Manila has served as the country’s international gateway and center of development. Four centuries have passed since Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, who was later appointed the country’s first governor-general, and his men disembarked in Manila in 1571. Since then the city has flourished to become one of the world’s global cities—progressive, cosmopolitan, vibrant.
It was in Manila where economic, political, and religious affairs were centered. The Spaniards established their government in Manila and soon proclaimed the city as as the Philippines’ capital on June 24, 1571.
Over time, churches and schools were founded by Spanish priests. Roman Catholicism started to propagate, headed by Augustinian friar Andres de Urdaneta and was later followed by Franciscan, Dominican, Jesuits, and Augustinian priests. In 1574, Manila was recognized under the authorization of Spain and the Vatican as the “Distinguished and Ever Loyal City” and center of Catholicism, as well as of the Philippines.
In line with Manila’s founding date, June 24, 1958 was declared as the city’s foundation day by former Manila Mayor Arsenio Lacson. This was later changed to ‘Araw ng Maynila’ in 1963 by Antonio Villegas who was Manila’s mayor that time.
Araw ng Maynila was declared as a special non-working holiday by Mayor Joseph Estrada through proclamation 1029. This year’s Araw ng Maynila is a week-long celebration, highlighted by a Thanksgiving mass at San Agustin Church followed by the grand coronation night of Miss Manila 2017.