Friday, August 11, 2006


A clear and breezy afternoon along the north promenade of the Pasig River is the perfect weather for some college students from nearby schools to enjoy their lunch break.

At the background is Jones Bridge. It was named for William Atkinson Jones, a member of the U.S. Congress and chairman of the Insular Affairs Committee who sponsored the Philippine Autonomy Act in 1916. Jones Bridge was once hailed as Manila's queen of the bridges until it fell into neglect and disrepair in the 1980s. However, some partial restoration has preserved the elegance of its neoclassical architecture.

Pasig River is a 10-mile course that flows from the north side of Laguna de Bay and westward into the salt water of Manila Bay. Laguna de Bay is the world’s largest fresh water inland lakes with its own islands and tributaries.

Pasig comes from the words "sand banks" and the people who once inhabited along its banks called themselves Tagalog (taga ilog). They enjoyed this river and did their bathing, boating, swimming and fishing here. Unfortunately, the river began to die in the 1930s and by the 1990s, Pasig River was pronounced biologically dead; a carrier of disease. The main cause was toxic wastes dumped by factories and industrial firms that once thrived along the river banks. The waters of Pasig River had become less than desirable for any water-based activities as it once was.

As for some of the students of the nearby schools in the vicinity (i.e., Manila Community College and various maritime colleges) who may share the sentiments of those three out of ten Filipinos, or roughly 14 million, who will migrate today if possible (as per the latest Pulse Asia survey), I say go ahead and see the world! Whether you’re motivated by our country’s bleak economic landscape, or by a simple sense of adventurism, traveling does tend to expand one’s horizon. And after spending some time abroad, you might come back with certain wisdom to contribute towards our continued growth and progress as a people despite the infantile behavior of some of our elected officials.

And no matter what anyone says, our youth — unlike the bridge and river — is gifted with the innate intelligence and resilience to prevent a total shutdown of our national consciousness for the good.

Additional sources:

MLQ3/Pulse Asia

Labels: , ,

posted by Señor Enrique at 7:59 AM


Anonymous niceheart said...

I have lived in Pandacan, Manila for quite a while and I would take the jeepney there by the Pasig river to go to Nagtahan Bridge. This was in the late 80s and I remember how filthy and smelly the river was. By the way, I've also lived in Rosario, Pasig for a number of years before I migrated here in Canada.

August 11, 2006 11:47 AM  

Blogger Wil said...

thanks for the info regarding the pasig river. it's a shame that it's biologically dead. it would be great if it could be rehabilitated, db. perhaps make the polluters pay for it. now that would be poetic justice. ;)

August 11, 2006 12:10 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I'm not that familiar with Pasig, Niceheart, but Pandacan I am. I'd usually take Nagtahan Bridge from Lacson (formerly Gov. Forbes) whenever I would head on over to Malate area or Luneta.

Yup ... those murky and stinky waters of Pasig were from those industrial wastes.

August 11, 2006 12:50 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I'm afraid most of those polluters had already skipped town or changed company names to avoid paying huge fines.

I wonder, Wil, the cost of rehabilitating that entire stretch of Pasig River and time frame involved to do so.

August 11, 2006 12:53 PM  

Blogger Rey said...

I am with you in that, Eric. Youth nowadays are more concious and resilient than ever... Call me an optimist but i still hope for a better tomorrow... Where Filipinos don't need to go elsewhere but his country to find a life he dreams of.

August 11, 2006 1:54 PM  

Anonymous melai said...

Say it's biologically dead... but I spent most of my time hanging around the Pasig River at the back of PUP Sta Mesa, forget about the smell and the dirty water, sa totoo lang payapa ang loob ko pag nakatambay ako doon.

August 11, 2006 2:46 PM  

Anonymous ladybug said...

Very informative....I like your post today. :-)

August 11, 2006 5:17 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Glad to have found a kindred spirit, Rey!

I enjoy my optism; actually, before falling asleep sometimes, I would spend a couple of minutes visualizing Manila and the rest of our country in the best of light I could ever imagine. That way, I am adding power to the optism felt by others about our country as you do.

Yes, I believe that our youth, especially those who had spent time abroad, will see to it that our nation soon develop the spiritual maturity it so badly needs.

I, too, dream that someday, if ever Filipinos leave our country for a job, it would be on a short term but lucrative project by project basis. Because one thing I wouldn't want to happen is we continue becoming a nation of homesick Pinoys.

August 11, 2006 5:59 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Payapa ang loob mo, Melai, becasue water such as those of the river has a very soothing effect.

Kaya sana nga tulad ng sabi ni Wil, ma-rehabilitate natin ang ating ilog Pasig parang Thames River sa London.

August 11, 2006 6:02 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Ladybug. I enjoy doing this kind of blogs because I learn a lot in the process, or I am reminded of what I was taught but have now forgotten.

August 11, 2006 6:04 PM  

Blogger ipanema said...

Because one thing I wouldn't want to happen is we continue becoming a nation of homesick Pinoys.

Love this statement. One can just go to the airport to witness the 'crying moments', it will tear you apart: husband & wife; mother & children; father & children. One is sure to be left behind to take care of the children, praying and longing for the next meeting to be soon.

As for the Pasig River, I wish that someday we can use this to help ease traffic congestion. Why not travel using the route where it flows.

August 11, 2006 7:11 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Felt the pangs of homesickness, Ipanema, a year after residing in NY when my cousin/best friend spent a month with me and then had to go back to Manila because school was starting. If only I could go home with him then :(

Homesickness is no joke; it can be crippling inside.

Yes ... even a leisure boat that plies its entire stretch and onto Manila Bay would be grand -- provided, of course, that we start rehabilitating the river.

August 11, 2006 7:24 PM  

Anonymous myepinoy said...

I have been to many places and there is nothing beautiful compared to what we have in the Philippines. However, I am always saddened by the fact that some if not all of us do not care about our environment. Pasig River is one of the many casualties of our neglect.

I grew up in Philamlife QC.I could remember(as yong boy)the happy days spent with my friends under the big trees lined up along EDSA and the ones in the vacant lots facing the subdivision just accross EDSA.

What do we have now for those big trees? SM North, MRT station and a squatter colony.

As regards to our intelligent and idealistic youths who stand up for what is right, they are again being abducted and the worst being killed.

I may sound pessimistic here but this is the truth.

I like your series of post about places in Manila.

August 11, 2006 8:35 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Point well taken, Myepinoy.
Actually, your perspective gives this whole entry/commentaries a more balanced presentation.

I'm glad you're enjoying my posts about certain places in Manila. Keep coming back because I have more to publish.


August 11, 2006 10:29 PM  

Blogger dave (",) said...


We must rehabilitate not just the Pasig but also Laguna de Bay that's connected to it. The poor lake and the communities around its shores have also been victimized by short-sighted human interventions like the Napindan Flood Control Structure that disrupted the natural flow between the river and the lake and the industrial zones that dump wastes in it. We have lost, among other things, a source of food and drinking water (again), a tragedy aggravated by a growing population.

By the way, it's not Laguna Bay, but Laguna de Bay (Lake of the Bay). It's also called Laguna Lake, but this would be redundant. I'm also not sure if this lake is the largest freshwater lake in the world, maybe in Asia, or maybe it's the second.

August 11, 2006 11:36 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many thanks, Dave, for bringing it to my attention. I had just made the necessary correction.

It probably will be an arduous task and would require substantial funding to do all that rehabilitation of both Pasig River and Laguna de Bay, but I will keep my fingers crossed and remain optimistic about this.

I may sound like some Pollyanish old geezer tripping on acid, but hey, you never know, right? Some low-key noveau rich guy (money gained from an Internet startup IPO and was once one of our Filipino youths who made good in America -- and there's a few of them in California) may just unload a few of his bucks into this enviro/rehab project :)

Thanks for dropping by!

August 12, 2006 5:51 AM  

Blogger Wil said...

i decided to look up the pasig river at a library database and i found an article from Business World, dated April 2006. Article states that the DENR is looking to fund river projects, including the rehabilitation of the Pasig River. Rehab appear to be a 10 year project. I don't know if anything has happened since this article, but I suppose it's a good start. I found other articles as old as 2001 regarding rehabilitating Pasig River. Seems like many people want this to happen which is also good.

August 13, 2006 12:26 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That's wonderful news then, Wil! I hope DENR does go ahead with its rehabilation plans. It would really make a lot of difference, plus the river banks can be developed to create festive atmosphere much like they had done over at Roxas Blvd's Baywalk.

Thanks Wil!

August 13, 2006 3:01 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


About Me

Name: Señor Enrique
Location: Manila, Philippines

View my complete profile

This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called Flickr Badge. Make your own badge here.
Señor Enrique Home
Designed by The Dubai Chronicles.
All rights and lefts reserved.