Sights and sounds of Manila » Manila Bulletin Entertainment

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A classic OPM song points out why people ‘keep coming back’ to this city. But there’s more to it than that.

  • Manila City Hall (Photo by Jay Ganzon)

  • “Manila (1973)”

    Recorded by Filipino band Hotdog, it is inspired by Tony Bennett’s hit “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.”

    “Manila” has its narrator leaving Manila to work in a foreign country. He becomes homesick after some time and tells of his many adventures away from the country.

    “I walked the streets of San Francisco” and “tried the rides in Disneyland” even “dated a million girls in Sydney” but then “somehow I feel that I don’t belong.”

    The realization that he can only find satisfaction and enjoyment in Manila is summed up in the chorus that goes: “Hinahanap-hanap kita Manila. Ang ingay mong kay sarap sa tenga… Mga jeepney mong nag liliparan, mga babae mong nag gagandahan… Take me back in your arms Manila, and promise me you’d never let go…”

    “Manila” has been covered by many artists, from Gary Valenciano and Side A to Eraserheads.

  • “Maynila (1989)”

    Performed by Filipino pop rock band Introvoys, “Maynila” is seemingly, in turn, inspired by the Hotdogs tune as it talks about a man who believes the most beautiful girls can only be found in this city.

    “Kung kayo’y naghahanap ng isang magandang dilag, na makakapiling sa habang buhay at magbibigay-saya,” the lyrics go. “Sa Maynila ka makakahanap ng magagandang babae… Sabi ko na sa inyo…”

    “Maynila” is a track from the band’s debut album “Back To The Roots.” The song hit no. 1.

  • “Manila Girl (1994)”

    “Manila Girl” is the carrier single of Put3ska’s eponymous debut album. It’s an original by punk band The Urban Bandits.

    The catchy re-invention of the song earned the band a gold record award; while its music video was nominated in the Viewers’ Choice (Asia) category at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards.

    “Flashing like lightning, I can’t believe it. My eyes won’t fail me, see I’m not loaded. Time rolled swiftly, and I keep rockin rollin. Forget to open my eyes on a bright modern girl,” the lyrics go.

  • “Pasko Sa Maynila (1996)”

    Sung by actor Ariel Rivera, “Pasko Sa Maynila” talks about the spirit of Christmas in the city of Manila, made more special because of Filipinos’ close family ties and generous disposition.

    “Pasko sa Maynila, Maynila. Panahon ng regalo at lambing ng kasuyo. Talagang ibang-iba, pasko sa Maynila nalalapit sa puso mo…,” he sings.

  • “Hari Ng Tondo (2011)”

    “Hari Ng Tondo” is a song by Gloc-9 featuring Denise Barbacena.

    It is a rhythmic adventure that brings into the open a resounding depiction of the life story of Nicasio Asiong Salonga, a notorious gang leader, born and raised in the district of Tondo, Manila.

    The song opens with a depiction of the antinomy of good and evil under the background of poverty and the irreversible tendency of one’s “will to power” to commit violence.

    “Minsan sa isang lugar sa Maynila, maraming nangyayari ngunit takot ang dilang sabihin ang lahat. Animoy kagat kagat, kahit itago’y, ’di mo pwedeng pigilin ang alamat na umusbong,” the lyrics go.


It is one of Southeast Asia’s brightest multi-cultural cities. Despite getting a bad rap at times for the poverty, pollution, traffic jams, etc., Manila exudes distinct vivacity generated by ever fresh waves of restaurants, galleries, and nightlife.

As it marks its 446th Foundation Day anniversary, Bulletin Entertainment lists down some songs that pay tribute to the city.

Tourist draws in Manila

  • Luneta Park – Located along Roxas Boulevard, Luneta Park or Rizal Park (it is named after Jose Rizal, the Philippine National Hero) is one of the largest urban parks in Asia.
  • National Planetarium – The Planetarium’s primary function is to disseminate astronomical information through different shows, lectures, demonstrations, exhibits, and actual celestial observations.
  • Intramuros – Intramuros is the historic core of Manila. It is also called the Walled City and at the time of the Spanish Colonial period was synonymous to the city of Manila itself.
  • Manila City Hall – Its iconic clock tower is symbolic to the city as Big Ben is to London.
  • Fort Santiago – This is one of the most important historical sites in Manila. Several lives were lost in its dungeons during the Spanish Colonial period and World War II. Jose Rizal was imprisoned here before his execution in 1896.

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