City of Manila

a little sidetrip to Punta

Located along the northern bank of the Pasig River, just right next door to Mandaluyong, you can not miss finding Punta on the map. Who can miss that piece of land that’s bulging out and surrounded by the rivers of Pasig and San Juan? And if you look at the map below, Punta does have a peninsula-like appearance, which may be why the Spaniards called the place as such, after their native word for point or tip.

santa ana

As Bacood is to Santa Mesa, Punta is what you can call a sub-community of the district of Santa Ana, separated from the Santa proper by the Pasig River. Despite the presence of the bridge formerly known as Lambingan, (named so because of the lovers who used to make the PDO’s at the bridge) now renamed by Manila’s yellow-loving mayor as the “Pres. Corazon Aquino and Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Bridge” (long name I know) people still rely on good old-fashioned water transport via motorized bancas to cross either side of the river.

DSC03000
Lambingan/Cory and Ninoy Aquino Bridge

DSC03028

DSC03336
boat ride to/from Punta

And recently, another mode of transportation along the Pasig River became available in the area, thanks to the Pasig River Ferry with a station located near the formerly-named Lambingan Bridge.

DSC03001
Lambingan Station of the Pasig River Ferry

Punta has long been known as “Little Tondo” (something I didn’t know personally) not much because it resembles Tondo as far as demographics are concerned, Punta being populated mostly from the lower classes or what some would consider the urban poor. The monicker was given because of Punta’s bad reputation of having violent riots breaking out in the area especially during the 1970’s-80’s.

The violence in today’s Punta has somehow diminished (if not disappeared completely) Punta’s reputation is so bad that it’s said that even taxi drivers dare not venture in the area. Or maybe the drivers just want to avoid navigating around Punta’s narrow roads. with some parts don’t even leave room for some pedestrian traffic.

The demographics of Punta’s residents today still come mostly from the lower classes. Some may find the place to be “ghetto-like,” the conditions in the area is not as bad as some people perceive. In fact there are a number of interesting places to check out even in place called “Little Tondo.”

DSC03026
where the handsome guys hang out?

Punta prides itself as the birthplace of one of the country’s most dominant religions in the modern age, the Christian sect known as the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) It was on Punta where on July 28, 1914, Felix Manalo started the ministry with a handful of followers. The structure below is the first formal place of worship of the group built in 1937.*

INC’s first formal worhship building, now the INC Museum

 That same house has been restored recently and now serves as the museum of the Iglesia ni Cristo (which we hope to visit inside one of these days) while the ministry and religious services of the INC were relocated to a larger venue a few blocks away, bearing the trademark Gothic-style architecture many INC chapels today have. Perhaps it’s no coincidence as well that the street the museum and the chapel is situated is named after the INC founder.

the modern INC chapel in Punta

Aside from the INC, another dominant “icon” that Punta has become identified with throughout history and until today is PHIMCO or the Philippine Match Company. Founded in 1927, this Punta-based company has long been in the business of making matches, lighters, and mosquito coils, brands that have long been a part of the lives of almost every Filipino.

DSC03010
PHIMCO headquarters in Punta

Perhaps due to the demographics of the area, Punta has been a site of at least a couple of large-scale urban settlement projects handled by both government and non-government groups.One housing project in the area was put up recently by the Archdiocese of Manila, with the help of Gawad Kalinga, called the Jaime Cardinal Sin Village. Named after Manila’s longtime archbishop, the place is not an actual village of houses, but rather looks like a condominium complex of sorts, with a number of low-rise buildings built and offered for those who could not afford to have a decent home.

DSC03013

DSC03018

 Being a village named after Cardinal Sin, you cannot miss his monument greeting you at the village entrance, right in front of the church dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Ina ng Laging Saklolo)

DSC03022
Cardinal Sin monument by Abueva in front of the Ina ng Laging Saklolo Parish

Another housing project, which is the most prominent, is fact one of the first urban housing projects of the government was built in Punta, when in 1965, then Pres. Diosdado Macapagal supervised the completion of the Punta Santa Ana Tenement House, which is also the country’s first tenement housing site.

DSC03023

While at first glance and on the outside, the building still looks fine and grand with its sheer size and area, the building has actually suffered serious decay over the years, a decay so alarming that it has already been deemed condemned by the country’s Public Works department 10 years ago. But you can trust the resolve (or stubbornness) of the residents there to stick it out there despite the dangers and do what they can to find some fix to the problems in the building rather than be relocated far away from the conveniences of urban living they have been used to for so long.

A fitting metaphor to how attached many of us are to urban living and what we do so as not have that lifestyle taken away from us.

acknowledgments also to Wikimapia, Luning Ira’s “Streets of Manila”, GMA News, and Ms. Lita Javier of the INC Museum for additional data on this page.

© The Urban Roamer

16 Comments

  • Avatar

    Amelia Betty Gomez-Tolentino

    Dear Urban Roamer

    I am about to mention the late Felix Manalo who founded Inglesia ni Cristo. Based on my recollection,
    my grandmother, Crescencia Leiva Nazario( she and her sister owned a very famous embroidery business at the time catering for the socialites of Philippine Society) was one of the first followers of Iglesia ni Cristo. Felix Manalo used to be an employee of the late Dr Lamberto Leiva, a granduncle.
    Dr Leiva’s residence in Calderon St Sta Ana was used by the Japanese as one of their garrisons.Became an annex of Sta Ana Elementary School and lately leased to the public as housing. Unfortunately, Dr Leiva and his family except Telly Leiva Berba and Lourdes Leiva Meer, were beheaded by the Japanese. Lourdes Leiva Meer married Atty Alberto Meer, son of Bibiano Meer- the first Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Atty Lamberto Leiva Meer, one of the grandsons married the daughter of the former vice-president of the Philippines, Emmanuel Pelaez.

    Daniel Gomez, was a resident of Sta Ana who was a former executive in Philippine Air Lines.

    When I was growing up in Sta Ana, Lola Payang’s relatives held one of the most successfull Santa Cruzan in Sta Ana. She was one of the prominent NAZARIO’s.

    I am now a resident in Australia, former NSW public servant fee earner and still a Justice of the Peace doing community service. I am very happy to read about historic Sta Ana. It’s glory and grandeur in the olden times.

    Amelia Betty Gomez, Class of 1964 Villamor High School, Sta Ana, Manila

    • Avatar

      shirley

      hello!!
      my name shirley, i am also resident in Australia, my grandmother lola salome , born 1903, during the japanese war, 1945, the japanese invaded phils, they killed my grandfather, as well my uncle, at the time my father was only 7 yrs., my lola salome became widow , no money, she worked at PHIMCO, well known Phil. match company. she told me she her workmate is felix manalo, her salary only 1 peso per day , & banana per bunch only cents. To support her 4 kids including herself is not enough to feed them . So decided to cooked food to the employees of Atlantic gulf & pacific company.My lola always mentioned to me during peace time of commonwealth, she have lots of story to me during peace time, specially kalahi st. that’s why they called kalahi st. because majority living in kalahi st.are relatives, and if your notice the name of the street are the names of the people living in Punta, my lola salome gracefully turn down to used her name , now it called E. jorge. I am very, very proud to say i was born in Punta . My lola salome, my 3 aunties(RIP) as well my father worked so hard , all of them have their own house in Punta ( with land title ) & also they are the landlords. A lot of people used to lived in Punta are now living in overseas but still always comeback in Punta, i still have my family in kalahi st. E. jorge, and as well relatives.

    • Avatar

      shirley

      hello!!!
      my name shirley, i am also resident in Australia, my grandmother lola salome , born 1903, during the japanese war, 1945, the japanese invaded phils, they killed my grandfather, as well my uncle, at the time my father was only 7 yrs., my lola salome became widow , no money, she worked at PHIMCO, well known Phil. match company. she told me she her workmate is felix manalo, her salary only 1 peso per day , & banana per bunch only cents. To support her 4 kids including herself is not enough to feed them . So decided to cooked food to the employees of Atlantic gulf & pacific company.My lola always mentioned to me during peace time of commonwealth, she have lots of story to me during peace time, specially kalahi st. that’s why they called kalahi st. because majority living in kalahi st.are relatives, and if your notice the name of the street are the names of the people living in Punta, my lola salome gracefully turn down to used her name , now it called E. jorge. I am very, very proud to say i was born in Punta . My lola salome, my 3 aunties(RIP) as well my father worked so hard , all of them have their own house in Punta ( with land title ) & also they are the landlords. A lot of people used to lived in Punta are now living in overseas but still always comeback in Punta, i still have my family in kalahi st. E. jorge, and as well relatives.

  • Avatar

    Val

    Dear urban roamer,
    I’m a 5th year Architecture Student and I’m working on my thesis this sem, I was searching for a new relocation of Manila City Jail, would you think it could be built in Punta Sta. Ana? the one in Marcelo Steel Mill Lot at the tip of the Punta? I need you opinion. thank you! -Val

    • Avatar

      Xtian

      Oh my! We have the same thesis! Although I’m still on my 4th year…
      I was browsing the net to find out if the Marcelo steel mill is already an abandoned site, to my surprise, haha! Good luck to our endeavors….
      I am also considering this as one of my 3 sites for the relocation and improvement of the Manila City Jail for my RMA….

  • Avatar

    Gustavo

    After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked
    on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment.
    Perhaps there is an easy method you can remove me from that service?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Avatar

      urban roamer

      am not sure but check the email you’re receiving from WordPress and there should be a link that will direct you to unsubscribe or something.

      hope that helps!

  • Avatar

    Santos

    That is really fascinating, You are an excessively skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look ahead to in search of extra of your
    fantastic post. Additionally, I’ve shared your site
    in

    my social networks!

  • Avatar

    charlie

    i remembered my high school days in Punta, we lived in Dikeside, Road 6, beside Pasig River, our huge swimming pool. almost everyday, there’s a riot that sometimes i’m one of them… a lot of bad things, gamblings, drugs, frat wars, addicts, and illegal jumpers. it’s so funny that when you are late in opening of your television @ 5pm, your screen will be 7″ even if your TV is 21″ due to a shortage of power caused by illegal jumpers. but still, i’m thankful that i’m exposed in that kind of world, an eye-opener to me to push my dreams… and now, i had a good job and living in a village together with my loving family. i owe it all to our God… thanks.

  • Avatar

    Roi Marvin Reyes

    I grew up in Tenement Bldg specifically at 7th Floor. (Shout outs to tropang Lee Dynasty) (Tropang SBK) and to all my Pañero. You know who you guys are.

    Living in this place is Awesome as you can imagine! You can go out side and play while there is a typhoon, you can play hide and seek even there is no electricity, what else can you do? a LOT! At night you can go to at the ramp sit there and relax while viewing the beautiful place of Makati,

    Before I can say it is totally safe to stay outside even though its late at night because everybody knows each other and being too complacent is not an issue. (You’re at home and you’re safe) How is that sound? There is always a fight, yes, no doubt about it! Every week? hmmm almost? Frat wars, Gang wars, etc as mentioned above is true. “Masasabi mo nalang sa kausap mo, ayan may shooting na naman.. Sino bida?” hahaha Saya diba!?!

    There is a lot of lesson that I have learned in this community but in spite of those things happen in our environment people here are still happy. Time will tell those who are fighting will be friends again and yeah it happens in no time! I knew it!

    What I’ve missed a lot is the so called “Fiesta”. Parlor games for kids, and the big night for everyone who showcase their talents on stage! Bebot, Ms Gay, Dance Contest, Singing contest and more.Organizers! Yer great! Thanks for having this kind of show, we really do appreciate it!

    Basketball League is must. Ball is life! Its more like a tradition and it never skip, not just for fun for kids but for adults also. Paint of the court each and every year w/different colors, logo is effin great!

    Having this kind of experience and having friends from tenement is waaaaaaayyyy far from where I am right now. I missed Tenement, the tambays, tropa, kapitbahay etc. I surely back and visit this place again. Thats for sure!

    PROUD BATANG TENEMENT
    Marvin

    • Avatar

      bernard

      PRE nakakaiyak naman mga sinabi mo ahahah… pero for sure nothing beats the experience na lumaki tayo sa ganung environment punta tenement taught as to be a street smart… na lagi nating baon for a life time… nakaka miss lang yung magandang samahan…. batang tenement always 🙂

  • Avatar

    Bela Fleck

    I grew up in Punta during the 80s and 90s, in a house along Cristobal St., just a stone’s throw away from the Phimco compound. My cousins also lived in E. Jorge and Kalahi. Aside from the occasional neighborhood fights in our area, what I remember most were the fires that would break out periodically, alternating between Phimco, the oil refineries in Pandacan across the Pasig River, and the former Exxon chemical plant (now the Jaime Cardinal Sin Village). Due to the location of these fires, people would understandably freak out and panic.

    The current Iglesia ni Cristo temple sits on a lot that used to be part of an AG&P facility. And the current parish church inside Cardinal Sin Village used to be that tall stone chapel on Cristobal St., now converted into a convent. I remember going to mass in that chapel, with the third floor serving as the priest’s living quarters. That chapel was under construction when I was a kid, with the parish priest being Fr. Ben Jayoma, who was succeeded by Fr. Larry Abaco then by Fr. Erik Adoviso.

    I also recall childhood days spent playing at the nearby Bgy. 898 Zone 100 multipurpose hall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: