Manila Bay loses the sunset

The Manila Bay reclamation project has stirred up controversy recently and has caused environmentalists and nationalists such stress after it has been deferred 20 years ago. Though it may be sound for the city government to back this plan with the development agenda in terms of infrastructures, employment, and prospective investments for the city of Manila, this does seem to make perhaps half of the population irate and disgusted by so many capitalists’ agenda. The fact that this has led to some critical protests and discussions, it just means this may still be a long way before the project starts. It’s either the expanse from the U.S. Embassy to the Philippine International Convention Center stand buildings and condominium units, or the spirit of the Manila Bay, with the majestic sunset be retained.

manila-bay-sunsetValue to people?

What is exactly the value of the Manila Bay Sunset and the expanse of the said area? This area has long stood the cultural manifestation of what is Manila. It has stood the beautiful crimson sunset that remains to be the central beauty of the city. Stories have run. History has laid everything. The stroll with the family, friends, or even a lover has remained to be the necessary scenario that basically equates to the Manila touristic pursuit. To the people, this is something that has forever lived. Departing from the conservative’s point of view, this is something crucial to the lives of the many as this change will actually alter the lives and the Filipino image in the long run. Concretizing this further, environmentalists say this will led to further destruction of the living conditions. Cultural activists will protest for future wearing-off of the the culture. Sympathetic Filipinos will consider this as drastic and greedy.

Culture and Heritage in the forefront

Undeniably, the Manila Bay has seen the many faces of Manila all through the years. That area will always be the mark of the city, and even the Philippines. Culturally, once this project is pursued, that essential part of the city will be lost. How will this then lead to further cultural dissolution? In the years to come, Philippines will soon become one of the Asian countries that are bound with skyscrapers edifying globalized relations and culture. In the succeeding years, Philippines will simply be just one of those in the global rat race. What will then the Philippines be in the future? What will then be its identity relative to the rest? It may be some kind of immaterial culture to advocate so much for something that is yet projective and subjectively destructive, but it’s the pattern that is seen by most cultural advocates. The culture and heritage shall remain in Manila, and will remain for years to come.

The Filipino people

What will a Filipino speak of in the future once this project is materialized? Will there still be pride in the sunset boulevard? This may be petty to some, but the idea of development in the most western definition is corruptible to the host nation, and that nation that is subject to business and free-zone employment is frightening considering not only the many consequences projected, but how people will live in the future. Will this part of the Philippines be glorified in the same way when that crimson bay still is witnessed by many Filipinos? Will this foster this essential spirit, contemplative of the identity as well as that of the lowering sun? Will there be a promise of a brighter tomorrow for most if this project be made real? These questions may be clear being mere paranoia. But people and even authorities know where this is heading. They say, it’s a matter of pragmatic decision that will make one survive. But the idea of losing what may actually and only be left in the future is just taunting.

Where are we exactly heading with this?

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One Comment Add yours

  1. wwdnsdyy says:

    I totally agree with your points.

    albeit I am a part of the real estate industry where often times development and progress would undermine the organic and the natural – perhaps it would not hurt if the government would get more or better (semi-apologetic hehe) urban planners. I suppose it will shed some light in the preserving of the good and the supposed to be untouched areas like the manila bay sunset/sunrise. It’s about time that we learn from our south east asian neighbors like singapore and brunei wherein they always incorporate “nature” in their landscape or architectural environment.

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