Manila Beach: Anatomy of a Vanity Project

Analysis and Opinion

By Chemrock

This is from one of my old blog collection. With election just round the corner, I though it a good time to share how poor leadership begets poor projects. Environmental projects almost always require a holistic approach to ensure sustainability. Beautifying the Manila beach is a worthy national project. However, it is most definitely a tail end work, after a host of other necessary priorities such as cleaning up the rivers that drain into the Manila Bay.

Manilenos woke up one day to find dumpsters unloading sand at the Roxas Boulevard. Beach reclamation has began, catching most folks by surprise. From what was going on at the site, and the public discussions, it was clear engineering expertise and foundational work was lacking. It has the hallmarks of a rushed job, just facial pampering. Those who have experienced beach reclamation elsewhere did’nt have high expectation. The results are self-fulfulling.

The old world charm of Manila Baywalk area. In early 1900s, development had already pushed right to the sea. There is not much of beach width as can be see in this heritage photo. What is obvious is the cleanliness of the beach front in days of yore.

Modern day Manila and pollution is a big problem throughout the city, especially in the waterways. Major rivers Pampanga, Pasig, Talisay, Meycauayan, Navotas-Malabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros, and Maragondon, and the city pour floatsam, untreated waste water and sewage into the Manila Bay. The garbage is an eyesore, but what cannot be seen in the water is terrifying. The e-coliform level has reached as much as 330 million mpn/100ml, which is 3.3 million per cent over the acceptable health standard.

After a massive cleanup, Manila Beach is a sight to behold, even without white sand. The beach clean up is a helluva of a Herculean task and ought to be applauded. All previous administrations have talked about it, but were unable to do anything. Strong-armed tactics against businesses operating near waterways did wonders. Had the yellow leadership tried this, they would be TROed to death. Southern leadership rule of force has its advantages.

Manila beach after the Php389m beach nourishment. This covers a stretch of about 500m in the locality of the US Embassy. This beach nourishment project came out of the blue and, by the country’s standard, was very quickly completed. The sand came from a dolomite mining plant in another island (Cebu). It was excavated, crushed to sand, and shipped to Manila. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Filipinos came to check out their new pride.

The white sands of Manila Beach after the rain and natural waves have had their say. A pyhrric victory for the administration and absolution for detractors who said its a vanity project and money should have been better spent on pandemic assistance to the needy.

Let’s leave the politics and emotion aside. Let’s try to understand some basics of the science and engineering behind beach nourishment.


The incoming wave is called the swash. It brings with it the sediments from the sea and deposits them on the beach. This process is called accretion. The outgoing wave is called the backwash which carries sand back to the sea. This is the erosion.

Where is the sand coming from? It is from a submerged sand bar which could be kilometres offshore. The volume of sand in the sandbar is a few thousand times more than the sand that is seen on the beach.

Nature crafts a particular beach depending on the gradient of the slope, native sediments, wave energy, longshore drift, current patterns, wind, storms, sea-level changes, and coastal topography. Without any coastal engineering construction, but simply pouring the dolomite sand, it is only a matter of time before nature will return the beach to its previous condition of equilibrium. The added sand will ultimately end up in the sad bar.. The only way the Manila beach can be widened is to pour billions of tons of dolomite sand onto the sand bar. This is of course humanly impossible.


Geotube Perimeter

DENR has insisted the sand can be retained by the use of Geotubes. The snake-like strings in the “sand washed out” photo appear to be the Geotubes. They are obviously not in position but brought in after the sand has been deposited. A further tell-tale sign is the pathetic use of sandbags. The use of Geotubes seemed like an after-thought for a project lacking an engineering approach.

Geotubes are mostly used in protection of dunes and embankment. The DENR idea seems to be to use Geotubes as perimenters to cordon in the sand. The seaward portion is likely to be submerged. There don’t appear to be any examples of installations like this anywhere else. It is possibly experimental.

The Geotube perimeter will prevent the seaward movement of the sand. At the same time, it also prevents the shoreward movement. In the frothy waters of the swash and surf zones, sand grains are floating in the water. The impact is yet to be seen.

Geotubes are porous. They are filled with the native flurry. Fine sediments flow through it. Submerged Geotubes have a longer lifespan. The portion that is above water line is subject to the wear and tear effect of the waves thus shorter maintenance intervals.

Submerged Geotubes are hazards to boating activities and swimming. However, if these recreational activities are not allowed given the dangerous e-coliform levels in Manila Bay, then it does not present a problem.


The Dept of Public Works and Highway announced belatedly that they are considering the construction of breakwaters. This suggests the project was approached without engineering concepts and coordination amongst agencies. It’s an afterthought.

Breakwaters may be offshore or onshore. There is already an existing offshore breakwater some kilometres out in that part of the bay. It is obvious DPWH was talking of onshore breakwaters.

Onshore breakwaters are barriers built parallel to the beach. These contraptions are common and have been proven highly effective in many beaches all over the world. They help to entrap the sand on the backwash and stabilise the beach from erosion.

The onshore breakwaters on the reclaimed land on Singapore’s East Coast Park were constructed in 1982 and there have been no need for beach nourishment for 38 years.

The Sand

This could be onsite or offsite. Onsite sand is predominantly used in beach nourishment for 2 reasons. It is more economical to dredge and pump in the sand from the sand bar offshore. Another reason is ecological. Native sand is preferred.

Manila white sand came from a dolomite mine in Cebu. For a country that has good legislation for extractive industry, the project is in breach of environmental requirements at the production and the deposit sites. There were no environmental studies done at both extraction and dumping sites. Neither were official permits issued. The Cebu mine in fact has breached its mining share agreement with the government and the local governor has suspended the mine’s local sales operation.

Why is native, or local sand, preferred? Beach nourishment impacts the ecological system both onshore and offshore. The benthic invertebrates population decrease which affects the fishes and the birds. The impact is greater if offsite sand is used. The Manila Beach nourishment is not large scale, so this may not be a big issue. However, the use of dolomite sand is controversial. Government managers said it poses no dangers to human recreation activities, but biologists warned of the toxicity of dolomite particles. The sudden fish kill in the bay after the beach nourishment was completed is a tell-tale sign. Is there a reason no other beach nourishment projects in the world use dolomite sand?

The size and jaggedness of the grains of sand matter. The size affects the way the sand is distributed by the accretions and erosion of the waves. Finer sediments are deposited further upshore and bigger sized end up at the waterline. Offsite sand interrupts the natural composition of native sand and thus the natural equilibrium. The long term outcome is uncertan once nature is disturbed.

The jaggedness of the sand matters. One way beach sand mitigates erosion is it hydraulic stabilisation characteristic. This works by the interlocking effect of the jaggedness of the sands. The finer sands with more rounded shapes have less hydraulic stability and gets washed away easily.

Thus one grain of sand is not the same as another. In the Singapore land reclamation project, supply of sand is subject to quality control in terms of size and jaggedness. It’s not a simple case of any sand will do.

It would seem the native sediment at the Manila Bay area is more silt and volcanic in nature. Thus the sand tends to be blackish and very fine. The man-made dolomite sand is coarser with bigger grains. The tidal dynamics will tend to pull the white sands to the water line and the finer black sands deposited higher up the shore. Maintaining white sand there will be a tough job working against nature.

The Mandamus

Is the sudden and seemingly rushed projet a populist and vanity project? The government maintains it is in abeyance of the 2008 Supreme Court mandamus.

Wikipedia: “Mandamus is a judicial remedy in the form of an order from a court to any government, subordinate court, corporation, or public authority, to do some specific act which that body is obliged under law to do, and which is in the nature of public duty, and in certain cases one of a statutory duty.”

In 1999 a group of complainants calling themselves “Concerned Residents of Manila Bay” filed a complaint in the Regional Trial Court in Imus, Cavite against various government agencies for cleanup, rehabilitation, and protection of the Manila Bay. Complainants won. In 2002 the lower court ordered the various agencies to do their respective tasks :

  • MWSS – sewerage treatment facilities
  • WUA – proper disposal of waste
  • DENR – waste facilities to rid the bay of toxic and hazardous substances
  • PPA – discharge of solid and liquid wastes from docking vessels
  • MMDA – solid waste and liquid garbage disposal system
  • DA – marine life in Manila Bay
  • DBM – budget for rehabilitation of Manila Bay
  • DPWH -removing debris and garbage in the bay
  • DOH – fecal sludge and sewage coming from septic tanks
  • DECS – education on environmental protection
  • Coast Guard and PNP Maritime Group – prevent illegal fishing in Manila Bay.

The order was sustained by the Court of Appeal in 2005. The case went to the High Court which upheld the decision. It issued the Mandumus in 2008, penned by Justice Velasco. The Mandamus set out the tasks of each agency with quarterly progress reports. A Mandamus remains open until all ordered tasks have been completed.

Read the Mandamus here

Three cheers to the Caviteans

It is a bit far-fetched that the administration can be compelled by a Mandamus which had been swept under the carpet for 12 years. In the scheme of things for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay, the beach nourishment ought to be the final tasks after all the other systems are in place to control sewerage, solid, liquid and garbage disposal and the rivers are rejuvenated. It’s a case of trying to run before one learns to walk.

Manila Bay Coastal Strategy

It is naive to believe such a complex project for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay can be organised and supervised by the courts. The tragedy is that the Philippines already has a comprehensive coastal strategy for Manila Bay and nobody is paying attention to it.

Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) is a regional partnership programme implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and executed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). Its mission is to foster and sustain healthy and resilient coasts and oceans, communities and economies across the Seas of East Asia through integrated management solutions and partnerships. PEMSEA regional development office is in fact, hosted by Philippines with its office within DENR in Quezon City.

In 2001 PEMSEA completed the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy. It provides a comprehensive environmental management framework, targeted outcomes and a series of actions programs involving the participation of both government and non-government sectors to bring back the old glory of the Bay. A PEMSEA project has logistical. funding, and technical expertise support from various international partnership agencies within the UN and other countries.

It’s a crying shame the Manila Bay white sand project was rushed through with no proper environmental studies nor engineering modelling instead of working through PEMSEA framework for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy where support may be availed.

For the full 121 page Manila Bay Coastal Strategy read here.

The Economics

2,000 to 3,000 beach nourishment projects are carried out annually all over the world. These projects are expensive and they are not one off events. The sand replenishment is repeated after an interval of a few years; the periodic cycle differs from site to site. Most beach nourishment projects are conducted because the onshore economic activities generate positive payoffs. This may not be so for Manila Bay. However, it does not preclude the government from expending for the purpose of providing recreation facilities for the people to enjoy.

123 Responses to “Manila Beach: Anatomy of a Vanity Project”
  1. Karl Garcia says:

    Defenders insist that the project was for flood prevention because adding sand is beach nourishment.
    Even DENR is singing the same tune,
    DPWH meanwhile is busy claiming credit on build build build, thus Villar’s photo ops and leftthis issue to Isko and DENR.

    Even the input of the DOH was shot down.

    • kasambahay says:

      isko moreno will be hit hard, the dolomite beach is going to be his albatross. he might as well come up with clever and effective punchline dahil itong dolomite fiasco ay palaging ibabato sa kanya come election.

      • chemrock says:

        For a while I had some hopes in Isko, and then it all went downhill.

        I’m thinking of young upcoming leaders like Vic Sotto. He’s interesting at the moment. I hope the trappings of political positions do not corrupt him on the way up.

  2. Karl Garcia says:

    Was Cebu bypassed by the national government? If yes, there is reason for their Provincial DENR to claim that the eco system has been damaged making Gwen Garcia call for an investigation.
    But if Gwen Garcia was not bypassed then what is all the complaining all about?

    Taxes actually and not stewardship for the environment.

    Garcia clarified that the province was not against the Manila Bay project.

    “We don’t get involved in a project of DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) to nourish the beach by getting their resources elsewhere. But you are getting resources from the province supplied by DMC, extracted by DMC, and under the provincial ordinance, our tax code, they are supposed to pay 10 percent of the fair market value of the quarry resource,” she said.

    • Cebu’s interest is strictly commercial. Business. Tax money. Not complicity in stupidity.

    • chemrock says:

      Cebu looked at the fiasco from the small lense of intra-govt dealings.

      I had a very peripheral involvement with some projects involving movement of sediments from one place to another. I can tell you, on paper, Philippines has very good protocols in place — environmental studies, regulations, proper authorities, permits this and that, etc. One cannot just remove payloads from one place and dump it in another. There are licences, forms and forms to fill up.

      Southern leaders can move mountains without any paperwork.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Paperless miracles of moving mountains.

        • kasambahay says:

          gwen did not see the mountain moving and was last to know.

            • kasambahay says:

              lol! I was being funny, karlG. sobrang tangos ng ilong and gwen did not see the mountain moving right in her own backyard. no wonder inday sara consulted with gwen for 2hrs!

              gwen is not bir commissioner, collecting taxes is not really her job. as well, it’s bureau of customs job to collect freight fees from shipments, but gwen’s? makikisakay yata si gov.

              I understand all fees collected go to national govt’s coffer and provincial governors got their fair share of allocated budget from the national govt’s dept of budget and management, and not the other way round.

              I think, people got it right to blame national govt for failed dolomite makeover, isko moreno may yet have a wiggle room to move, he’s a small fry.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Trillanes opined that instead of him as Leni’s choice for vp, he would recommend Isko and Poe.

                In my opinion, sya na lang instead of those two.

              • sonny says:

                Karl, I was hoping for a Leni/Trillanes or Leni/Gordon tandem.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                @Sonny, I know your Ateneo ties with Gordon, but he is out of my list.

                I need not count the ways.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                John Nery replied to me when I gave my two cents on his opinion that Sentri should run for the senate.

              • He definitely knows the players.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Apparently, he does.

              • sonny says:

                @Karl, school affiliation in PH is a terribly mixed bag and so attenuated anyway, close to useless in determining suitability. Other factors are more useful. I think American politics are more tractable and safer because of the bureaucracies in place to play luxury of politics.

                PH is pretty much an anything-goes arena, IMO.

              • kasambahay says:

                I’m starting to understand why trillanes did not become commodore, leaves little to no wiggle room for himself, lol! it’s apparent to me that trillanes can barely be in the same room as isko moreno. but this is politics, your enemy is your frenemy. so, smile and embrace both isko and grace and welcome them to the party. one day, trillanes will need their support.

                trillanes wants the presidency and he’ll get it, not in 2022 though. methink, he ought to learn more political finesse, and start to really enlarge his support base to augment magdalo. and starts collecting plaudits, it will serve him well in the long run. be positive and have faith in the party he affiliates with. give the party uber good reason to stand by him, that he’s mega invaluable, not some nega loose cannon that needs tinkling in the repair shop, the rough around the edges needs tempering.

                trillanes will reach the ultimate in statemanship, though he wont get there if he’s already openly burara with ideas and dismissive of their implications. what serves him in the 90’s may not be enough to serve him in today’s time.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Nery called him bantay salakay (indirectly)maybe because he volunteered to run as president.

              • sonny says:

                @karl, ano meaning ng “bantay salakay”?

              • Karl Garcia says:

                worse than opportunist. like a security guard robbing the bank he is securing and guarding.

              • sonny says:

                @Karl, is Nery right describing Trillanes as bantay salakay (opportunist)?

              • NHerrera says:

                In agreement with @Kasambahay, @Joeam — Trill needs tempering and finishing off of his rough edges. He is young and intelligent. With the right evolution, he can still have a bright political future. Perhaps a future President.

                He should listen more from TSH. Hehe.

              • He reads here regularly, or used to. He didn’t like Popoy’s musings much. Will and I had lunch with him once.

              • NHerrera says:

                That said, Trillanes is a cut above Lacson, Gordon, and what’s his name? [Honasan?]

              • Karl Garcia says:

                He did not accuse directly, he said so people would not think that he is bantay salakay he must …..
                Trillanes is not bantay salakay.

  3. Rizal was shot pretty close to the sea back in 1896 as Roxas Boulevard didn’t exist yet, it was to be built on reclaimed land as Cavite Drive in 1912 and was later renamed a few times including a long time as Dewey Boulevard.

    Of course there is the Marcosian land reclamation project upon which the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the PICC and the ill-fated Film Center were built. MOA is also built on reclaimed land. In the long run too much reclamation is a disaster for flood control, but what Spain started building South Harbor has continued unabated.

    Needless to say, Dolomite Beach is nonsense. Meanwhile the Pasig River is one of the biggest sources of plastic pollution worldwide. It was unsafe to bathe in the toilet called Manila Bay in the 1970s due to e coli, must be way worse now. Consider also that CAMANAVA area is sinking into the sea slowly every year. Tenejeros is a bridge and a river where it always smelt like the sulfur of rotten eggs even approaching it, this was already early 1980s. Well, the priorities of Philippine government..

  4. Micha says:

    Has the entire stretch from Cultural Center to the US Embassy been dolomite-d? How about that area behind Quirino grandstand and Manila Hotel?

    Anyway 10 years tops, if we’re lucky, and most of the US embassy compound could possibly be underwater so the entire effort is moot and vain indeed.

  5. AJ says:

    You may convert your posts to WP’s block format. Perhaps that would correct the messed-up layout of text below your photos.

    • chemrock says:

      Thanks. Need to put in some effort to learn the ropes. Was much easier previously.

      I blog at blogger which is much easier. But blogger is very bad on the comments side of things. There is no threadline.

    • Hmmm. Thanks. It’s not messed up in my block-text editor. Let me check it on my phone. The WP block text editor is a nightmare for me. I was fine until they forced the change.

  6. LCPL_X says:

    Great reading , chemp. Sorry to say that I never ventured the chance to visit any beaches surrounding Manila bay.

    In reading the mandamus I think this is what trickled down to the gov’t, while the Oposa Doctrine was what the world latched on to as a novel concept, in which kids sued their gov’t for a better tomorrow, some Malala and Greta stuff.

    I remember Mr. Oposa’s recounting of that filing (if this is the same case), i’ll to look for the youtube again, that he kept on filing the complaint to the Supreme court, and got shot down a bunch of times; eventually the case fell on a sympathetic judge, who was a gardener thus some idea of how an ecosystem works, so elevated it to an audience w/ the court.

    and the case was argued and won.

    All because of serendipity! A judge who likes gardening thought the case had merit. So arbitrary. Like lottery.

    But your blog reminded me of the islands in Abu Dhabi, which no ones buying so the waters are taking back their sand,

    • Karl Garcia says:

      Speaking of reclamation, Duterte playing the last minute hero by thumbing down reclamation projects in the last minute due to corruption.

      in the previous entry, Dean mentioned the reclamation project in Dumaguete.

      if in UAE the reclaimed islands are in danger of submerging as illustrated above.
      bye bye billions of pesos if the reclamation projects in the PH will push through some day.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Vanity of vanities. Tourism and construction(of The World) went on and will continue.

      • LCPL_X says: (here’s Mr. Oposa’s recounting of the filing, fast forward to 3:10 )

        Correction, Dubai not Abu Dhabi, these islands are so fucking ugly.


        Some of the seediest areas in Cebu was in a place called Reclamation, their short time hotels had cockroaches as big as cats. But the land seemed stable far from the water, so i’m sure reclamation projects like chemp says can be done correctly.

        I don’t know when that Reclamation area was done in Cebu City, but I know newer reclamation projects have been undertaken recently. theres malls and condos there now.

        My exposure to sonny’s reminiscing of Roxas Blvd during his time, was simply from taxi rides at night from EDSA entertainment complex and back never seen what you guys are talking about here; but I have walked along Dumaguete blvd, its really nice. That whole town is quaint.

        If anything a bridge to Cebu would be more useful. Unlike Manila, you can expand north and south, plenty of room to do so.

        As an aside, my memories of Philippine beaches especially in the province was of groups of boys, who’d just had circumcision and enjoying a day at the beach getting their little weiners pecked at by small fishes. You don’t see that in the US. LOL!

        sonny, was that true for Manila beach way back when? I’d assume nowadays the newly circumcized of Manila won’t risk it in Manila beach. Unless they’ve brought lots of anti-biotics. LOL!

        • sonny says:

          Home operations done by local herbularyo used guava leaves boiled in water as antiseptic seemed to work as good as a trip to a local clinic for the procedure. I am not aware of complaints from neighborhood clients. 🙂

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Thought they just bit the guava leaves back then.
            Urban legend?

            • LCPL_X says:

              In the province as of mid 2000s, boys chewed guava leaves, while their peckers were being chopped, then spit as soon as the chopping guy raises his palm, then applies chewed guava leaves with boys spit to the wound, makes knot around wound with old ripped up shirt as dressing. Then its relaxing under some old mango tree; shortly after a couple of trips to the beach to have scabs pecked at by tiny fish.

              So guava leaves and tiny fish. LOL!

              But that this tradition originated from the Jews in the fertile crescent is what’s amazing! In the ME its the ulemas that do this.

              What s even more amazing is that the guy who does this is the same guy who goes around sharpening blades and taking in metals from everyone, so circumcision is his sideline gig, and for cigarettes , Hahahaaaaa… that’s amazing.

            • sonny says:

              Some quick chemistry on the items mentioned used in home-made remedies to perform ‘tuli’:

              guava plant = known for its astringent properties;

              saliva = catalyst for breakdown of organic compounds; Jewish procedures use this property for antiseptic properties on traumas;

              well-maintained sharp instruments; our neighborhood “mohel” is also a leather craftsman

              takeaway: the home-made ingredients do have the essential elements for the procedure; the Jews have been doing the procedure for a long time,

              “Orthodox Jews sometimes follow with a ritual known as metzitzah b’peh. Immediately after the boy is circumcised, the man who performs the ritual — known as a mohel — takes a mouthful of wine. Then he places his mouth around the base of the boy’s penis and uses suction to clean the wound.”

              • sonny says:

                PS. “boy” = infant !!

              • sonny says:

                “Bris” is a sign of a covenantal membership into the Mosaic Law; performed 8 days after birth.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Thanks, sonny!

                guava plus saliva. and Mohels! I’ve been doing some more Googling on this.

                And it turns out the Egyptians used circumcision to mark their slaves; so maybe it was later culturally appropriated by Jews as God’s covenant.


                American circumcision however was promoted by Kellogg (among others) , yup the cereal guy, to prevent masturbation. it was also a means of racism, citing poor and coloured are not circumcised, so white educated are.

                75% of American men are circumcised where 10% of Germans are and overall 30% around the world are circumcised.


              • i7sharp says:

                Sonny wrote:
                “Bris” is a sign of a covenantal membership into the Mosaic Law; performed 8 days after birth.”

                I guess, if “bris” can be safely broached here, bringing up “shmita” is probably okay.
                After all, shmita has something to do with soil.
                Actually, the reader can simply visit this:
                March 26, 2015 at 11:39 pm

                “Shmita in Luisita”

                I checked a few minutes ago to confirm that “shmita” has not been mentioned previously in any of the threads here in JoeAm’s blogsite.

                (I did not check on “Luisita” because I have no reason to doubt the Aquino hacienda has been mentioned in the site more than once.)

                Those who feel uncomfortable with the Bible can begin with this:
                “Shmita in California”

                Those who are more … er, daring … or not afraid to be bored … can jump to this:
                May I mention that earlier today I uploaded to its Files section
                “Jesus (Friend to Terrorists)”?
                IMHO, reading it will help one gain insight about the BBL.

                My main point:
                Shmita can make for a much better Philippines.
                (The Jews paid dearly – 70 years – for not heeding God’s word on it.)

                Sorry, the above “” shortcut links don’t work anymore because they linked to Yahoo!Groups that are now, alas!, defunct.

              • Three links sends it to moderation. Spam protection rules.

              • sonny says:

                Re: Shimita, the sabbatical year

                This is one of those intersections in Judaeo-Christian traditions. A larger framework states that Catholicism is the spiritual Israel where all 12 tribes subsumes the entire world. Islam also has its version – that the whole world is Moslem, Dar al-Islam. My opinion.

              • sonny says:

                shimita = shmita

          • LCPL_X says:


            I’d never heard of schmita before! I’ve heard of Jubilee, I believe Catholics celebrate this but in name only, not really the communist/socialist ideals behind it. This is the reason I truly believe God’s a commie, hence my support for Bernie.

            Shabbat I know intimately because I once lived in a neighborhood where orthodox Jews were aplenty. Plus I’ve seen Yentl and Fiddler on the Roof.

            So I’m wondering if circumsicions are practiced during schmita years? If theres schmita I can now understand the realistic practice of jubilee. All relates to degrowth and entropy really, weakly generationally preparing for this.

            Allowing the land and people to reset if you will constantly. God’s the boss when

            it comes to public policy. I say we adopt it wholesale. Shabbat too every week.

    • chemrock says:


      Thanks for the intro to Oposa. Who would have known it was a Filipino who kick started the sustainability idea to land ownership. The universal move from the view of absolutionist ownership of land (for economic benefits) to relationivist ownership (bio-diversity coexistence) actually started with Philippines. Well done.

      I’m digging into this with some personal interest. In land scarce Singapore, we have very wild natural areas left. There is a current issue going on with regards to a forested area that the govie is trying to develop into housing estates. Citizens are really pissed off at the incessant housing development and insatiable thirst for foreign workers.

  7. sonny says:

    My generation got to enjoy the remaining pristine beauty of Dewey/Roxas Boulevard that included idyllic walks, picnics, swimming along any of areas of the Luneta up to Las Pinas & Paranaque. This was during the years 1952-59. Weekend parties in the ’60s often times included cruising along Dewey Blvd at the afterglow of Saturdays and waiting for the Sunday dawns. Sigh …

  8. Sonny, a rest of the old vibe was still there in the 1970s but just for walking not swimming. Reports of slum dwellers swimming and getting akin diseases and intestinal stuff already abounded. At some point the area especially Marcos Reclamation land gained the reputation of being unsafe at night.

    Karl, Cavite Drive was built on reclaimed land in 1912, it eventually became Dewey and then Roxas Boulevard.

    BASECO of course is the urban poor area by the sea that is notorious for getting flooded.

    • chemrock says:

      Any idea if Manila flooding is due to sinking land as a consequence of excessive extraction of underground water? I know this is a big problem in a few areas in Jakarta where the underground aquifier has been drained and land is sinking causing severe floods each time the rains come.

    • Karl Garcia says:

      Thanks Irineo.

    • sonny says:

      In 1958-59, a group of high school San Beda students was invited for a whole day excursion that included a tugboat ride into Manila Bay at southernmost end of Dewey Blvd. This ride included swimming in the waters of Manila Bay. I distinctly remember at the time the clean waters of the bay.

      Mention of reclamation in the 1912 edition of the Annual Report of the Philippine Commission to the Secretary of War reports the allotment of 11,569,677 pesos to enable construction of port facilities due to increased importance of world trade passing through Manila. The context of the report seems to indicate reclamation in the “port district” north of the Pasig. (my interpretation). Of course, source documents to the contrary are welcome.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        North harbor reclamation

        • sonny says:

          Yes indeed, Karl.

          Reading this annual report, we have proof that our beloved islands were a fabled destination for the travel-weary.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Cavite Blvd was constructed in 1912.

          • Karl Garcia says:


            City Beautiful movement Edit
            The Cavite Boulevard was part of Architect Daniel Burnham’s plan for beautifying the city of Manila.[7] At the request of Commissioner William Cameron Forbes, Burnham visited the country in 1905 at the height of the City Beautiful movement, a trend in the early 1900s in America for making cities beautiful along scientific lines, for the future urban development of Manila and Baguio.[8]

            Original concept Edit

            Construction of Cavite Boulevard, 1912
            According to Burnham’s original concept of the Cavite Boulevard, the bayfront from the Luneta southward should be a continuous parkway, extending in the course of time all the way to the Cavite Navy Yard about 20 miles (32 km) away. This boulevard, about 250 ft (76 m) in width, with roadways, tramways, bridle path, rich plantations, and broad sidewalks, should be available for all classes of people in all sorts of conveyances, and so well shaded with coconut palms, bamboo, and mangoes as to furnish protection from the elements at all times.

            “In order to make the boulevard presentable and useful as soon as possible, a quick-growing tree like the acacia might be planted, alternating with the trees of slower growth, and be replaced after the latter attain their growth. The boulevard’s seaward side should be planted so as to interrupt occasionally the view of the sea and, by thus adding somewhat of mystery, enhance the value of the stretch of ocean and sky. The boulevard would be on reclaimed land to about as far south as the old Fort San Antonio Abad in Malate, beyond which it strikes the beach and follows the shoreline to Cavite. The possible extension of the ocean boulevard along the north shore would naturally depend upon the development of the town in that direction and upon the question of additional harbor works north of the Pasig River.”[8]

            • sonny says:

              Karl, thanks for the details of the Burnham vision. His extended visit to the Philippine Islands had a lasting impact on his architectural philosophy, I think. I would speculate that tropical functionality and aesthetics affected his sensibilities adequately.

        • sonny says:

          PS: Karl, I think the reclamation budgeted was as far as the ARMY-NAVY CLUB & the US Embassy.

    • NHerrera says:

      karl, you associated sand with that beautiful essay of edgar. As I quickly scanned the link again it brought back edgar as if he is physically with us today. Thanks for bringing it up.

      A trivia note. When I first posted at TSH, edgar was the one who welcomed this newbie. JoeAm, I believe, was either on vacation or somehow preoccupied with the comments streaming into that particular blog topic.

    • sonny says:

      Edgar was a kindred spirit as shown by his tract on BATO SA BUHANGIN. At that time, our choral group was preparing a choral number featuring this plaintive musical composition.

    • i7sharp says:

      Testing … 1, 2, 3

      • i7sharp says:

        I sent a “test” because, much earlier today, I had tried to send something like this:


        Thanks for sharing the article.

        My day started with the reading of Edgar’s analysis.
        Andy Ibay’s comments (as a soil surveyor) were very interesting
        and context to Chemrock’s article.
        Anyway, knowing partly the science of “bato” provide some idea about other matters like the Makati Parking Building could have been constructed in the middle of the Pasig River without spending much on foundation because underneath is adobe, strong molten magma, igneous rock slightly weaker than Quezon City’s escumbro rock. QC should built up (bato sa ilalim) towards the sky while Manila (lambot burak ang ilalim) should go subway for transport and underground mini cities.

        Having been be assigned In Romblon (said to have more than 10 islands) I got a collection of buhangin of many colors from light to dark gray, to orange, to red and pure white sand, hence the term red and white beaches. I learned the color of beach sands had something to do with pulverize colorful corals over centuries. Bato sa buhangin or batong buhangin has something to do with batong buhay. No wonder that big ones are seen scattered more along level beaches than on cliffs and embankments. But inland and mountain streams smaller sandstones are seen down streams. Starting big from headwaters or up streams over long years of flooding the stones are said to decrease in size.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        testy again.
        Welcome re: below
        ps I hope Andy is ok, our last convo here was not worth remembering. I agreed with Micha on his concerns on popoy’s posts.
        I can not even find him on fb anymore, before, I could.

        • i7sharp says:

          Am not sure if I get you right, Karl.
          But let me take a shot.
          There will always (or almost always) be disagreements. As you have recently said, “Familiarity breeds contempt.”

          Much in the world needs repair … due to, er, entropy and … hmm … sundry.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            We are both mysterious or magulo ako. Wag k sanang ma pikon ng lubos sakin.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            That is like saying familiarity bridge contempt.
            Blessing in the sky.
            For all intensive purposes.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              I was about to explain my comment but a wise man said never to treat poetry(or any attempt of it) as a recipe.

              but the world is need of repair, I just can not stomach LCX’s pro-covid pro-EJK comments just because he wants the population reduced.


              Entropy- From Chaos comes order.
              Sundry- Variety is a spice of life and the world strives from adversity through diversity.

              We can find Entropy and sundry in a restaurant when we order food and we look at the sundry of choices in the menu.

  9. i7sharp says:

    I received my print copy of the New Yorker just now.
    Brave New World Dept.
    August 9, 2021 Issue
    The Seas Are Rising. Could Oysters Help?

    How a landscape architect is enlisting nature to defend our coastal cities against climate change—and doing it on the cheap.

    • i7sharp says:

      I looked for a mention of “dolomite” in the article but did not find any.
      After coming across “oysters” many times, “mangrove” came to mind.
      It is mentioned only once:
      A great deal of Orff’s work addresses the inescapable fact that the Atlantic Ocean is rising, and coming for the land. She’s the founder of the design firm SCAPE, the director of the Urban Design Program at Columbia University, and the first landscape architect to win a MacArthur “genius” grant. She’s also at the forefront of an emerging approach to climate resilience that argues we should be building with nature, not just in nature. Its guiding principle is that “gray infrastructure”—the dikes, dams, and seawalls that modern societies use to contain and control water—is often insufficient, and sometimes destructive. Green infrastructure, by contrast, involves strategically deploying wetlands, dunes, mangrove forests, and reefs to reduce threats of catastrophic flooding and coastal erosion, while also revitalizing the land. This carefully designed “second nature,” the thinking goes, could be our second chance.

      On the other hand, …

      “The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in partnership with the Manila City government, is bringing the historic nilad mangrove trees back in Manila Bay through a project in support of its rehabilitation.”


  10. Karl Garcia says:

    I took a look at the beach for the very first time, a few weeks hence then I took a selfie. I fyou forget all the corruption for a while and just breathe, it will be refeshing.

    • JoeAm says:

      Yes, I suppose the bigger problem is the garbage in the Bay. It defeats the purpose. Plus erosion. The waves never stop. Never will.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        The circular economy is garbage going back to the shores after every storm. The closed landfills leaks everytime there is a downpoar, heck even the operating ones with maintainance leak. Meaning even unintentionally we are polluting the oceans add deliberate pollution then it is a never ending disaster.

        • I don’t get it are comments back up, Joe, or are we still not allowed to comment, becuz i’d like to defend my 13% of population and the 50-60% of violent crimes statement on the previous posting, cuz I did say annually it varies meaning year by year, but the window is indeed within 50-60%, there were 56 or 58% indicated for murder and robberies in other years per the FBI records spanning to the 90s, Joe.

          Which having gone thru the statistics, I did have a question for NH, cuz they break down Hispanics separately from other ethnic groups, so I’m inter preting it as Whites in the first tables are actually with Hispanics, cuz then Hispanics is treated separately just to the far right of the table for the most current statistics (but in other years too).

          So question for NH is if 60-70% (eye balling here) of other crimes are indicated for Whites, but later on a separate category for Hispanics another 100% break down wherein 80% is “non-Hispanic”, the assumption has to be the previous White category 20% (to the far left) of that is Hispanic no? here,

          so whatever the numbers the blacks numbers is still very disproportionate given the percentage of population, no?

          Joe, to be on the safe side i’ll just ask that question and I hope NH can clarify, but I really wanna defend what I said about 50-60% and can copy paste all the numbers from FBI statistics since back in the 90s til now. But if you don’t want me to , that’s fine too. but I don’t post bad info, all my info is well researched, we can quibble on interpretations, but when it comes to hard facts, I’m

          consistent, so please allow me to defend. again, if no that’s fine too.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Lcx, I looked for older posts with open comments section and tried to comment on them, so here we are.
            There is another way to reach NH and we did it before via twitter direct messaging for long stuff, you can include me if you want.

          • JoeAm says:

            I’ve not blocked comments across the blog, just on recent articles. I have no interest in moderating nonsense or topics of no real bearing on the Philippines. Crime rates in the US are not relevant to the Philippines. If you say they are, I’ll ban comments from that article or maybe the whole blog. We are so far off the track, the train is making like the Titanic.

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