Manila Bay, nearly landlocked inlet of the South China Sea, SW Luzon, the Philippines. About 35 mi (56 km) wide at its broadest point and 30 mi (48 km) long, it is the best natural harbor in E Asia and one of the finest in the world. The city of Manila is on the eastern shore of the bay, and on the southeast is the city of Cavite, and a historic naval base. The entrance to Manila Bay (c.11 mi/18 km wide) is divided by the island of Corregidor into two channels; the northern channel, between Corregidor and Bataan peninsula, is only c.2 mi (3.2 km) wide. During the Spanish-American War, in the battle of Manila Bay (May 1, 1898), an American squadron under Commodore George Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet off Cavite within a few hours. The Manila Bay area was the focus, during the early phase of World War II, of a desperate attempt to save the Philippines from Japanese conquest (see Bataan; Corregidor). In the Allied recovery of the Philippines (1944–45), many Japanese ships were sunk in the bay. The large U.S. naval base on Sangley Point was closed down in the early 1980s.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.