First United Bldg. — PHILIP JAMES F. DAGUN

As one of the most populous urban areas in the world, the City of Manila is a melting pot of culture, and a bustling hub of trade and commerce.

In fact, based on the data gathered by the City of Manila, the district of Sta. Ana has the most heritage sites with 88, followed by the districts of San Nicolas and Malate with 78 and 55, respectively.

The list includes parks, monument, buildings, interiors, and even a vista. Among these are the walls of Intramuros, office buildings in the Binondo and Escolta areas including El Hogar and First United Bldg. (formerly Perez-Samanillo Bldg.), Arroceros Park, Paco Park, churches including Quiapo Church and the Manila Cathedral, the Aristocrat restaurant along Roxas Blvd., the interior of the Playboy Club in the Silahis hotel, and Manila Bay and the Waterfront from Del Pan Bridge to the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Considered cultural properties under the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property are those that were declared cultural property by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts or National Cultural Agencies (NCAs); that are presumed important cultural property which are currently not declared by the NCCA or NCAs; local cultural property declared by the respective LGUs through executive order, ordinance, or resolution; and registered cultural property which carry significance to local culture and history.

Not only is the city home to a number of other historically-significant monuments, Manila has also been a significant contributor to the country’s economic development.

Most recently, the City of Manila was recognized by the Department of Trade and Industry as the most competitive highly urbanized city in the country in the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) 2020, an annual ranking of the competitiveness of cities and municipalities in the country.

It also won first place in two other categories Most Competitive in Government Efficiency in Highly Urbanized Cities; and Most Competitive in Infrastructure for Highly Urbanized Cities.

The Overall Competitiveness Award was based on four criteria: economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure, and resiliency. The index looks at each city’s implemented programs and how they have improved through the years, with scores on each pillar determined by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC).

Economic dynamism was scored based on the following factors: cost of doing business, cost of living, increase in employment, financial deepening, local economic growth, local economy size, presence of business and professional organizations, productivity, local economic structure, and safety compliant in business.

For the scoring in the infrastructure category, the availability of basic utilities, education, health, accommodation capacity, information technology capacity, financial technology capacity, distance to ports, LGU investment, road network, and transportation vehicles were considered.

Government efficiency was determined according to the city’s compliance to business permits and licensing system standards, efficiency in business registration, health services capacity, compliance to national directives, presence of investment promotion unit, the capacity of school services, performance recognition, the capacity to generate local resource, social protection, and peace and order.

Finally, resiliency was based on the city’s programs to conduct an annual disaster drill, budget for DRRMP, disaster risk reduction plan, emergency infrastructure, employed population, early warning system, land use plan, sanitary system, utilities, and local risk assessments. — Bjorn Biel M. Beltran