The navigable Pasig River flows through the city, dividing it into two sections, with Intramuros (the old Spanish walled city) and Ermita (the site of most government buildings and tourist hotels) on the south bank, and the "newer" section (which includes the commercial district, many congested slum areas, and the Chinese quarter in Binondo) on the northern bank. Malacañang Palace, the presidential mansion, is on the Pasig.
Manila is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia. It has many daily newspapers and periodicals, radio and television stations, a symphony orchestra, and more than 20 universities and colleges. These include the Univ. of Santo Tomás (1611), which during World War II served as an internment camp for thousands of American, British, and Dutch civilian prisoners; the Ateneo de Manila (1859); the Univ. of Manila; the Univ. of the East; and Manila Central Univ. The oval-shaped Luneta, the country's national park on Manila Bay, contains a monument to José Rizal, who was executed by a Spanish firing squad there.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.