Sunday, September 14, 2008


It has been more than a year when incoming Mayor Lim ordered his men to clean up Baywalk by demolishing all those shanty-like commercial structures that blocked the view of Manila Bay's glorious sunsets.

Deeming Baywalk a good idea gone haywire, the mayor announced alternative concepts more fitting for Roxas Boulevard; one of which was to convert part of the reclaimed land along the sea wall and turning it into a beach, including the construction of a huge public swimming pool; complete with safe and sanitary waters, not the dangerously polluted water of Manila Bay.

The mayor's plan was to hire
professional consultants: architects and structural engineers who will provide quality designs and create management guidelines to ensure the proper operation and maintenance of the facility once constructed.

Indeed, everyone was delighted to hear about the mayor's intention for Baywalk; not only was it interesting and useful, it was something designed for the benefit and pleasure of the general public. Unarguably, it will rejuvenate Baywalk, which had become dismal and desolate ever since those al fresco cafés and taverns had all been evicted.

But alas! More than a year has gone by and Baywalk remains dismal and desolate. Worse, nothing else has been heard about the mayor's interesting and useful plans. What happened?

Be that as it may, Manileños aren't about to be deterred by yet another promise undelivered; they're making do with whatever is at hand. Thus, they've turned the area along Roxas Boulevard -- from the the U.S. Embassy to the Manila Yacht Club -- into their own idea of a beach-cum-swimming pool despite its murky waters. Call it indigenous cognitive improvisation.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 6:11 AM


Blogger nutart said...

I once saw a vintage picture of Manila Bay when the Redemptorists priests started building the Baclaran Church. Of course, it was as pristine as can be.
I also got to know from somewhere that the Bay's current goes here and there so as far as Bataan (was that Mariveles and Morong?), all the rubbish would float over there. I also recall it then goes to Cavite etc. then back to Manila. So, the control of garbage disposal and clean-ups is an all out coordination of all outlaying provinces. It's a Sisyphian job, methinks, until the collective consciousness of Filipinos (all over the mainland) change.

September 14, 2008 9:16 AM  

Blogger JayAshKal said...

It is lamentable that Manilenos have to trek to Cavite and Batangas for the nearest clean beach.

With a very large population putting too much strain on our waterways (both the once glorious and clean Pasig, as well as Manila Bay!), its time to clean up and stop using these as dumpsters.

I am sure there is both political and financial reasons to the wranglings at "Baywalk". I remember the pristine Roxas Blvd stretch of my boyhood. I am hoping for the return of the same.

Thanks Eric for bringing this issue to the fore yet again. As your pictures shows (as you also noted), the above problems won't deter our fellow Pinoys from enjoying this stretch of beach.

September 14, 2008 10:39 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

A friend went to Corregidor, Bernadette, and on their way back, the boat they were on had to slow down because of the immense garbage floating on the waters as they neared Manila. Horrible!

The bay was still rather pristine when I was a kid. But not anymore.

September 14, 2008 8:17 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

One thing about the Manilenyos, Mario, nothing will stop them from enjoying a bit of swimming in Manila Bay :)

But you're right, and I'm hoping that Mrs. Ramos (the former first lady) and her Clean & Green Foundation will push forward with their environmental clean-up programs. We surely need them.

September 14, 2008 8:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Señor,

Nice entry, by the way let me share pictures I took a week ago.

I just read from an article somewhere that Landbank is helping out with the restoration of the bay and encouraging other institutions to do the same.

September 14, 2008 11:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

at least they're having fun. i still regret the loss of tondo beach to smokey mountain. i hope they keep that stretch of beach clean

September 14, 2008 11:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as I can remember, the powers-that-be never seriously considered cleaning up the bay. Am I wrong?

September 15, 2008 2:42 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's wonderful news, El Cineasta! We need more private funding for this massive effort, but I'm sure our bays and waterways can still be rehabilitated.

Was that picture of the Manila Ocean Park? were you aboard a boat when you took those photos? I like them :)

I'd probably take pictures of Manila Ocean Park once its constructions has been completely finished.

September 15, 2008 7:32 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I have no idea that there ever was a Tondo beach, Caryn. By all means they should clean that up. I bet the residents of Tondo will greatly appreciate having such swimming area to enjoy.

September 15, 2008 7:34 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I'm ambivalent, though optimistic, about the whole issue, bertN. Case in point, this undelivered promise by Mayor Lim. I think in some way or another, many powers-that-be would like to rehabilitate Manila Bay, but I can also imagine how politics can get in the way.

September 15, 2008 7:36 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

¡Hola Señor!

You're right, the second photo is the Manila Ocean Park under construction. I took it from the Harbor View Restaurant's vantage point. The food was have to try. :)

September 15, 2008 2:24 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Will definitely take a note of that, El Cineasta. Thank you for sharing :)

September 15, 2008 7:12 PM  

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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.


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