San Juan and Mandaluyong City, and on the South by Makati City, Pasay City and Parañaque City.

Organisation reference

Philippine Normal University


There are more than 300 higher education institutions (HEIs) in Metro Manila (NCR) of the 1,710 HEIs in the country. 28 of the 233 public HEIs are in NCR. About 50 HEIs with four state universities and two local universities are in Manila. A number of big HEIs in Manila have campuses outside of Manila. For instance, the Philippine Normal University has four campuses located in North Luzon, South Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The same situation holds true with the Technological University of the Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, De la Salle University and many more.


Geographical context

The city of Manila lies in a coastal area, specifically in the coast of Manila Bay. Thus, it is considered as a low-lying area. It is said that Manila developed from a river delta and has now been altered by its inhabitants. Since the influx of migrants from the provinces, Manila expanded to nearby towns that expanded into cities and this group of cities compose Metro Manila (Ragrario, 2003).

Manila is a mega city with 16 highly urbanised cities composed of Manila, Quezon City, Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig, San Juan,

Social context

It is the smallest region in terms of land area (1,425 km2 - 0.48% of total land area of the Philippines); yet, it is the most thickly populated region with an estimated population of 12.88 million as of 2015, and Manila’s share of the population is 1.78 million. Manila’s population increases by 1.58% annually (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2016a).

Manila is the most highly urbanised city in the country and the most densely populated city in the Philippines, with 71,263 persons per square kilometres in 2015 (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2016),  which is 60 times higher than the country

Economic context

Manila is bustling with economic activities such as business and trading, transportation, electronics, business product outsourcing, tourism, and other service-oriented activities. Manila Harbour, the country’s main seaport, can host hundreds of ships at the same time, and it is a busy harbour for import and export processes. New buildings such as hotels, condominiums and malls are built to cater to tourists, residents and other migrants. Other new players are those in the gaming industries and entertainment.

Manila and the country are economically growing because the city is now a key player

Environmental issues

There are a number of environmental issues in Manila. These include: poor flood control; air and noise pollution; water pollution; poor enforcement of environmental laws; and urban heat island effect. These are discussed below.

Poor Flood Control

Heavy downpour of rain lasting for one hour or so cause floods in some districts of Manila. Although there are only very few areas that might be flooded, the rest of the city’s roads are affected because of the traffic flow. There are also instances when the roads above the underpasses tend to be flooded while the underpasses are not. This would only

Social issues

There are a number of issues in Manila: public health issues; increased number of slum areas; prevalence of gender based violence; and crime and drug related crime rates. These are discussed below.

Public health issues

The NCR data shows that the mortality rate of children is quite high. In 2013, figures show 16% infant mortality, 3% child mortality, and 22% under five years old mortality. The top 10 causes of infant and children mortality are caused by bacterial sepsis of the newborn, pneumonia (including congenital pneumonia), respiratory distress of the newborn, disorders related to short

Economic issues

Manila is a land of contrasts. While there are many who are poor and who live in “hand to mouth” existence, the city experiences the surge of wealthy people whose assets have come from trading and business. The newly rich are the Filipino Chinese business tycoons who own malls, airlines, food chains and many more.  While the wealthy live in affluent homes with all the luxuries in life, the poor families live in poverty with makeshift houses or sometimes in parks or streets. While the rich could live even without working, the minimum wage earners have limited workers rights and experience

Other regionally-specific issues

Other regionally specific issues include human rights violations; the marginalisation of indigenous people; diversity of culture; and weak governance. These are discussed below.

Human rights violations

Extra Judicial Killings (EJKs) are the usual content of daily news in Manila and NCR. Drug suspects do not go through legal processes in terms of arrest and court proceedings. The usual script of the police is that the criminals, when caught or arrested, would fight back using their guns or knives and the arresting officers have no other recourse than to kill the suspected drug pushers or

Organisation and management

The HEIs are administered and regulated by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Most the HEIs are headed by a president, who oversees the general functions of the institution, and vice presidents/chancellors/directors who oversee the more specific functions of the HEIs, such as academic, research, extension, production and others. Public universities receive subsidies from the government and, from 2017 onwards, tuition fees for students are free, while the funds of the private universities and colleges come mostly from student fees.

Most HEIs in Manila have similar patterns of

Main priorities of HEI in the region

Considering the diversity of HEIs in Manila, these institutions vary in their main priorities and specialisations, with some institutions having specific objectives, activity areas, and remits. For instance, the Philippine Normal University, which is the National Centre for Teacher Education, aims to prepare innovative teachers and education leaders through its teacher education and education-related programs. Its research centres on teaching-learning theories and practices, quality assurance, as well as educational policies and standards. Another specialised institution is the Technological

Addressing local issues

The plans and goals of all government agencies need to be anchored on Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 that captures “the vision and aspirations of the Filipino people for a matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay (strongly-rooted, comfortable, and secure life) in the next 25 years.” The Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 is cascaded to the Regional Development Councils (RDCs) and Manila has one such council. The RDCs are responsible for implementing the national development plan of the government. All plans of public universities are also anchored in the Philippine Development Plan.


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Metro Manila