Skip to main content

"Singaporing" Manila – Reversing the Reality Part 2

The Real Face of Metro Manila

This blog is the continuation of the previous post: "Singaporing" Manila – Reversing the Reality Part 1

Here are some facts and figures about Metro Manila. In 2011, the population of Metro Manila (or Kalakhang Maynila) is 11,855,975. Consisting of 16 cities and one municipality, its total land area is 638.55 sq. km. A permanent resident of Manila is called Manileño. As of 2010, Metro Manila is the 11th most populous city in the world.

Here are some of the photos taken from different areas of Metro Manila today.





































You’ve just seen how Manila looks like today. In February 2013, I wrote “Why Business will Grow in Manila?” In this post, I cited that business will grow in Manila or in the Philippines provided that these three conditions would be met.

Condition #1: Mind your own business.
Condition #2: Forget about varying political and religious point of views.
Condition #3: Save for real. Invest for real.

I wrote this article three months after my arrival in Singapore. As I explored some part of this country, it made me think that these three things (or conditions I cited) are what most people do. I was inspired and also thought that great things happening in a small country like Singapore is nevertheless also possible to happen in a city like Metro Manila. In fact, I earlier wrote “Where in the Philippines is Bonifacio Global City – the Gateway to the First World Country?” That was on September 2012. Bonifacio Global City is in Taguig, Metro Manila and I felt that it has many similarities with Singapore, only that it is only a business district and not a country. These ideas on my two previous posts are what made me recall about the story of Lee Kuan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos (and the reason as well why I wrote this blog). At this point, I would like to borrow a section of this paper entitled “Political Virtue and Economic Leadership: A Southeast Asian Paradox” written by Hilton L. Root and was published by Milken Institute on November 13, 2000. You can read the entire article if you wish to. In this paper, it says:

“Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew (1959-90) and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines (1965-86) coexisted under similar geo-political pressures and were known to share similar political and social philosophies. Yet Lee Kuan Yew established a political party that derived its credibility from a reputation for corruption-free governance, sobriety and growth while Ferdinand Marcos became famous for larceny on a grand scale, stealing the people’s foreign aid and putting it into private bank accounts and property throughout the world.”

“Reflecting upon his success in Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew often boasted that he would have been able to create immense wealth for his citizens if he had only had a larger, more resource-rich country to manage. Few believed that Singapore, an island of 214 square miles and 1.8 million inhabitants, could be a viable country after separating from Malaya in 1964. Lee himself worked tirelessly from 1959 to 1964 to keep Singapore and Malaya together, writing in his memoirs, “We had said that an independent Singapore was simply not viable.” Lee argued, “It is the hinterland that produces the rubber and tin that keep our shop-window economy going. It is the base that made Singapore the capital city. Without this economic base, Singapore would not survive. Without merger, without a reunification of our two governments and an integration of our two economies, our economic position will slowly and steadily get worse.”

“By contrast, the nearby Philippines, with a population of 26.6 million, was considered to be a much more promising developing country. The world’s second largest producer of gold, the Philippines was endowed with a relatively well-educated population, a large resource base and, by the standards of the time, a well-developed infrastructure. With a potentially large resource base to pay back loans and extremely articulate leader it became one of the largest recipients of World Bank assistance during the tenure of Ferdinand Marcos. Yet the Philippines became the sick man of Asia, while Singaporeans now enjoy the second highest per capita income in the region after Japan.”


Source: http://www.milkeninstitute.org/pdf/polvirtu.pdf

On Part 3 (and final part) of this blog post, I would share some photos of Singapore streets, parks, and other public places. I would also highlight why Metro Manila, and the Philippines as whole, can adapt a system like of Singapore today. For 2014, Philippines has a total budget of P2.265-trillion (Source: http://www.gov.ph/2013/12/20/president-aquino-oks-p2-265t-2014-national-budget/). As resident of the Philippines and a former OFW in Singapore, I would share my ideas and opinions on why such annual budget can make Philippines become Singapore, once again.


Related Post
"Singaporing" Manila – Reversing the Reality Part 1


About the Author

Noriel Panganiban is a Business Consultant and Writer. He maintains a website (www.knowriel.com) which also serves as his portfolio as a freelancer.His passion and interest in blogging are what makes him write articles related to the Philippines. ProjectPilipinas.com is about changing everything that is bad into good.

Comments

Most-Read Posts of the Month

“I Love Baguio City” - My Travel Story in the Summer Capital of the Philippines

The Strawberry Farm, Burnham Park, Mines View Park, the Mansion, Wright Park, Lourdes Grotto, and Session Road; these are among of the popular landmarks in the more commonly known “Summer Capital of the Philippines” – Baguio City. Why so? Well, the temperature here seldom exceeds 26 degree centigrade. During the cold season of December to February, the temperature falls down to even below 10 degree centigrade. The record low temperature was 6.3 degree and that was on January 18, 1961.

How to Travel to Baguio City?
Going to this cold city in the mountainous province of Benguet, Philippines is a six to seven hours travel by passenger utility bus from Manila. Starting from EDSA, traversing the NLEX, entering SCTEX, exiting the province of Tarlac and going through the neighbouring provinces of Pangasinan and La Union, and then exploring the zigzag road of either the Marcos Highway, the Kennon Road or the Naguilian Road, the coldest place in the Philippines will be reached. Baguio is about 2…

"Business as Usual" as the Filipinos Define It (Vulcanizing Shop, Sari-Sari Store, Bakery) – Part 1

I asked the shop owner about these old unused tires on what are they doing with it. The Vulcanizing shop owners says, “Oh, someone will pick up those tires and pay us 5 or 10 pesos each. Sometimes they just take it for free”.


Vulcanizing Shop - A Classic Example of Filipino Business
You’ve most probably seen and been into a local, typical vulcanizing shop like this one in the photo. The business concept is very simple. Here’s a customer with his flat or deflated tire and the vulcanizing boy will repair it using a rubber compound patch, a heating tool, and an air pump. If it’s a regular car or van tire, repairing one may only take 10 minutes the cost of which is around 30 to 60 pesos. If it’s a tire from a truck or bus, it could be around 30 minutes and the repair would cost the vehicle owner around 100 to 150 pesos.

Here’s the thing. A shop like this one could potentially earn a revenue of 1000 up to 2000 per day just by repairing a flat tire. Why? Well, with thousands of vehicles like j…

“Fixer” in Philippine Government Agencies Like the Social Security System (SSS) and Land Transportation Office (LTO) – What We Filipinos Can Do About it?

Maybe in this post, I can clearly explain how “fixing” works in many government offices in the country. The idea is first, to warn you that such illegal fixing happens, and second, to give you tips on how you should avoid them. Plain and simple, we will not in anyway damage or speak against anyone or any particular office of the government in this post. It just happened that this is about my experience with LTO and SSS Tagaytay. I want to emphasize that still many government employees in the Philippines are doing their jobs right - including those who are working in the said branches.
If you have experienced transacting with any government offices here in the Philippines, whether you're a Filipino or not, you should already be familiar with these signages.



Here’s a bit of knowledge for you to digest first.
What is “fixing” or who is a “fixer” by the way?
In the Philippines, these good words happened to have a negative connotation over the past decades. Good words? Yes, indeed. When …

The Divisoria Malls - Defining Shopping in the Philippines

They call it the 168 Mall. It is one of the busiest places in the Philippines during shopping days like Christmas season when longing for enjoyment and relaxation is on the air once again. From Cavite, my home place, going to Divisoria, it will take you about an hour travel under normal traffic flow.

What is in this place? Well, Divisoria is the Bargain Shopping Capital of the Philippines. This is where wholesale and retail prices make shoppers say “WOW!” on delight. Visiting this place will definitely give you a realization about shopping on a different dimension. Find out why on the next paragraphs.

On the Photo: The Popular 168 Mall in Divisoria, Manila, Philippines


Divisoria is located in Binondo, Manila. It is accessible via Quiapo(where the famous Black Nazarene of Quiapo Church is) thru Recto Avenue and via Lawton near Manila City Hall. Divisoria has been there since the early 90’s. As it is near the North Harbour, Manila’s main seaport, the freshest and cheapest products usuall…

“Pasalubong” – What Makes this Filipino Word Very Special?

Probably next to the beauty of a tourism spot, if it’s about the real reasons for traveling there, is our search for the best “pasalubong”. It’s the tagalog word for “gift” or “souvenir” and it can be anything from foods, toys, clothes, handicraft, furniture, soaps, wearables, or household items. It’s practically anything, big or small, cheap or expensive, edible or not. And for as long as that special item was bought somewhere else and then given to someone as an act of love and kindness – the true purpose has been served.


A simple gesture of “Salamat po” (Thank you) for sharing that pasalubong is enough to make you feel the love and kindness back. There is the best pasalubong for kids, for grandmas and grandpas, for a favorite grandson, for a close neighbor or friend, for the workmates, for the boss, for a former enemy, for a religious brother, and even for a complete stranger. Yes, indeed!

Well, “pasalubong” is actually different from a gift for birthday, wedding, or special gatherin…

Junk Collectors

Several months ago, when I was about to enter the public market near my place, I saw this old woman more or less in her early 60’s checking something on the garbage cans. That was really my first impression. I tried to observe what she’s doing for a few seconds more and I then realized she was after these empty and used plastic bottles. At first, I thought she was just looking for something she might have lost or maybe she’s looking for scrapped foods. But she’s not. The old lady looks clean and not like a scavenger. She’s just a typical person we’re seeing around. After a few moments, I approached the lady and told her,

“Nay, heto po ang konti (pera), pandagdag sa kita ninyo”.
(Auntie, here’s something (small amount), you can add to your income.)

And the old lady replied with a smile,

“Naku, salamat anak.”
(Oh, thank you son.)
Then, I proceeded with my market activity that day. From that time on, whenever I go to the market, I always hope that I will still see her, and give her a small am…

Who are These OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and Why are They the Modern Heroes of the Philippines

At the turn of the millennium, the Philippine government launches this campaign program calling the overseas Filipino workers or OFWs as “Mga Bagong Bayani ng Bayan” (Modern Heroes of the Nation). From then onwards, different organizations established programs giving awards and recognitions to selected OFWs who did a remarkable contribution or action to their family, friends, work or in general, to the country.


OFW ka ba?Bakit?Eh kasi dating mo pa lang, mayaman ka na. Boom! 
(Are you an OFW? Why? Because with just the way look, it seems that you’re rich. Boom!)

My Cousin Dado as an OFW in South Korea 

At present, OFWs around the world are estimated to be around 12 – 14 million. This is approximately 10 – 12 percent of the Philippines total population. These OFWs are distributed on many countries all over the globe majority of whom are in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Italy. Immigrant workers in the United States, Australia and Eu…

Filipinos! Here is My Free Education Advocacy that I Want You to Know

In the Philippines, we often hear this statement from the Filipinos about education:


“Hindi hadlang ang kahirapan para makatapos ng pag-aaral.” Poverty is not a hindrance to finish education.
I completely disagree! Allow me to explain my side.





Millions of Filipinos are unable to step highschool and even college because of the hardships in life we have in our country. Many are poor and therefore cannot afford the cost of education in the Philippines. If paying 5,000 to 20,000 pesos per semester in a Philippine college is already tough, then how about more the daily baon, school projects, transportation allowance, boarding house, and extra expenses?


Wake up! This is the truth. That Filipino statement with all respect, if I were you, forget it. Accept the fact that you cannot just earn your education in the Philippines because you are poor.

This is not an insult to anyone. I am from a poor family but I was able to complete a college degree despite of that. If you really want to find a solution…

How Filipinos are Loosing their True Identity

What happens to the Filipinos foods?

Haven’t you noticed, foreign foods are invading the Philippines by storm? International restaurants serving foreign cuisines are everywhere. Culinary arts, the way Filipinos look at it, is just becoming a trendy topic. Chefs, food blogger, culinary experts, food architect - goodness, are they soon to replace the simple “kusinero” and “kusinera” words that best describes our real identity as Filipinos in terms of cooking?




Globalization shapes the future of the country, particularly the food landscape. There is nothing wrong with innovation. I’d been a waiter for quite some time in a popular catering business and if its about food preparation, I’m really impressed with the way our cooks and kitchen staffs do it. Those garnishing, decorative artwork, and plating styles, they really add beauty to the foods we serve. Even an authentic Filipino food, they make a twist making it lovely and attractive to the hungry eyes.

Those terms like “buffet”, “a la ca…

Sidewalk Vendors

You’ll often see them. You’ll buy from them. But when they become part of the news, you’ll get to hate them – some of you. They are people like us who simply wants to earn a living. They have a family to feed. This is the business they call “marangal” (dignified). And we call them…
Sidewalk Vendors

Let me define what (or should I say “who”) a sidewalk vendor is.

Here in the Philippines, there is a notion that if you’re a sidewalk vendor, you mostly likely belong to the lower class of the society. For one reason, why sell on the sidewalks or streets of Metro Manila and other cities if you can sell on approved places particularly the market. For another, selling in the street on a daily basis is a risky activity – you’re prone to illnesses, effects of air pollution, dangers from vehicles passing by, and unsafe condition of your store or shop.

In a third-world country where job opportunities are scarce for people with lower educational attainment, there is no reason to doubt that poor people…