MANILA: THE DEFENDERS AND THE DEFENSES

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        By
ROBERT ROSS SMITH

Manila is a city--a statement that, having been made, leaves far too much unsaid. It is a city of contrasts--contrasts deriving from unbroken centuries of existence and a polyglot population. It is a city of parts, capable of being all things to all men. There are sections that cannot be called modern in any sense of the word. There are sections that are ultramodern. It boasts movie houses, filling stations, night clubs, slums, dark alleys, and broad, tree-lined boulevards. There are hospitals and universities; shipping offices and department stores; private clubs and public parks; race tracks and cockpits; an Olympic Games stadium and yacht clubs; street-car tracks and bus lines; pony-drawn taxis and railroad stations. A touch of medieval Spain rubs harshly against modern port facilities; centuries-old churches and monasteries face gasworks and breweries. Nipa-thatched huts house part of the teeming population, while for others home is a modern air-conditioned apartment. Manila is a city.

Established at the site of an ancient Tagalog village,

 

 Manila, whose existence antedates that of any urban center of the United States except St. Augustine, was founded in 1571 by Spanish colonizer Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. Independent--that is, not under the administration of any province--the city, in 1945, covered an area of nearly 14.5 square miles. It stretched about 5.5 miles north to south along the eastern shore of Manila Bay and extended inland approximately 4 miles. With the surrounding suburbs and small towns of Rizal Province, the city formed a public utilities service area known as Greater Manila. An area of almost 110 square miles, Greater Manila extended from the Parañaque River north some ten miles to include Grace Park and inland, with irregular boundaries, about eight miles to the Marikina River.

The city's population had increased greatly since the outbreak of war, mainly as the result of a job-seeking influx from the provinces. In December 1941 Manila's population was about 625,000 and the total for Greater Manila was nearly 850,000. The peak of growth was reached in the early fall of 1944--people began to move out again after Allied air attacks started in September. Just before the air attacks began, the population of the