Origin: Malate ManilaOrigin of the name
The word Malate is believed to have stemmed from the corruption of the Tagalog word "ma-alat," meaning "salty." Legends have it that tidewaters from Manila Bay flowed in-land as far as where the Remedios Circle is presently located. The salty sea water polluted the fresh water collected from wells, thus making drinking water in the area as salty.Profile
The district is located at the southern end of the city of Manila, adjacent to Pasay City as its southern most border. North of Malate is the district Ermita and towards the east with San Marcelino street as border is the district of Paco.
Malate during the Spanish colonial period was an open space with a small fishing village. During the Spanish period, the center of activity was focused around the Malate church, the Our Lady of Remedios Parish that had a cult following among pregnant women having a difficult pregnancy.
When the Americans came to the country by the turn of the 19th century, American urban planners envisioned the development of Malate as the newest and trendiest exclusive residential area for American families. American expatriates and some of the old Spanish mestizo families populated the district in modern high rise apartments and wide aread bungalows.
After World War II, the extensive damage and carnage left behind by retreating Japanese occupational forces in the area and by the mortar shelling done by liberating Filipino and American forces was not enough to level all the buildings and houses. Displaced wealthy families who abandoned their posh Malate homes returned and re-built their private villas and kept the whole district exclusively residential until the 1970s.
There are two sides of Malate, the domain of wealthy expatriates west of Taft Avenue from Pedro Gil street to Quirino Avenue and the lower middle class families east of Taft Avenue.
The once exclusive residential areas on the western portion of Malate started to transform in the 1970s into a commercial area with some big lotted houses and residential apartments being converted into small hotels and pensionne houses. Specialty restaurants and cafes also started to open in the district, as a result of the spill over of business from next-door Ermita district, which was for a time the red-light district of Manila.
The western side of Malate across Taft Avenue remains as the quiet middle class homes with several apartment rows converted into dormitories for students enrolled at nearby schools.