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The history of Manila is closely tied to this body of water. Naval battles were fought here, including the celebrated La Naval de Manila in 1646, which effectively put a stop to repeated attempts by the Dutch to take over the Philippines. It was also on Manila Bay that the Spanish fleet was annihilated by the American forces under Commodore George Dewey, ushering in 40 years of American occupation. But more than anything else, Manila Bay is renowned for its spectacular sunsets—a must-see for every visitor to the city.
The 1960s saw the emergence of a new business district in the then sleepy municipality of Makati. The Spanish-Filipino conglomerate of Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala developed the district by first establishing this main thoroughfare which cuts through to Highway 54 (now known as Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, or EDSA). Towards the end of the decade, Ayala Avenue emerged as the main artery of the Makati business area. Many major banks, multi-national corporations and embassies are located here.
The government-funded University of the Philippines opened in 1908 and is today the country's largest university system. This main campus at Diliman, Quezon City, covers 493 hectares dotted with approximately 26 colleges, 30 research/training institutes, 57 libraries, 10 residence halls, several canteens, theaters, a chapel and an alumni center. Echoing classical Greek architecture with its tall columns and fluid symmetry, the main administration building is fronted by the Oblation (shown in the photo), a rendition into sculpture of National Hero Jose Rizal's poem My Last Farewell.