June 24: The 449th Araw ng Maynila
Updated: Jul 26, 2020
June 24 marks the 449th "Araw ng Maynila."
Manila City Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso on Wednesday led the simple rites commemorating the founding of Manila by Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi on June 24, 1571.
Some of the activities commemorating "Araw ng Maynila" this year include:
a wreath-laying ceremony at Rajah Sulayman Park;
a wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of Lopez de Legazpi at San Agustin Church, and
Mass at the Manila Cathedral.
The Presidential Museum and Library says the anniversary commemorated every June 24 is the founding of the so-called "Spanish Manila" in 1571.
According to the library, the Manila we know today was divided into two political entities before the Spaniards arrived: Tondo in the north bank of Pasig River, and Manila in the south bank (this area is now the site of Fort Santiago).
Three leaders ruled the two political entities or "polities": Raja Lakandula in Tondo while Raja Matanda and his nephew Sulayman in Manila, the presidential library says.
Years earlier, in 1565, Lopez de Legazpi succeeded in establishing a Spanish settlement in Cebu. However, he heard that trade was lucrative in Manila. In 1570, he ordered Martin de Goiti to survey Manila.
Two rajas -- Matanda and Lakandula, agreed to let Goiti stay. However, Sulayman did not. Then, a misunderstanding caused a rift between the Spaniards and the Tagalogs. The Spaniards fired a cannon to let messengers know that they should return to the ship. The Tagalogs, however, thought this was a sign of aggression and fired at the Spaniards using their bronze cannon called lantakas.
Goiti retaliated by ordering his men to set the settlement on fire. He also took the lantakas of the Tagalogs and brought it to Lopez de Legazpi who was in Panay Island.
In 1571, Lopez de Legazpi himself went to Manila. Again, two rajas -- Matanda and Lakandula, welcomed Lopez de Legazpi but Sulayman did not and he ordered people to burn their settlement and flee to Tondo.
Eventually, Lopez de Legazpi managed to forge a peace agreement with Manila's local leaders on June 24, 1571.
On the same day, he ordered the construction of Intramuros, a 58-hectare "walled city" where the Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, Fort Santiago, and other historical structures can be found.
Also on June 24, 1571, Lopez de Legazpi established the first Catholic parish church in Manila, now known as the Manila Cathedral.
Map of Intramuros (Courtesy of Intramuros Administration)