Lex Rex Ph

Manila Bay is a Sea | Ignacio vs. Director of Lands

“The bay is part of the sea”


Faustino Ignacio filed an application for the registration of a mangrove land in Navotas, Rizal with an area of 37,877 square meters.

  1. He also supported his claim of ownership by right of accretion based in Article 457 of the New Civil Code. Land is formed by alluvial deposits caused by the action of the Manila Bay. Claims he occupied the land since 1935 and planted therein and his possession had been continuous for 20 years until disturbed by the Director of Lands.
  2. Law of Waters referring to “sea” is not applicable to Manila Bay because the bay is not considered as a sea. (SOMEHOW, Ignacio is arguing that Manila Bay is a river).
  3. Granting that the land formed part of public domain, gained from the sea, and no longer for public use or purpose, it automatically becomes disposable and available for private ownership.


Are lands formed by the action of the sea property of the state? Yes.


  1. Same ruling with Francisco v. Government of P.I. – “Lands claimed by a private person and subject to the ebb and flow of the tides of the Manila Bay.” Article 457 of the New Civil Code is not applicable in this case because it refers to deposits on the banks of rivers, while the present case is caused by the action of the Manila Bay.
  2. Untenable. A bay is a part of the sea. Citing Francisco, Philippine Law of Waters and Water Rights.
  3. When a land is no longer for public use, a formal declaration on the part of the Government is necessary through the executive department or the legislature to the effect that the land is no longer needed for coast guard service, for public use, or for special industries. (Article 4 of the Law of Waters of 1866) Until then, land continues to be a part of the public domain not available for  appropriation or private ownership.

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