Places Reimagined: EDSA History and Mystery

Noisy environment. Unclean and dusty air. A place that is often busy and crowded. These lead us to redefine and give a new look to a historic place which is the main highlight for this article of Places Reimagined.


It’s one of the most famous highways [road] in the Philippines, known not only for its measurements, but also its historic value. It has been a witness to how the country was freed from the kleptocratic Ferdinand Marcos and achieved restoration of its democracy. The only Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, commonly referred to its acronym, EDSA.

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EDSA is a long narrow carriageway which traverses through the capital region of the Philippines, Metro Manila. It is the main road which passes through 6 of the 17 local government units in the capital region. It is the longest and the most congested highway in the metropolis, stretching at approximately 23.8 kilometers or 14.8 miles.


In 1986, EDSA was used as an instrument in regaining the democracy through a non-violent revolution which ended the 20-year dictatorship of the late president Ferdinand Marcos. Experts say that the People Power Revolution, also known as the EDSA Revolution, put a stop to the dark, tragic phase of the country’s history and to the greedy dictatorship of the government and it helped in making the economy of the country stable.

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However, news in the present about traffic congestion and “carmageddon” in the highway overshadows the historic event. EDSA is now known as Philippines’ most busy and congested highway. No one would want to be stacked for an hour or even more because of the traffic jam. Seeing a myriad of cars and commuters piled up in a hot and busy highway, what could’ve been worse than an EDSA experience?


Many Filipinos like a local artist named Bryan Aranda, are already sick of EDSA’s current condition, resorting to reimagine a better EDSA. Everyone would love a green highway. This new look would enable the people to enjoy an urbanized city with a touch of nature. The makeover would also minimize the harmful effects of automobiles on human health and on the environment. It could also help improve air quality by reducing air pollution. For those who commute to work through the highway, a greener EDSA would definitely be less of a headache. According to a study conducted on the concept of a greener EDSA, people were more satisfied with their job and reported lesser stress, ailments, and headaches. These are just a few of the advantages of a green Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.


Meanwhile, Palafox Associates, a well-known architectural firm in the Philippines, also illustrated their ideal EDSA. Palafox envisions EDSA to be well-connected, accessible, walkable, bikeable, safer, cleaner, and healthier. As such, they want to veer away from the car-oriented system and introduce a more balanced integration of pedestrian and vehicular traffic with adequate green spaces. In their illustration, they follow the ‘one-third principle’ which allocates 1/3 of the road to pedestrians, 1/3 for vehicles, and 1/3 for landscaping.

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The two concepts offer a different restoration but with the same goal. Nevertheless, we all want a better EDSA. I am one of the many Filipinos who are hoping that someday we could all see and drive in our ideal Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. How about you, squirrel friends? What would be your ideal EDSA? What kind of highway would you want to see? What do you think of this reimagined EDSA? Join us again next time as we discuss transformed places; or transform them. New look and brighter perspectives await here at Places Reimagined.

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