Quezon City

Welcome! Mabuhay! (AKA that Rotonda in Quezon City)

There’s something about how Metro Manila loves rotondas, never mind if many motorists don’t know how to use them properly. If the presence of a number of rotondas in the metropolis can be taken as evidence of such. Even though some of these places no longer have the physical rotondas, the presence of rotondas in those places before still live on in memory. (Take for instance the old Santa Mesa Rotonda where the old Carriedo Fountain used to stand in the middle of that rotonda)

But of all the rotondas in the metropolis, living or extinct, none perhaps would be as more renowned and well-loved of what is now a metropolitan icon as the rotonda that serves as the intersecting point of España Boulevard, E. Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon Avenue, Nicanor Ramirez St., and Mayon Avenue. The rotonda people know more as the Welcome Rotonda or Mabuhay Rotonda as it’s officially known today.

What makes this rotonda a well-known one would be this tall monolithic monument built in 1948 by architect Luciano V. Aquino that would serve as a marker for the people coming from Manila that they are now entering Quezon City, which by that year was declared as capital of the Philippines. Thus, the “Welcome” tag, a greeting of sorts for residents, visitors, and others doing their businesses to the new capital city.

The capital was eventually moved back to Manila in 1975, but the monument and its “welcome” signage stayed to greet people to the bustling city. One change that did affect the rotonda itself happened in May 1995, when the Quezon City government, in an effort to give some Filipino character to this landmark, officially renamed it to Mabuhay Rotonda. The name change was something that has been generally accepted, at least officially, though the old name is still used interchangeably with the current one.

Other than the monument, one curious sight to see in Mabuhay Rotonda would be the four lion statues that serve as guards around the monument. It’s been said that the lions represent the four directions that are North, South, East, and West.

Apart from being an occasional traffic chokepoint, the Mabuhay Rotonda also serves as a venue or converging point for protesters, especially those who would either march south to Mendiola or Liwasang Bonifacio or north towards Batasang Pambansa (where the House of Representatives convenes in its session) especially whenever the President makes his State of the Nation Address.

© The Urban Roamer

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