Metro Manila is the metropolitan area that contains the city of Manila, as well as sixteen surrounding cities and municipalities, including Quezon City, the capital from 1948 to 1976. Metro Manila is the political, economic, social, and cultural center of the Philippines,
and is one of the more modern metropolises in Southeast Asia. Among locals, particularly those from Manila proper and those
in the provinces, Metro Manila is often simply referred to as Manila; however locals from other parts of the metropolis
may see this as offensive, owing to city pride and also the fact that some cities are actually geographically closer to the
neighboring provinces than to Manila itself. Metro Manila is often abbreviated as M.M..
Metro Manila is the smallest of the country's administrative regions, but the most populous and the most densely populated, having a population of 9,932,560 (2000
census) in an area only 636 square kilometers large. It is also the only region without any provinces. The region is bordered by the provinces of Bulacan to the north, Rizal to the east, and Cavite and Laguna to the south. Metro Manila is also sandwiched by the Manila Bay to the west and the Laguna de Bay to the southeast with the Pasig River running between them, bisecting the region.