What more can be said about the growth and development of Makati? Many would automatically associate those attributes to the city’s Central Business District, the area that has defined not only the modern Makati but also the metropolis as a whole.
But it would be a mistake to attribute those things to the Makati CBD alone. Pretty much overlooked in this story is the role played by the industrial area on the southern part of the city, the area known as Pasong Tamo Extension in the city’s Barangay Magallanes, now known as part of Chino Roces Avenue.
Come to think of it, it is interesting to say the least to find an industrial area right next to a posh residential village next door that is Dasmariñas Village. Then again, the area has strategic value as it is located very close to the metropolis’ two major thoroughfares: EDSA and Osmeña Highway/South Luzon Expressway. Plus, it was away from the developing CBD area, away from the growing activity that would have negatively affected the neighborhood. The presence of the residential village also helped served as a buffer that the area did not become overdeveloped.
With these factors at play, various industries like automotive and pharmaceutical companies took advantage of it and established themselves in the area beginning in the 1960s. Some of them built warehouses were built along the stretch of Pasong Tamo Extension.
The changing scene in the global economy from the late 1990s meant changes in the scene along Pasong Tamo Extension which by then also got a change of its own when it was renamed after the publisher of Manila Times who was a champion of freedom and democracy during the Marcos years. A number of the companies in the area have decided by then to downscale their operations, if not close for good, as they moved to other industries or outsourced some of the work elsewhere to maximize revenues. As such, some of the big warehouses found themselves abandoned as some buildings became empty as well.
There were some who stayed and managed to thrive in this new environment. Companies like Mantrade, (perhaps the most popular firm based in Pasong Tamo Extension) Glaxo Smith-Kline, Mead Johnson, and Directories Philippines Corporation are some of the longtime companies headquartered in the area that still have a presence there to this day.
In recent years, the area found itself in the midst of a rebirth of sorts as new companies, some them belonging to the creatives industry like art studios and advertising agencies, decided to make the neighborhood their base of operations. A number of the buildings and warehouses that were abandoned found new purpose as instead of building new edifices, a number of these companies decided to adaptively reuse them.
At the same time, some new structures were built which reflected the changing nature of this old industrial area, taking advantage of the huge area they occupy to create new spaces in the neighborhood.
Despite these changes, Pasong Tamo Extension remains a quiet commercial and business area in this part of Makati, relatively free from the congestion the Central Business District is currently facing. It is this character that has made it free to evolve over the years as it has managed to successfully adapt with the changing times. Here’s hoping that this character will not be lost as the area continues to evolve to give more character to a city struggling with the problems of urbanism.