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Manila is Philippines' capital city and the country's largest seaport. It has an excellent deep and sheltered harbour with built-up modern waterfront. On the south bank of Pasig river is situated the original city, Intramuros, established in 1571 by the Spanish, and containing unique examples of 17th-century Spanish architecture, together with encircling wall begun in 1590. During World War II, lots of the old city was destroyed. From Manila tourists can also visit Malacanang Palace, Taal volcano and Pagsanjan Falls.
The Philippine capital of Manila was established by King Philip II of Spain. In the years which followed, the Spanish successfully prevented the Portuguese, Chinese and Dutch from settling in the Philippines. But the British occupied Manila during the Seven Years' War, though they agreed to return it to Spain under 1763 Treaty of Paris. During World War II, the Japanese took control of Manila, and eventually the United States recaptured the islands and returned them to Philippines. In 1946, the country was granted full independence. The first president was elected, Manuel Roxas. In more recent history was the exile of former leader Ferdinand Marcos and new Democratic leadership.
Ninoy Aquino International Airport also serves the airline Air Juan that provides regularly scheduled domestic flights linking directly Manila City with Subic Bay Freeport, Boracay Island (Caticlan), Busuanga Bay and Puerto Galera. Air Juan's flights are direct (without passing through other airports) which allows tourists to arrive from Manila directly to their local hotels and resorts.
Port Manila (officially Pantalan ng Maynila) has several large facilities and terminals serving the maritime shipping trade. The port serves the entire Manila metro area. The port is located on Manila Bay and is ranked as Philippines' largest seaport. The port is operated by Philippine Ports Authority (state-owned corporation), which manages most of the country's ports.
Manila Bay's entrance has width 19 km (12 ml) expanding to 48 km (30 ml). Mariveles (Bataan province) is the port's anchorage area. Port Manila is composed of North Harbor, South Harbor, and MICT (Container Terminal).
- North Harbor seaport is in the Tondo Area and has 7 docking piers (numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14). North Harbor port is accessible through Radial Road 10. The North Port Passenger Terminal is the facility that serves all ferries and cruise ships to Manila.
- South Harbor seaport is in the Port Area and has 5 docking piers (numbers 3, 5, 9, 13, 15), South Harbor is accessible by Bonifacio Drive road. The port's passenger terminal ("Eva Macapagal Super Terminal") is between piers 13 and 15 and also serves as the 2GO Ferry company's main hub.
- Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) is located between North Harbor and South Harbor and is accessible via MICT South Access Road. In 2011, the MICT Terminal was ranked world's 38th largest container port (annual shipping traffic 3,26 million TEU-countainers). The 2014-inaugurated Berth 6 increased port's capacity by 18%.
In mid-October 2018, Philippine Ports Authority started a capacity improvement project at MICT (operated by International Container Terminal Services Inc). The project includes construction of 4 new berths (7, 8, 9, 10), all with max draft/water depth 14,5 m (48 ft), allowing docking of larger boxships. Terminal's berth expansion was funded by ICTSI Group at total cost USD 380+ million.
In addition to seaport's capacity improvements was the purchase of 16 new RTGs (rubber-tired gantry cranes, operational since April 2019) plus 2 super-post-Panamax quay cranes (dockside gantries) that can serve boxships with capacity over 22,000 TEUs. Terminal's current container-handling equipment includes 18 quay cranes and 58 RTGs (74 by 2020). The large dockside gantries are China-manufactured (by ZPMC-Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co Ltd) and each has max reach 16 rows (across twin). The RTGs are standard-diesel and Japan-made (by Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co Ltd).
For season 2017, Star Cruises (Asian company owned by Genting Hong Kong) announced its first Manila homeport deployment (for roundtrip itineraries) of its vessel SuperStar Virgo. The ship has 13 decks and 935 cabins (capacity 2400 passengers plus 1100 crew). It offers a 5-night / 6-day cruise itinerary ("Jewels of the South China Sea") from Manila to Currimao-Laoag Philippines (colonial buildings, baroque churches, Pagudpud's white-sand beaches), Kaohsiung Taiwan (Chinese culture and cuisine) and Hong Kong China (world's most popular metro city / shopping, dining, nightlife). The ship's Manila roundtrips started in March 2017 (departures March 19 through May 29) and also during summer months. Start Cruises' "Early Bird Discount" booking prices start from PHP 24,500 (around USD 450) per person (double occupancy Inside Stateroom). Third and fourth passengers (Quad share cabins) received additional 50% discount.
Okada Manila cruise port
Okada Manila cruise port is a new gaming resort tourism project by Tiger Resort for building Manila City's largest casino resort and hotel complex,
Tiger Resort is the developer and operator of the Okada Manila resort complex, who also intends to build a cruise port on Manila Bay, able to handle both mega-yachts and large-sized cruise vessels.
The Okada Manila resort is sized 440,000 m2 and consists of 1 budget hotel, shopping malls and the cruise port. In December 2016 was completed Phase 1 of the project. The project's total cost is around USD 2,4 billion.
Phase 1 consisted of two Y-shaped hotel towers (a total of 993 rooms;), 1 night club, 1 beach club, 1 casino (500 table games, 3000 electronic games), 21 food and drinks outlets, high-end retail shopping area), spa (sized 3000 m2), dancing fountains (among the world’s largest). For Phase 1 construction works were employed around 19,000 workers,
Manila cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Manila Philippines dock at North Port Passenger Terminal (on Pier 4). Terminal's construction started on June 11, 2012. On May 10, 2013, the terminal was opened for 2GO Ferry ships. The cruise terminal was officially inaugurated on October 9, 2013. Its capacity is 2-3 million passengers (ferry and cruise) per year. For comparison, the old terminal's annual capacity was around 1,5 million passengers.
As facilities and amenities, Manila's North Port Passenger Terminal (sized 12000 m2 / 129,200 ft2) has 1 main building (X-ray security screening area, check-in area, 2000-seat waiting hall), passenger drop-off area, tickets booths, large parking area (sized 2000 m2 / 21,530 ft2).
At the cruise pier can be berthed 5 ships at any time. The first cruise ship docked at Port Manila's new cruise terminal on November 2, 2013. This was the Star Cruises ship SuperStar Aquarius.
(NEW) Solaire Cruise Center, Manila
In 2019, Bloombery Cruise Terminals started the construction of a new cruise terminal. The company is a fully-owned subsidiary of Bloomberry Resorts Corporation - stock-listed holding company specializing in leisure businesses (hotels, amusement parks, tourist facilities, gaming).
Bloomberry's USD 300 million project "Solaire Cruise Center" in Manila is a modern cruise ship terminal with an adjacent resort and casino complex (gaming-entertainment-dining-leisure) making it world's first with its own cruise port. Project's scheduled completion and inauguration are in 2021. The Solaire Resort and Casino is a 5-star leisure complex and The Philippines' equivalent of Las Vegas (Nevada USA).
Solaire cruise port's signature facilities include:
- CRUISE PIER - docking pier with capacity to berth 2 ships simultaneously (2 vessels with max LOA length to 348 m plus 310 m).
- CRUISE TERMINAL - 2-story building (sized 7000 m2) with dedicated areas for passenger baggage handling, screening, ticketing, multifunctional spaces (for themed events during no-ship days).
- YACHT MARINA CLUB - for berthing all types of leisure boats, with VIP areas linked to Solaire Resort.
- HARBORFRONT ESPLANADE - scenic promenade street linking the entire waterfront, with landscaped walkways, plazas, outdoor retail shops, restaurants, bars.
- RETAIL SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS - lined up along the Esplanade.
- THE SOLAIRE RESORT AND CASINO - its main buildings (Bay Tower and Sky Tower) have total capacity 800 hotel rooms and villas. More are to be added in the following Solaire Phase 2 resort upgrades.
- THE THEATRE - auditorium with capacity 1740 seats, dedicated to world-class production shows, musical concerts, theatrical plays, folkloric performances (for cruise tourists).
- PARKING - logistical facilities for cruise tourists and local tour operators.
Port Manila cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Manila, Luzon Island, Philippines. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
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