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Not in the Philippines: 22 Places Named Manila Around the World

Fancy a trip to Manila, Ecuador?
IMAGE Janna Añonuevo Langholz / Wikipedia
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Manila may be best known for being the capital of the Philippines, but the city near the bay with Intramuros, Binondo, and Rizal Park is far from being the only one in the world with that name.

We scoured the world (and the internet) and found at least 22 other places called Manila that aren’t in the Philippines:

United States of America

Photo by Janna Añonuevo Langholz / jannalangholz.com.

While it isn't clear how exactly they got their names, the provenance of most of the Manilas in the US can most likely be traced to our capital city. Most (or possibly all) of them were named to commemorate the United States’ naval victory in the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898 during the Spanish-American War.

The second-generation Filipino-American artist, writer, and photographer Janna Añonuevo Langholz actually visited many of these places and photographed them. You can view her photos here and follow her on Instagram.

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1| and 2| Alabama

Two places are named Manila in the state of Alabama. One is located in Clarke County, in the southwest. It’s where the Wilson-Finch-Mason Log House on Old Line Road is located, built around 1822 and is listed as a historical marker. There is also an interesting cave system there with historical signatures carved onto the rock walls, according to this post.

The other is an unincorporated community in Dallas County. The Manila here is less than 10 kilometers away from the historic city of Selma, the site of marches to press for voting and other civil rights for its black population in the 1960s.

3| Arkansas

In Arkansas, Manila is a city in Mississippi County with a population of about 3,342 according to the 2010 census. It was originally a herdsman’s camp established in the 1860s, became a community named Cinda in the late 1890s, and incorporated as a city in 1901. A place of interest in the city is the Manila Depot, which was the site of an old railroad station. It is now a museum.

The Manila Museum in Manila, Arkansas

Photo by Janna Añonuevo Langholz / jannalangholz.com.
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4| Utah

Located just south of the border with Wyoming, Manila in Utah is a small city with a population of only 310 (based on the 2010 census) located in Daggett County. According to the Wikipedia page, Manila, Utah has a total land area of 2.3 square kilometers, which is all land. It was founded in 1898 and incorporated in 1936.

“As any rural community does, Manila struggles daily with the battle between growth demands and the desire to stay a quiet and small community,” the writeup reads on the city’s website.

5| Missouri

Manila in Missouri is an unincorporated community located in the township of Washington in Pettis County. There’s not much information about the place, except for a post office that was established in 1898 and discontinued in 1904.

A road called Manila in Manila, Missouri

Photo by Janna Añonuevo Langholz / jannalangholz.com.

6| Iowa

Located in Crawford County, along the West Branch of the West Nishnabotna River, the city of Manilla (spelled with two Ls) in Iowa has a total area of 2.67 square kilometers and a population of 776 based on the 2010 census. 

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7| Indiana

In Indiana, Manila is an unincorporated census-designated place in Walker Township, Rush County. This website has some pretty cool photos taken of the town.

A "spaceship" in Manila, Indiana

Photo by Janna Añonuevo Langholz / jannalangholz.com.

8| Kentucky

The Manila in Kentucky is an unincorporated community located in Johnson County. The only thing of interest we were able to dig up is the Fishtrap United Baptist Church, which was built in 1843 and was among the earliest log churches in Johnson County. “Covered with weatherboard in the late 19th century, the church is notable for its simplicity and fine interior woodwork,” according to its entry in the US Library of Congress.

9| West Virginia

Manila in West Virginia is yet another small unincorporated community located in Boone County. According to this document on the place names of West Virginia, the community got its name in 1900, which was just two years after the Battle of Manila between the US and Spain in the Philippines. The only other information about it is that its fourth class post office was discontinued on February 28, 1969. 

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10| Colorado

The Manila in Colorado is located in Adams County, which is near the Denver International Airport. Not much else is known about the place, except that it is about 5,540 feet (or 1,689 meters) above sea level, according to the US Geological Survey. That means Manila is about one mile (or nearly two kilometers) above sea level. There’s also this picture of a train that was taken in that area in 1952. Check the place out on Google Maps.

11| Arizona

In Arizona, Manila is yet another unincorporated area located in Navajo County. Just as in Colorado, the Manila here is pretty high up; elevation is 4,950 feet, or about 1.5 kilometers above sea level. It's also 24 kilometers east southeast of Holbrook, which is the seat of Navajo County. A website about mining claims that there are at least 23 different mines near Manila.

A road sign in Manila, Arizona

Photo by Janna Añonuevo Langholz / jannalangholz.com.
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12| Tennessee

There is an unincorporated community called Manila located within the Commissioner District 3, a minor civil division, in McMinn County, Tennessee. The nearest town is Englewood, which is about 4.3 kilometers away due south. Based on Google Maps, it’s mostly farmlands with a few houses scattered here and there. 

13| California

The Manila in California is a census-designated place (concentration of people living in a specific location defined by the US Census Bureau for statistical purposes) adjacent to Humboldt Bay in Humboldt County. Only 784 people were living in the area according to the 2010 census. Founded at the end of World War 2, the place is known for the Manila Dunes Recreation Area, which is a section of beach on the Samoa Peninsula not far from Eureka and Arcata. Some pretty specific statistics about Manila can be found here.

The Friends of the Dunes nature center in Manila, California

Photo by Wikipedia.

14| and 15| Colombia

Two Manilas are in this South American country. The first is in the municipality of Anolaima, in the Cundinamarca region, which is about 43 kilometers northwest of the capital city of Bogota. One UNESCO World heritage Site is nearby: the coffee cultural landscape of Colombia, about 80 kilometers to the north.

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The other Manila is in the Casanare region, about 170 kilometers northeast of Bogota.

While not technically a town, city or municipality, there is another Manila in the city of Medellin, although this one is an “up-and-coming” neighborhood, at least, according to this blog. Just walking distance from the famous Parque Poblado, Manila has a bunch of restaurants, coffee shops, and bars where people can hang out.

16| Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, a country in Central America, Manila is a town in the Limón region, about 78 kilometers from the capital San Jose.

17| Mali

In the African country of Mali, Manila is a place in the city of Kayes.

18| Madagascar

Manila in Madagascar is situated in the city of Vangaindrano, province of Fianarantsoa, about 482 kilometers from the capital Antananarivo. 

19| 20| and 21| Mexico

There are three Manilas in Mexico. The first is a small village located in the municipality of Galeana in the state of Nueva Leon. According to this source, the town has a population of 75.

The second is in Michoacan De Ocampo state, about 340 kilometers west of the capital, Mexico City.

Finally, the third Manila is in the municipality of Gómez Palacio in the Durango region, which is over 830 kilometers northwest of Mexico City. Population according to this source is 602.

22| Ecuador

The Manila in Ecuador is located in Canton Manta, Los Rios province, nearly 200 kilometers from the capital city of Quito.

Now, which "other" Manila would you like to visit first?

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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