Bay is a natural harbor which serves the Port of Manila
), in the Philippines
.The bay is considered to be one of the best natural harbors in Southeast Asia
and one of the finest in the World
. Strategically located around the capital city of the Philippines, Manila Bay facilitated commerce and trade between the Philippines and its neighbouring countries, becoming the gateway for socio-economic development even prior to Spanish occupation.
With an area of 1,994 km sq (769.9 sq mi), and a coastline of 190 km (118.1 mi), Manila Bay is situated in the western part of Luzon and is bounded by Cavite
and Metro Manila on the east, Bulacan and Pampanga on the north, and Bataan on the west and northwest.
Manila Bay drains approximately 17,000 km sq (6,563.7 sq mi) of watershed area, with the Pampanga River
contributing about 49% of the freshwater influx. With an average depth of 17 m (55.8 ft), it is estimated to have a total volume of 28.9 billion cubic meters (28.9 cubic km). Entrance to the bay is 19 km (11.8 mi) wide and expands to a width of 48 km (29.8 mi). However, width of the bay varies from 22 km (13.7 mi) at its mouth and expanding to 60 km (37.3 mi) at its widest point.
Across the entrance to Manila Bay are several islands, the largest of which is Corregidor, located 3 kilometers from Bataan and, along with the island of Caballo, separates the mouth of the bay into the North and South Channels.Large number of ships at the North and South harbors facilitate maritime activities in the bay.Being smaller of the two harbors, the North Harbor is used for inter-island shipping while the South Harbor is used for large ocean-going vessels.
Covering about 4,600 hectares, wetlands around Manila Bay are useful in:
Mudflats, sand flats, swamps, beaches and rocky shores form part of the wetlands in Manila Bay. Found mostly along the coast of Bataan and Pampanga, mudflats are suitable habitats for shellfish.
Contributing to the balanced functioning of the ecosystem around Manila Bay, coral reefs in the area provide sanctuary for fishes. Consequently, its decline through the years has directly affected the fish yield.
As a diverse ecosystem, seagrass beds provide shelter for fishes and other marine life forms. Like the coral reefs, most of the seagrass beds in Manila Bay are found near its mouth, most notably in the areas of Orion, Marivels, Bataan and Corregidor.
Within the watershed of Manila Bay upland forests abound which are sources of food, timber, fuel wood and other products, as well as habitats for wildlife. These forests provide protection from soil erosion and help maintain the water levels and water quality in rivers and streams. Mount Makiling, Angat Dam watershed, La Mesa Dam watershed, Mount Palay-Palay, Mount Arayat, and other portions of national parks located in Bataan, Bulacan, Rizal and Tarlac
form part of these upland forest ecosystem.