Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City: The History of Landmarks along EDSA QC Route

29 1960s Highway 54
1960s Highway 54

In 1959, the main transport artery of Metro Manila was named Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA for short), after the patriot, journalist, politician, historian, artist and philosopher, Epifanio Cristóbal de los Santos (1871-1928). During the start of the American Occupation of the Philippines (1898-1946), there were already small roads linking the many farming communities of the Municipalities of Caloocan, San Juan Del Monte, Cornelio Pineda (present day Pasay City), and Manila; as well as former friar lands turn private properties such as the Ayala family’s Hacienda San Pedro de Macati, the Ysmael family’s Hacienda Magdalena, and the Ortigas family’s Hacienda de Mandaloyon.

At the start of the presidency of Manuel Luis Molina Quezón (1878-1944), he laid the plans of the highway, with North–South Circumferential Road beginning construction in the late 1930s. The engineers of the project were future secretary of Public Works, Transportation and Communications, Florencio Moreno, and Osmundo Monsod. Completed in 1940, the original North–South Circumferential Road stretched for almost 21 kilometers, connecting the Municipality of Caloocan, to the US Navy Transmitting Corps compound on Misamis Street, to the Marikina-Infanta Highway (now the Aurora Boulevard) that links the cities of Manila to San Juan del Monte to Marikina, to the Philippine Army’s Camp Murphy and Philippine Constabulary’s Camp Cramé in Quezon City, to the Pasig River terminal at Guadalupe district of Hacienda San Pedro de Macati, and finally to the Manila International Air Terminal (aka the Nielson Airport, completed in 1937) also in Makati, and United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) infantry base and headquarters Fort McKinley (named after the US Pres. William Allison McKinley Jr., 1843-1901, and now the Bonifacio Global City) in the Municipality of Taguig.

After World War II (1939-1945), a wooden bridge built over the Pasig River to connect the south and north roads was replaced with an iron girder bridge; and the road was renamed as McArthur Boulevard, after Field Marshal of the Philippine Army General Douglas Hardy MacArthur (1880-1964), who led the liberation forces to the Philippines from the Japanese. In 1946, the road was once more renamed to Avenida Diez y Nueve de Junio (June 19th Avenue) after the birth date of the National Hero, Dr. José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Realonda (1861-1896). Then in the early 1950s, a renaming program of many of Metro Manila’s major thoroughfares was implemented, and highway was christened Highway 54; which prompted people to believe that its was 54 miles long (Filipinos used the Imperial system then). Many people complained about the “generic” names of the city streets, and in 1959 the road received its final name: Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. And in 1979, the EDSA’s iron girder Guadalupe Bridge was replaced with a concrete bridge.

At the start of the presidency of Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Sr. (1917-1989), there were much infrastructural developments throughout Metro Manila, starting with the 1965 Metro Manila Arterial Road System program. First the EDSA was extended to absorb the Rein Street (probably named after the Spanish pilot Fernando Rein Loring, 1902-1978, who flew from Madrid to Manila in 1932 and 1933) that reached the terminal point of Taft Avenue (named after Governor-General and later US President, William Howard Torrey Taft, 1857-1930) at the border of Manila and Pasay City. Then the EDSA was further extended to absorb P. Lovina Street (named after the General, Import Control Commission Chairman, Secretary of Labor, and Pasay City Mayor Primitivo Lovina), which stretched from Taft Avenue to Roxas Boulevard (named after President Manuel Acuña Roxas, 1892-1948), making it approximately 22 kilometers long. And with the 1980s to 1990s Manila Bay reclamation project to develop the Macapagal Boulevard (named after Pres. Diosdado Pangan Macapagal Sr., 1910-1997) and the 2006 opening of the SM Mall of Asia, the EDSA was further extended to its present 23.3 kilometer length.

Two other major development of the EDSA were the construction of the Balintawak Cloverleaf Interchange in 1968 near the north end of EDSA, and the Magallanes Interchange in 1969 near the south end. Balintawak Interchange made EDSA the major thoroughfare to connect with the provinces north of Manila, with the North Diversion Road (presently the North Luzon Expressway, completed 1968). And the Magallanes Interchange the access point for the provinces south of Manila with the South Diversion Road (presently the South Luzon Expressway, completed in 1969). Both interchanges were constructed by the Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (now the Philippine National Construction Corporation, or PNCC); which was established in 1966 for these projects.

The Magallanes Interchange was named after a Makati City district where it is located, which in turn was named after the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521), who was born Fernão de Magalhães or Fernando de Magallanes in Spanish. And as for the name Balintawak, there is no clear source for the word, however there are two legends to its name. The first story revolves around the Spanish excursions into the interior of Luzon, outside the city of Manila, during the 1500s. When encountering the natives of the area, they asked the locals what was the name of the locality. Not understanding what the Spaniards had said, the natives cried “Balin Tabak,” which was the name of the dance they were performing to entertain the foreigners. The second story tells of a two siblings, Balen the woman and Tawak the snake. Balen was betrayed by her lover, who married another woman. This enraged Tawak who struck the man with her fangs. Balen sacrificed her life by sucking out the poison from the man, which prompted the local villagers to call the area Balen-Tawak after the tragic sisters. The area of Balintawak also is featured in the legend of the creation of the Sampaguita flower (Jasminum sambac), which is a similar tragic tale of a woman and her lover.

At the southern part of the Balintawak interchange is the Bonifacio Park that is dedicated to the revolutionary leader, Andrés Bonifacio y de Castro (1863-1897), who led the Katipunan Revolution against the Spanish colonizers (1565-1898), in 1896. The park was opened in the 1990s, with a statue of Bonifacio entitled “Maypagasa” (With Hope), by the National Artist Napoleón Isabelo Billy Veloso Abueva (1930-2018). The statute and park were established because the area is believed to the site where Bonifacio and his Katipunan members (Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or Supreme and Venerable Association of the Children of the Nation) tore up their cédulas personales (community tax certificates), declaring that they were no longer under the rule of Spain, and signaling the start of the revolution with the “Cry of Balintawak” in August 25 (or 26) 1896. However, this statute is not the first monument to this historical even, as in 1911 a statue entitled “Monumento sa mga Bayani ng 1896” (Monument to the Heroes of 1896), by Ramon Lazaro Martinez (1869-1950). The statue was moved 9 kilometers away, to the University of the Philippines, when the Balitawak Interchange was being constructed.

However, there are debates to the actual date and location of Bonifacio’s declaration of independence and war against the Spaniards. The other location was the Pugad Lawin area, where it is believed that Bonifacio held the “Cry of Pugad Lawin” (Hawk’s Nest) on the 23rd of August 1896. At Pugad Lawin Elementary School is the monument and museum to this historical event, with the sculptures also created by Napoleon Abueva. The Pugad Lawin shrine is located 4 kilometers from the Balintawak Interchange, along Seminary Road; which was named after the Jesuit’s San Jose Seminary, which was constructed in 1936. After the Jesuits transferred their  seminary to the Ateneo de Manila campus in 1941, the compound was left abandoned after World War II, until it was converted into the Quezon City General Hospital, in 1968.

Along the Balintawak Interchange’s exit ramp towards Andrés Bonifacio Avenue, where the Saint Joseph the Worker Parish stands, since 1959. Other religious institutions along EDSA Quezon City are the Greenhills Christian Fellowship Northwest (est. 1978 in San Juan City) on the corner of Victoneta TM Street (named after Victoria Lopez de Araneta, 1907-1988), the Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMACOP, transferred to EDSA in 1984) and the Philippine Mission of The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) offices, the Iglesia ni Cristo Lokal ng Bagong Bantay, the Word of Hope Church (est. 1988 by Dr. David Aguinaldo Sobrepeña, born 1932, and his wife, Lydia “Nellie,” transferred to present location in 1993) between Bansalangin and Bulacan streets, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (est. 1963), the United Church of Christ in the Philippines National Office (est. as the Evangelical Union in 1901, as United Church of Christ in the Philippine in 1948, with main office in 1994), the Murphy Cubao Mosque and Cultural Center, and the Holy Mountain of Zion Church in Cubao.

38 1990s National Shrine of Ina Poon Bato
1990s National Shrine of Ina Poon Bato

And interesting religious institution along EDSA Quezon City is the autocephalous Apostolic Catholic Church, located between the Bansalangin Street corners and EDSA. The Apostolic Catholic Church considers itself as Catholic, but does not report to the Catholic Church. Founded by the former Ateneo graduate and Jesuit Seminarian, John Florentine L. Teruel, in 1992; who now serves as Apostolic Catholic Church’s bishop and patriarch. Teruel’s mother, Maria Virginia P. Leonzon, has been “canonized” as the church’s first saint, and is considered the first Filipino non-Roman Catholic saint. The Apostolic Catholic Church has its temple, the National Shrine of Ina Poon Bato (Mother of the Sacred Rock), which is the home to the church’s two orders: the Order of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit (OMHS) and the Order of the Missionaries of John Florentine (OMJF).

39 1960s Balintawak Market co Philippine Daily Inquirer
1960s Balintawak Market (photograph c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Officially, the area of southern Balintawak is now called Veteran’s Village, and previously Project 7. The area was part of the Philippine government’s People’s Homesite and Housing Corporation Program (1949-1956), where residents of Manila were relocated to Quezon City, during the reconstruction of Manila after the bombings of World War II, left the city in ruins. The site of Project 7 was mostly allocated for families of war veterans, hence the name. The district is also popularly called Muñoz, after the Muñoz Public Market along EDSA. Now called the Cloverleaf Balintawak Market, the market was named after its owner, Demetrio Muñoz, a philanthropist, businessman and a presidential adviser during the 1961-1965 term of Pres. Diosdado Pangan Macapagal (1910-1997). Hailing from Minalin, in the province of Pampanga, Muñoz also served as the President Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

Taking advantage of the lack of land transport after the war, Demetrio Muñoz imported Peugeot 403’s and 404’s, Borgward coupe, Henschel-Hanomag trucks and MAN buses, all from Germany. With the MAN buses, Muñoz established the DM Buslines (named using his initials), which plied EDSA and Aurora Boulevard routes. Soon, many bus companies with provincial routes opened their stations along EDSA; among these bus companies are Victory (est. 1945 by Jose I. Hernandez), JAC (est. 1987 by Jaime A Chua), JAM (est. 1968 by Artemio and Josefina Mercado), Florida (est. 1911 by the father and son, Virgilio Florida and George Florida), Lucena (est. 2004, under JAC Liner), Dagupan (1974 by Eliseo Basa Saulog), Genesis (est. 1991), ES (est. 2007 by Elena San Pedro Ong), Viron (est. 1978 by Virgilio Rondaris), Superlines (est. 1975 by Manolet Ortiz Lavides), Baliwag (est. 1960 by Maria Victoria Santiago Vda. de Tengco), Santrans (est. 1994), Bataan (est. 2003, under Five Star Bus Company), EMC LBS, and ALPS bus transits.

The Balintawak Market is a symbol of the commerce driven residents of the Muñoz area, and one of the newest businesses to open along the EDSA Balintawak area are the Ayala Land’s Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, Cloverleaf Offices, and Avida Towers, which all opened in 2017. However, one of the more notable businesses that started in the vicinity is the international ice cream brand, Selecta. Established in 1935 by Don Ramón Arce, Sr. and Doña Carmen C. Arce, the family opened the Selecta Milk and Ice Cream Plant along Selecta Drive in 1952, specializing on carabao (Bubalus bubalis carabanesis) milk products. After the brand was purchased by the RFM Corporation (est. 1957 as the Republic Flour Mills Inc.) in 1990, and partnered with Unilever Philippines (est. 1927 as the Philippine Refining Company) to make Selecta an international brand.  Meanwhile, the Arce family reestablished their carabao milk dairy product line, with the launching of the Arce Dairy, in 1995.

42 EDSA corner Roosevelt and Congressional Avenues
EDSA corner Roosevelt and Congressional Avenues

From Balintawak, EDSA moves southeast across Quezon City, traversing the San Juan River. After the tributary is the intersection between EDSA, Roosevelt and Congressional avenues. The 2.9 kilometer Roosevelt Avenue is named after the US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), and goes southwest towards Quezon Avenue. Major cultural landmarks along Roosevelt Avenue are the Missionary Sisters of the Lord’s Table (est. 1984 by Mensa Domini Sisters, who were founded in 1962 in Antique), the Christian Gospel Center, and the Iglesia ni Cristo Lokal ng San Francisco(est. 1937), with its present temple completed in 1965 by Arch. Carlos Antonio Santos-Viola (1912-1994). The 6 kilometer Congressional Avenue goes northeastward to connect to the Commonwealth Avenue, which is the main road leading towards the Batasang Pambansa Complex that is the seat of the Philippine Congress. The major cultural institutions along Congressional Avenue are the Parish of Our Lady of Consolation in Mira-Nila Homes (est. 1987), the San Nicolas de Tolentino in the Congressional Subdivision (est. 1975), the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Church along Jersey St. (est. 1966), and the Santo Niño Parish Shrine in Barangay Bago-Bantay (est. 1957).

At the intersection of EDSA and North Avenue is the SM City North EDSA, which was designed and completed by Arch. William Vargas Coscolluela (born 1933) in 1985. Starting with a 120,000 square meter lot, the SM North EDSA is the first of the “Supermalls” of the Shoe Mart chain of malls that occupy huge blocks of land, and hold hundreds of business establishments inside. Since then, the SM North EDSA has expanded its land area to 161,000 square meters by opening the Interior Zone (including the Car Park Plaza) in 1988, the SM City Annex in 1989, the SM City Annex expansions in 2008, The Block in 2006, the SM City Sky Garden in 2009, the SM CITY Northlink in 2018, the SM City North Tower sin 2018, the SM Cyber West Avenue in 2017, and the SM Grass Residences in 2018. In 2007,Ayala Land, the rival of SM Prime Holdings, opened the TriNoma Mall (abbreviated from “Triangle North of Manila”) across south lane of North Avenue and EDSA, and creating the Mindanao Avenue Extension.

Running between the SM North EDSA City Center and the SM City Annex is Misamis Street. This road is the home of several projects of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos (born 1929). The first is the Reception and Study Center for Youth and Children (RSCC), which was opened in 1967 as a temporary home for abandoned children, between the ages 0 and 6 years.  Behind the Reception Area is the Bagong Lipunan Pag-asa Condominium, which was part of the government’s 1970s residential projects for low-and-middle-income families called Bagong Lipunan Improvement of Sites and Services (BLISS). Behind the BLISS is the Ginintuang Paligid, which was originally called the Golden Acres Home for the Aged. Opened in 1969, the Ginintuang Paligid is a home for abandoned and neglected senior citizens, and it is under the authority of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, just as the RSCC.

Also along Misamis Street is the Department of Education NRC Office (DepEd National Capital Region) that has jurisdiction over 16 school districts; which is broken down to 516 public elementary, 456 public junior and senior high schools, 1,982 private pre-schools, 2,122 private elementary schools, 965 private junior high schools, and 721 private senior high schools. The next is San Francisco High School (founded 1954), which changed its name from 1971 to 1985 as the Don Mariano Marcos High School (Pres. Marcos’ father). Across the DepEd Compound is the Quezon City Science High School (founded 1967), which has a special science curriculum for scholars gifted in science and mathematics. Finally, there are the Quezon City Polytechnic University (est. 1994) and Quezon City Science Interactive Center (est. 2007) inside the San Francisco compound.

The Quezon National High School (est. 1947) was the first public secondary school of Quezon City, with the San Francisco High School and the Ramon Magsaysay High School (est. 1958, RMCHS) starting out as annexes of the Quezon National High School. Other educational institutions along EDSA Quezon City are Quezon City Academy (est. 1953), the Asia Pacific Caregiver and Healthcare Training Center, Inc. (est. 2002), the Saint Augustine School of Nursing (est. 2004), and the Cubao Elementary School (est. 1946). And continuing the “legacy of religious education” of the San Jose Seminary, the inter-denominational Alliance Graduate School and Philippine Alliance College of Theology opened in 1982, between the corners of Bansalangin Street and EDSA.  The Alliance schools were established in Zamboanga in 1977 by the Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMACOP, transferred in 1984) and the Philippine Mission of The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA).

1983 Samson College of Science and Technology
1983 Samson College of Science and Technology

Another interesting school along the EDSA Quezon City route is the Samson College of Science and Technology, which was established by Attorney Enrique Del Pilar Samson (died 1978), and his wife,  Angeles Topacio Samson (died 1986), in Intramuros, Manila. Starting as the State Fashion School in 1934, the school was renamed as the Samson Automotive and Trade School in 1950, the Samson Institute of Technology in 1961, and the Samson College of Science and Technology in 1998. Immediately after World War II, the demand for skills education grew, and Atty. Samson opened branches in Baguio City, Baliwag Bulacan, Pasay City, and the province of Bataan; as well as opening extensions Manila schools in Escolta, Quezon Boulevard, Recto Avenue, and España Boulevard. When the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports approached the schools of Manila’s University Belt to decongest the area by creating branches outside Manila, the school took the initiative by opening the Cubao branch along EDSA, in 1983. After the death of Mrs. Samson in 1986, the school closed all its other branches except the Cubao and Legarda campuses. However in 1998, the Samson school was able to open a new branch in Alabang, Muntinlupa City; as well as a senior high school in 2014.

10 1960 Saint Pedro Poveda College
1960 Saint Pedro Poveda College

The southernmost school along EDSA is the all-girls Saint Pedro Poveda College, at the very border of Mandaluyong, Pasig and Quezon City. The school was established in 1960, as the Institucion Teresiana, by the Teresian Association of Lay Missionaries. However in 1974, the school changed its name to the Poveda Learning Centre, after Saint Pedro José Luis Francisco Javier Poveda Castroverde (1874-1936), the founder of Teresian Association of Lay Missionaries in 1911. In 2005, the school once again changed its name to the Saint Pedro Poveda College, two years after Saint Pedro Poveda was canonized.

48 1957-1993 Arturo Mañalac - Santa Rita de Cascia Parish
1957-1993 Arturo Mañalac – Santa Rita de Cascia Parish

Across the TriNoma Mall is the Philamlife Homes residential subdivision, which was originally developed for employees of the Philippine-American Life Insurance Company in 1955. Inside the Philamlife Homes is the Santa Rita de Cascia Parish, which was designed and completed by Arch. Arturo Mañalac (1915-1990) in 1957. The church is now the home of the Vicariate of Santa Rita de Cascia, under the Diocese of Cubao.

The next major southbound intersection along EDSA is that of Quezon Avenue, named after the Philippine President. The 7.1 kilometer road stretches from the Elliptical Road in Diliman to the east, all the way to the border of Manila and the España Boulevard (built 1913) to the west. The west side of Quezon Avenue was slowly developed during the Commonwealth Era of the American Occupation, alongside construction of the E. Rodriguez Sr. Boulevard in the late 1930s. The east side of Quezon Avenue was developed in the late 1960s, as an extension of the Don Mariano Marcos Avenue, but was renamed as part of Quezon Avenue, in 1987. Key points of interest along Quezon Avenue are the Mabuhay Rotonda (built 1948) that welcome travelers entering the city, the  Santo Domingo Church (built 1954), the Quezon City Chinatown Arches along Banawe Street intersection (build 2013), the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Park (Shrine of Heroes) that is dedicated to the Victims of Martial Law (built 1992), the Occupational Safety and Health Center (built 1988), the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (est. 1979, PCMC), the Ninoy Aquino Parks & Wildlife Center (est. 1954) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Lung Center of the Philippines (est. 1982), the Philippine Blood Disease and Transfusion Center (est. 2014), and the Quezon Memorial Shrine (built 1952). The Quezon Memorial Shrine is in the center of the Elliptical Road that connects Quezon Avenue to the East Avenue, the Commonwealth Avenue, the Visayas Avenue, Kalayaan Road, and the North Avenue. At the intersection of Quezon Avenue and EDSA is the National Housing Administration (NHA) compound, which used to house the Manila Seedling Bank (1977-2014). Across the compound is the commercial Eton Centris Station and Walk; which opened in 2009.

1972 National Printing OfficeOn the southbound route of EDSA, just beside the Centris complex, the National Printing Office (NPO, est. 1977) stands hidden behind a huge wall along EDSA, which can be accessed through the parallel NIA Road (National Irrigation Authority). The National Printing Office was erected in its present location in 1990 as the Bureau of Printing; however it was first established as the Bureau of Public Printing in 1901, to handle all printing requirements of the government. The first book published by the bureau was Economic Geography textbook by Hugo Herman Miller (1883-1944). The first director (called a Public Printer) was the John Sylvanus Leech (1869-1948), who taught the Filipinos the techniques of linotype and monotype printing, and served as congressional delegate representing the Philippines in the Republican National Convention. In 1921, one of Leech’s apprentices, Pablo Lucas, became the first Filipino director of the bureau, which he would serve up to the 1950s, after he was recognized for his work with Union de Impresores de Filipinas (est. 1918). The NPO moved to its present location, after its head office at the Manila Port Area was damaged by the 1990 Luzon Earthquake.

1963 National Irrigation Administration
1963 National Irrigation Administration

Next to the NPO is the National Irrigation Administration compound, which was established in 1963, and its access road was named after the government institution.  Other government offices on the EDSA Quezon City route are the Bureau of Research and Standards of the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) on NIA Road, the Philippine Statistics Authority NCR-Regional Office near North Avenue, and the National Youth Commission near corner of West Avenue.

The next major southbound intersection of the EDSA Quezon City route is the East Avenue and Timog Avenue (South in the Tagalog language) intersection. The East Avenue is a 2 kilometer stretch that moves northeastward; with the following government institutions such as the Philippine Social Security System Main Office (est. 1957, erected in the 1970s), GSIS East Avenue Medical Center (est. 1969), the Land Registration Authority (est. 1980), the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Security Plant Complex (est. 1974), the Environmental Management Bureau NCR of the DENR (est. 1999), the Philippine Heart Center (est. 1975), and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (est. 1983). The 2.04 kilometer Timog Avenue moves northwestward, with mostly food and entertainment establishments on the road. The most noticeable landmark along Timog Avenue is the film and television studios of the GMA Network Center (est. 1950), which was constructed in 1997.

Following the East Avenue/Timog Avenue intersection is the EDSA-Kamias-Kamuning intersection. The two streets and the residential areas were developed during the 1949-1956 People’s Homesite and Housing Corporation Program for people displaced by World War II. However, the 1.4 kilometer westbound Kamuning Road started when Quezon City was being established in 1939. With Pres. Quezon’s Homestead Program, people we enticed to transfer to Quezon City, and its Barrio Obrero (Workers’ Village). Kamuning Road was named after the endemic Orange Jasmine (Murraya paniculata); where landmarks such as the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish (est. 1941), the Kamuning Bakery (est. 1939), and the Dr. Jesus C. Delgado Memorial Hospital (est. 1948) are located.  The 1.8 eastbound Kamias Road was named after the Cucumber Tree (Averrhoa bilimbi), which is mostly residential units and small business establishments.

Just a few meters south of the corner of the EDSA-Kamuning intersection is the location of the second Quezon City Hall. The building was abandoned in the 1950s, when the offices of the city hall transferred to its current site, in the Diliman District. The building was later taken over by the Lions International Club, who in turn donated the lower floor to the Quezon City Public Library Cubao Branch (est. 1948), in 1968. Just further south from the Lions International Building is the Quezon City Jail, with its entrance at K 3rd Road. The penitentiary was established in 1935, as a means to decongest the Manila City Jail, while the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa, was under construction. The present prison was constructed in the late 1960s, and is fronted by the Kamuning Police Station 10 of the QCPD. Fronting the Lion’s Building is the abandoned Capitol Jaycees Hall.

After the jail is the Bernardo Park, which was built by and currently dedicated to the 2nd Quezon City mayor, Ponciano A. Bernardo (1905-1949). Constructed during Bernardo’s term as the first public park of Quezon City, as well as the site of the second Quezon City Hall. The area was originally the Commonwealth Era public market of the People’s Homesite and Housing Corporation Program Barrio Obrero. The park was renamed shortly after Mayor Bernardo was killed in an ambush by the Communist Hukbalhap, while accompanying former first lady, Doña Aurora Antonia Molina Aragón Quezón (1888-1949), on their way to Quezon’s hometown of Baler. It was only in 1992, when a monument to Mayor Bernardo was installed, which was sculpted by Peter Tiamzon de Guzman (born 1962). Beside the Bernardo Park is the Bureau of Fire Protection National Capital Region Regional Office, whose firefighters regularly used the park for emergency training and PT (physical training).

56 1962 NEPA-Q Mart co Philipppine Daily Inquirer
1962 NEPA-Q Mart (photograph c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Just across EDSA from Bernardo Park is the NEPA-Q Public Wet Mark, at the corner of Ermin E. Garcia Sr. Street. The market was opened in 1965, and formerly owned by family of Nereo Paculdo, who may be related to the former QC Councilor Joe J. Paculdo. Currently the market is called the MEGA-Q Mart.

57 1940 Epifanio de los Santos Avenue & Aurora Boulevard Intersection
1940 Epifanio de los Santos Avenue & Aurora Boulevard Intersection

The next intersection is between the EDSA and Aurora Boulevard, which is also the central station where the train lines of the Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT2, completed in 2003) connects with the Metro Rail Transit (MRT, completed in 1999). The LRT2 travels east-west, with its east terminal station at the Santolan station of the Marikina-Infanta Highway, and the at the Recto Station (named after Senator Claro Mayo Recto Jr., 1890-1960) in Manila. The MRT follows EDSA’s curving northwest-southwest route through 13 stations, with its northern terminal station at North Avenue, and its southern terminal at Taft Avenue in Pasay City that connects with the Light Rail Transit 1 (LRT1, completed in 1984).

The EDSA-Aurora Boulevard intersection is also central to the Cubao District of Quezon City. Aurora Boulevard (named after first lady Doña Aurora Antonia Molina Aragón Quezón) stretches for almost 9 kilometers, from the corner of Katipunan Avenue in the east, to the intersection of Araneta Avenue (named after the nationalist and businessman Gregorio Soriano Araneta, 1869-1930) in the west. In the 1970s, some buildings near the intersection had blown up mural facsimiles of paintings by renowned Filipino artists painted on the façades of the edifices on EDSA, to promote a paint brand. In 2011, the paint company Boysen (est. 1953, as Columbus Paints) replicated the same marketing strategy, by having murals created along EDSA, to promote the BOYSEN KNOxOUT air cleaning paint. At the Aurora-EDSA Underpass (build in the 1970s), the Finnish artist and architect, Tapio Snellman (born 1969) created the abstract mural that resembled pipes. While on a long wall between the EDSA intersections of Arnaiz Avenue (named after the aviation pioneer Colonel Antonio Somoza Arnaiz, 1912-1978) and Amorsolo Street (named after National Artist for Painting Fernando Cueto Amorsolo, 1892-1972), several paintings representing nature was create by an 18 man team of artists, led by José “Bogie” Tence Ruiz (born 1956).

The next southbound EDSA intersection is P. Tuazon Boulevard, which was named after Justice Pedro Tiangco Tuazon (1884-1961), whose family owned the Diliman Estates that the Cubao District is a part of. The Cubao land was purchased by industrialist José Amado Araneta (1907-1985), and developed Cubao into the commercial complex it is now. At the corner of P. Tuazon Boulevard and EDSA, José Araneta built his family home, which was to be called the “Bahay na Puti” (White House) in 1956. However, the Araneta home is not the first mansion in the area, as the civil servants and education pioneers, Conrado Francia Benitez (1889-1971) and Francisca Tirona-Benitez (1886-1974), built their Art Deco styled Mira-Nila home in 1929. Benitez, along with Justice Secretary José Abad Basco Santos (1886-1942), built their homes along Mariposa Drive, anticipating the construction of the North–South Circumferential Road (EDSA) to the east, and the Carretera de Santolan (now Bonny Serrano Avenue) to the south. Although the Abad-Santos home was destroyed in World War II, the Benitez mansion still stands, just around a kilometers walk from the Araneta Mansion.

Named after the Korean War hero, Colonel Venancio “Bonny” Merioles Serrano (1922-1970), the Bonny Serrano Avenue has the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) Camp Aguinaldo at the east corner, and the PNP (Philippine National Police) Camp Cramé at the west corner. The bother camps were one part of the 1935 Philippine Constabulary’s (PC) Camp Murphy, which was named after the American Governor-General and Philippine Commissioner William Francis Brennan Murphy (1890-1949). But when the Philippine Army was established on the same year, and the PC separated from the army, the camp was divided into two with the PC occupying the west camp. This was named Camp Cramé, after the first Filipino Chief of the Philippine Constabulary, Brigadier General Rafael Crame y Pérez de Tagle (1863-1927). An extension of Camp Cramé is the Camp Panopio PNP General Hospital, at the corner of EDSA and P. Tuazon Boulevard. The hospital camp was named after the Katipunero Colonel Panopio, or the WWII USAFFE guerilla, Captian Alfonso Panopio. The PC was merged with the Integrated National Police (est. 1975) in 1991, to become the PNP.

As the home of the Philippine Army, the eastern Camp Murphy kept its name until 1965, when it was named Camp Aguinaldo, after the revolutionary general and 1st president of the Philippines, Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy (1869-1964). Aside from housing the army command and battalions, the Camp Aguinaldo is also houses the Kagawaran ng Tanggulang Pambansa (Department of National Defense), the AFP Logistics Center (LOGCTR, formerly Logistics Command, LOGCOM), the Office of Strategic and Special Studies, the Office of the Judge Advocate General, the Office of Civil Defense (est. 1972), the National Defense College of The Philippines (est. 1963), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (est. 1970 as National Disaster Coordinating Council), the AFP Museum (est. 1997), the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (est. 1972),the Armed Forces and Police Savings & Loan Association, Inc. (AFPSLAI), the Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association, Inc. (AFPMBAI), the Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo High School (est. 1946, as Armed Forces of the Philippines School for Enlisted Men, AFPSEM), the Fort Aguinaldo Elementary School (est. 1949, as Enlisted Men’s Barrio School), the Camp Aguinaldo Golf and Country Club (est. 1986), and the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines; which is housed at the St. Ignatius de Loyola Cathedral (est. 1964).

The Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Cramé, including the portion of EDSA between both camps, became ground zero for the peaceful 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution that led to the ouster and exile of President Marcos, who was holding on to power for twenty years. From February 22 to 25, hundreds of thousands of people who were tired of the cronyism, graft, corruption, and the torture and killing of critics, filled EDSA to protect rebels who defected to the opposition, led by then-AFP Vice Chief of Staff and PC Chief Lt. Gen Fidel Valdez Ramos (born 1928) and Minister of Defense Juan Furagganan Ponce Enrile, Sr. (born 1924). As more and more government and military officials defected to the opposition, the US Embassy intervened by pulling the Marcos family from the Philippines, and taking them to Honolulu, Hawaii. This bloodless revolution is celebrated with the 1993 People Power Monument by Eduardo De Los Santos Castrillo (1942-2016), also at the People’s Park, along EDSA at the southwest corner of Camp Aguinaldo. Also in the People’s Park is a 1983 statue of Senator Benigno Simeon “Ninoy” Lampa Aquino Jr. (1932-1983) by Congressman Tomas Fernandez Concepcion (1933-2012), whose 1983 martyrdom triggered the events that would lead to the People Power Revolution.

Just 1.5 kilometers southward from the People’ Park, at the border of Mandaluyong, Pasig and Quezon City, the  Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace: Our Lady of EDSA stands as the first monument to the 1986 People Power Revolution. Completed in 1989, the church is a symbol of the “miracle” of the EDSA Revolution that no one was killed, and this concept is emphasized with the gigantic bronze sculpture of Our Lady of EDSA, by Virginia Ty-Navarro (1924-1996). Built at the southeast corner of EDSA and Ortigas Avenue (named after Francisco “Don Paco” Ortigas (1875-1935), the land for the shrine was donated by the real estate tycoon John Lim Gokongwei Jr. (born 1926), from the parcel of land he bought from the Philippine Social Security System (SSS), and was building his commercial center, the Robinsons Galleria (opened 1990). The church was designed by the National Artist for Architecture, Arch. FranciscoBobbyTronqued Mañosa (1931-2019),while the San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel Baptistery was designed Arch. Dominic Galicia; along with artworks by Napoleón Isabelo Billy Veloso Abueva, EduardoDe Los Santos Castrillo (1942-2016), Ramon Gahol  Orlina (born 1944), Manuel Casal, Benjamin Pagsisihan Alano (1920-1991), and Nemesio Nemi R. Miranda Jr. (born 1949). Sadly, the vista of the EDSA Shrine was covered two years later, with the opening of the Ortigas Flyover in 1991; and was further covered with the MRT3 tracks in 1999.

64 1960s EDSA
1960s EDSA

There are many other historical and culturally significant sights, along the Caloocan, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati, and Pasay cities parts of EDSA; however this will make this article too long. While these will be explored in the future, the next article will discuss the EDSA Revolution in a little more detail.

2007 Jonas Roces - MMDA Relief 0
2007 Jonas Roces – MMDA Relief, EDSA

Epifanio de los Santos Avenue

40 thoughts on “Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City: The History of Landmarks along EDSA QC Route

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