Valenzuela and its Stone Arch

At the beginning of the 2oth century, the Metro Manila city of Valenzuela was known before as the rural town of Bulacan called Polo. South of Polo was a bustling fishing town called Malabon, one of the many towns that comprised the then-newly established Province of Rizal.

To demarcate the boundary between the two provinces, the American colonial government built in 1910 a stone arch along what was then the main thoroughfare to Northern Luzon. It was no grand structure or anything but it served its purpose. Locally it became known by the name which is how “stone arch” is known in Tagalog: Arkong Bato.

old photo of Arkong Bato (courtesy of the Valenzuela city website)

The thoroughfare, which became known as M.H. Del Pilar Street no longer served as the northern main thoroughfare when a wider thoroughfare now known as MacArthur Highway was constructed, though it still served as an important link between the two towns, and the two provinces as well in general.

Arkong Bato view from the Valenzuela side (from Wikimedia Commons uploaded by the Urban Roamer)

Then in 1975, Valenzuela and Malabon found themselves separated from their former home provinces to become part of a new entity called Metro Manila. Thus, Arkong Bato’s significance as a welcome arch between two provinces was lost, though it still served to mark the boundary of Valenzuela and Malabon which were converted to cities in recent years.

from Wikimedia Commons (uploaded by the Urban Roamer)

Its continued presence has made it become an endeared landmark, particularly among the people of Valenzuela. So much so that a barangay in this city where the landmark is located has been given the same name in “honor” of this stone arch that has managed to survive more than a century.

Arkong Bato view from the Malabon side (from Wikimedia Commons uploaded by the Urban Roamer)


You can know a bit more about Arkong Bato and where it’s located at the Philippine Heritage Map by clicking here.

acknowledgements as well to the official website of Valenzuela City

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