Manila used to be the so-called “Venice of the East”, “Queen of the Pacific”, and “Pearl of the Orient.”
Less is remembered in the West about the devastating engagement of World War II. Between Feb. 3 and March 3, 1945, the United States set about wresting control of Manila from the Japanese. It involved grinding, urban street battles and withering American artillery bombardments. In the process, a beautiful, elegant metropolis — dubbed the “Pearl of the Orient” — was laid to waste. Some 100,000 Filipino civilians died amid the fighting.