Westcoast News

Vision for a City: Manila, Philippines

By Shirley Brownhill,
Director of YWAM Perth & Founder of Megacities


Our next megacity

Over the years I have worked in many cities. And I have had the privilege of meeting many community leaders from a diversity of backgrounds, carrying a wide spectrum of responsibilities. These leaders are like cogs that play a vital role in creating transformational mobility in cities; each with a role in shaping the society they belong to. What I have noticed is that they carry a concern for the welfare of their city. The act of caring is key to finding answers that change lives. Seemingly impossible situations can be overcome if we care enough to get involved.


“Love and care always find a way. Love becomes a catalyst, a momentum builder for change in communities”


Love invades the loneliest places and empowers people to believe again; to have the hope that their future can be different. What is “most precious” in any city is the treasure of her people. There is softness in Manila and a great harvest field waiting.



Manila at a glance

Manila is a vibrant city with a strong national identity that has been and continues to be receptive to the Gospel. With a population of over 15 million, Manila is the cultural, political, economic and social centre of the nation, and is an influential trendsetter in the Southeast Asian region. Since Megacities was welcomed to Manila by national church leaders, the country has experienced significant changes, especially after the presidential election May 2016. These changes have brought about unique opportunities for the Kingdom of God to advance and work toward a dramatic transformation of communities in the city.

The Spanish were the first to bring Christianity to the Philippines and it spread quickly amongst the Filipinos, with Spanish friars building churches and schools. The Philippines is the oldest Christian nation in Asia. Both Catholic and Protestant Churches in Manila maintain a very visible presence. You will often see Christian slogans on city billboards or hear worship music being played in shopping malls. Most people in Manila have at least an awareness of Jesus, but the city continues to have major social challenges. Some of the more well-known issues include street children, drug trafficking and pockets of prostitution.


 “The doors have been thrown wide open. The invitation is there. Our need is more workers”


The church has been praying and community leaders are asking the right questions. “Lord, what do we need to do so our people can see you on our streets?” I believe God wants to answer this question and he has led the city of Manila to invite Megacities to help and come alongside. The doors have been thrown wide open. The invitation is there. Our need is more workers.



Can you help?

There are opportunities to work with children, women, families at risk; the environment, food schemes, clean water and sanitation, street clean-up; counselling, life skills, marriage, finance and job skill training; abuse issues, human trafficking, woman and child abuse, street prostitution; health care, mother and child health, training of community health workers, health care clinics, orphans, age care HIV/ Aids care; the homeless, slum improvement; teaching, training, the poor; addiction and drug rehabilitation; the church, discipleship, church planting; employment schemes, housing solutions, police collaboration; worship, prayer, prayer walks, prayer stations; children’s programs, youth discipleship, school ministry; bible distribution; art installations, drama, dance, sports, and entertainment…

All ministries in love and care have a place of service in Manila. Can you please pray? You can help or maybe organise a group who can come. Megacities needs Micah 6:8 teams; people walking humbly, loving mercy and acting justly on the streets of this great city. Megacities will work in Manila from January through December 2017 and everyone is welcome!

Manila is quickly growing both economically and in population. Filipinos are a very hospitable and welcoming people, and many are excited for Megacities to come. There is growing anticipation for what God is going to do through teams, trainers, and initiatives over the next 12 months. You can be a part of it all.


Meet the beautiful city of Manila

  • In 2009, the total population of children living in slums in Metro Manila was around 460,000. This number also includes kids who work in the streets during the day. It is estimated that nearly 100,000 children live completely homeless on the streets, with many getting involved in drugs or worse.
  • Metro Manila is made up of 17 ‘cities’ which function similarly to districts or boroughs. However, the city is spilling out beyond those city districts. We are targeting “Metro Manila Plus”, which is Metro Manila’s 17 city districts, plus 7 other surrounding districts.
  • The most common languages in Manila are Tagalog and English, with both very widely spoken.
  • The most popular sport in Manila and the Philippines as a whole is basketball.
  • Church leaders in the Philippines have the vision to double the number of churches by 2020.
  • There is a long history of corruption in the government, police, and the judiciary system within the Philippines. The most recent presidential election was won primarily on a platform of fighting this corruption.
  • Manila originally started as a Muslim town controlled by a Sultan before the Spanish defeated them and established their settlement there. Today there is a small, but growing population of Muslims.
  • Churches are everywhere in Manila. In fact, estimates say there are more than 20,000 churches in Metro Manila Plus alone. According to national leaders in the body of Christ, discipleship is a major need.
  • Filipinos love karaoke! It is a favourite at parties and most homes have a karaoke machine.


Find out more about Megacities, how to pray for Manila or how to send a team on our website: www.megacities.org.au.



This article was published in the
January 2017 edition of Westcoast News.

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