Saturday, July 4, 2015

Reshaping the Philippines

Macapagal Boulevard
   Macapagal Boulevard, an eight-lane road parallel to Roxas Boulevard located in the reclamation area spans from CCP Complex, Pasay City to Asia World City, Parañaque in Metro Manila, Philippines.  The Government Service Insurance System complex which houses the Philippine Senate, the Department of Foreign Affairs–Office of Consular Affairs Building as well as a number of luxury condominiums can be found in the area.  Macapagal Boulevard is now used to relieve the traffic around Epifanio Delos Santos Ave. (EDSA) en route to SM Mall of Asia, Entertainment City which has Solaire Resort & Casino and City of Dreams Casino all the way to the Manila-Cavite Expressway.  

   In 1979, the way to Cavite was the old Parañaque road.  It has two lanes on each direction starting from Baclaran though Paranaque and Las Piñas to Bacoor, Cavite.  Traffic then was awful and seemed unsolvable.  Street widening was not an option because it would tear down all the homes and businesses along both sides.  I know this by heart because on that year we moved to  our new home in Imus, Cavite and I commuted daily to my job in Makati City.  I used to pick the seat next to the jeepney driver in front so no other passenger could watch me do my make up along the way.   

   While no one could figure out how to fix the road situation, President Marcos got the answer, the very ambitious task of moving the shore of the Manila Bay.  While reclamation was going on his critics said it would be a waste of public funds.  Some said the reclaimed land would only benefit the rich and powerful.  A few years later the Cavite Coastal Road was opened to the public.  Many begrudged paying toll.  Those people could still take the old road and suffer the slow moving traffic home.  

 Las Pinas Salt Farm
   The coastal road now called Manila-Cavite Expressway and the reclaimed land brought progress to all the cities it crossed.  The salt farms of Las Piñas and the rice fields of Cavite became housing villages.  The new housing when populated developed the commerce and new recreation centers in those areas such as Covelandia now called Island Cove Resort & Leisure Park.  In the rush of development, people forgot whose big idea it was to move the Manila Bay, forever reshaping the map of the Philippines.


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