Manila Bay development sparks ‘sunset’ protest


The famed Manila Bay sunset. Photo by DON LEJANO/

MANILA—Hundreds of Filipinos converged on the Philippine capital’s main bayfront Tuesday for a unique “sunset watch” protest aimed at stopping what they said would be a disastrous reclamation project.

Armed with binoculars and cameras, the protesters called on the Manila city government to repeal an ordinance granting permission for a developer to reclaim 288 hectares (711 acres) of the bay.

“This reclamation will not only block the view of the famed sunset on Manila Bay but will also lead to worsening environmental degradation, like more floods,” said Chiqui Mabanta, one of the organizers of the event.

The protest involved a broad coalition of Manila residents, artists, civic leaders and environmentalists called SOS Manila Bay, which last month filed a petition with city hall to stop the reclamation.

The protesters linked hands to form a human chain at sunset, while artists painted the famed views.

The group said the developer, Manila Goldcoast Development, had presented plans for an international cruise ship terminal to boost tourism to the area.

The complex would also house entertainment businesses, as well as a high-rise residential development.

The protesters argue the development would block vital drainage areas for the city, leading to heavier floods that already cause major damage every rainy season.

It would also eliminate prime sunset viewing on Manila Bay, which is a popular pastime for many residents who consider the area an oasis amid widespread urban blight in a heavily polluted city.

Officials of the real estate company were not available for comment on Tuesday, although its chief executive was quoted in the local media last week as defending the environmental credentials of the project.

In 2005 Mabanta and other conservationists pressured the government into saving a 2.1-hectare (5.2-acre) forest park beside Manila city that was to have been felled for development.

“We hope to also win this battle to save Manila Bay,” Mabanta said.

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  • RJ Legaspi

    It could be true that the development might block the infamous Manila Bay sunset but it’s good to see the plan first. On another note I doubt it would worsen the flood issues in Metro Manila. The real cause is the garbage blocking the waterways, thrown none other than by the citizens themselves.

  • Bing

    marcos highway along tondo, malabon, navotas are filled with garbage dumps and squatters. that area is a source of pollution and an terrible eye sore. maybe the developer can instead focus on developing those areas. you get rid of the eye sore, plus you don’t have to damage the current view of  manila bay from roxas blvd. 

  • Bobby Espedilla

    naku po mas importante ang trabaho kay sa sunset. di naman mawawala ang sunset kahit tayuan pa ng high rise dyan eh. Ang gawin nyo punta kayo sa harap ng reclamation para makita nyo sunset!

    • redkinoko

      On that note, why dont we just pave over Rizal park and covert it to condominiums? It’s enough that he’s on the face of every coin. Would be nice to convert pasig river into a highway as well because really, screw floodwater.

  • monses

    The supreme court should stop this project not only for environmental concern,but also for the sake of our children who will deprive of the opportunity to watch the famous Manila bay sunset.This project will only benefit those greedy businessmen and politicians.Masyado nang laganap ang kasakiman sa pera.

    • 1voxPopuli

      wait mawawala na ang sunset??

      when you reclaim the sea you just extend the shoreline and guess what the sunset is still there.

      • haynaku123

        oo nga naman hindi naman mawawala ang sunset…kaya favor ako sa development, malaki pa naman ang dagat

      • redkinoko

        It’s not really development if you get the same stores, the same kind of amusement in a different mall with three mcdonalds in it. What kind of tourist would travel halfway accross the world to see Bench and Penshoppe?  And it’s not like Filipinos get rich working for those kinds of establishments. At best you’d get a thousand low-paying dead-end contractual jobs.

      • Fernando Cresente Hernandez

        Yes, but to see it you have to pay a fee to the developer.

  • kismaytami

    Napadaan ako kanina sa Roxas Boulevard, may streamer na no to Manila Bay reclamation between Philippine Navy and Manila Yacht Club, by mayor alfredo lim kuno sa may bandang Manila Yacht Club, at may logo pa ng Lungsod ng Maynila. Ano ba talaga mr. lim?

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