Mega Manila: Building New Connections and Expanding Access on Opportunities

If you grew in Manila, you may feel sick of how complex a city life. is. Full of pollution, people are hustling here and there, and no place to relax and appreciate the beauty of the nature. Streetlights, high-rise buildings and car horns from left to right are the things that makes Manila so stressful and sickening.  But for people from the province, Manila is a city of hope and opportunities. Higher pay and more job opportunities to choose from are what provincial natives think of Manila. However, these opportunities may cost them a fortune especially for those in the low-income class who is ready to risk and gamble everything they have in the province for a better financial situation. Indeed, resiliency and risk-taking are the two admirable traits of the Filipinos but this should not happen if everyone has access to job opportunities. Jobs and businesses should not just be centralized in metropolitan areas. With this, urbanization became a solution for this problem. Currently, Metro Manila as a business area was improved and became more developed to connect with the nearby areas. Greater Manila became possible because of recognizing the n. eds of better opportunity access for provincial natives. However, the development is not yet enough. Government authorities acknowledges the need for better urban planning to provide an equitable access on opportunities for every Filipino. As a result, Mega Manila is being studied as a new urban planning concept. Knowing the details of this project might lead you to realize the potential opportunities that you may grab. With this, let us know more about the detailed information regarding Mega Manila and how it will benefit the nearby provincial areas and its natives.

What is Mega Manila?

                The term “Mega Manila” is mostly used by the press, advertising, television and radio industry as a collective term to refer to the regions namely CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and Metro Manila. The collective term emerged to represent the areas that the radio signals could reach. Although, in the business and development sector, it comprises of different areas.

In the late 1990s, Mega Manila became a concept for urban expansion of Metro Manila. The concept aims to develop the areas within the 50-kilometer radius of Manila. Needless to say, the areas covered by this 50-kilometer radius are Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite and Batangas.

Since the urbanization plan is considerably sustainable, developers and planners are studying the expansion of this concept to other areas in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog region to form a redefined concept which will be called as Super Mega Manila. By including these regions, it will comprise all areas within the 100-kilometer radius of Manila instead of 50 kilometers. However, the focus of the government and its partners is to realize the 1990’s concept of Mega Manila.

The Problems of Metro Manila

                In a 30-year period starting from 1980 to 2010, the population of Metro Manila doubled from 5.9 to 11.8 million. Additionally, motor vehicle owners and users grew 4.3 times resulting to nearly 2 million motorists. The number of public buses quadrupled as well resulting to 14,200 units currently being operated. Despite the large growth in population and transportation vehicle usage, roads only grew by 1.5 times. With this, Filipinos from Metro Manila have to suffer daily whenever they move around the city for work or other daily activities. Aside from this, the housing problems that arose through the rapid growth in population is not being addressed. Currently, too much focus is given to road developments in the infrastructure programs of the government. As a result, a lot of households live in hazards areas or continue to be an informal settler because of the lack of housing alternatives in Metro Manila.

                The constant increase of Metro Manila’s population is inevitable. In fact, this is the main problem and arguably one the causes of other problems in the region. As population continues to increase in a rapid manner, the road problems and rapid growth of motorists continues. These developed into severe problems such as traffic congestion and pollution. Hence, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) recognizes these problems but these cannot be resolved by focusing on Metro Manila. To resolve these issues, in partnership with Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), it developed a roadmap for infrastructure development for Metro Manila and its surrounding areas which is known collectively as Mega Manila. This plan was established as an acknowledgement that problems can no longer be solved within the region. Thus, a departure from the monocentric view about Metro Manila as the business center of the country should be done and replaced with a polycentric plan like what NEDA and JICA had established in 2014.

The Development Plan by NEDA and JICA

 The shift from monocentric to polycentric business area is the main goal of the partnership of Philippines and Japan. The partner country aims to provide technical assistance to our government to implement an integrated and long-term plan for transport and infrastructure for a sustainable mega city in our country. By 2030, it is projected that Metro Manila and the nearby regions such as Central Luzon and CALABARZON provinces will reach 30 million inhabitants. This makes it one of the largest cities in Asia along with Tokyo, Jakarta, Seoul, Shanghai and Karachi. Thus, it needs for a sustainable development plan in order to make the country’s first mega city livable and prevent the collapse that might happen from the current problems it faces. With this, NEDA and JICA call this as “Dream Plan” which will focus on three regions namely National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON. To make Dream Plan more achievable, here are the objectives needed to be accomplished by NEDA and JICA in fulfillment of their plan.

  • Eliminate traffic congestion
  • Prevent household living in hazardous areas
  • Remove barriers to mobility
  • Low transportation costs
  • Eliminate air pollution

Currently, business centers and urbanization can be found in Metro Manila. Hence, investors focus on building their corporations in the area so people have no choice but to migrate from the province to the city. The core of Dream Plan is to eliminate this inevitable migration of provincial natives in search for opportunities whether for education or career. Thus, its goal is to make a mega city that is polycentric which will comprise of urban, regional, and sub-regional centers connected with expressways and commuter rails. Thus, missing transportation links will be built and current transportation system will be expanded and densified. Along with this, a more sustainable transport system will be introduced specifically electronically-operated vehicles which will help in reducing the pollution experienced by the masses at the moment. Overall, modernization and reorganization will happen within Metro Manila and its nearby regions to equitably distribute the population and the opportunities each Filipino deserves. This will benefit in different ways whether socially, financially, or in the environmental aspect of the Philippines.

The Current Build, Build, Build (BBB) Project

                Similar to the development plan of NEDA and JICA in the past years, the previous administration of former President Duterte focused on building infrastructures particularly transportation links such as rail systems, expressways, and bridges. Its aim is to encourage economic growth and reduce congestion in Metro Manila. The project initiated by the past administration was backed by its partners such as Asian Development Bank (ADB) and JICA. As BBB is implemented, top officials are applauding the efforts of the administration and its partners. Thus, the implementation marked the start of the “Golden Age of Infrastructure” to our country as it expects to boost growth whenever each project reaches its full development.

The ongoing and completed projects are mostly related to transportation like railway system extensions and expressways to ease travels on different parts of the country. This project by the former administration supports the Dream Plan by NEDA and JICA. As of the publishing date of this article, here are some of the projects which support the sustainable development plan of Metro Manila, and its nearby regions:

  1. Completed Projects
  2. LRT Line 2 East Extension
  3. MRT Line 3 Rehabilitation
  4. Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX)
  5. Central Luzon Link Expressway
  6. Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3
  7. SLEX Elevated Extension
  8. NLEX Harbor Link
  9. Plaridel Bypass Road
  10. Subic Freeport Expressway
  11. Binondo–Intramuros Bridge
  12. New Estrella–Pantaleon Bridge
  13. Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Center Link Road
  14. Laguna Lake Highway
  15. Lawton Avenue Expansion
  16. New Clark City Phase 1
  17. In-Progress Projects
  18. LRT Line 1 South Extension
  19. MRT Line 7
  20. MRT Line 7
  21. North Triangle Common Station
  22. PNR North–South Commuter Railway
  23. EDSA Busway Concourse Project
  24. Taguig Integrated Terminal Exchange
  25. Pasig River Expressway
  26. Cavite–Laguna Expressway
  27. C-5 Southlink Expressway
  28. North Luzon East Expressway
  29. NLEX–SLEX Connector Road
  30. Southeast Metro Manila Expressway
  31. SLEX Toll Road 4
  32. Mindanao Avenue Extension
  33. Approved Projects
  34. SLEX Toll Road 5
  35. Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway

Real Estate and Business Development in the Nearby Regions of Metro Manila

                Most of the affordable house and lots or condominiums are situated in the nearby provinces of Metro Manila. Although not directly located near the central business districts of Metro Manila, the transportation links make access to opportunities possible for the provincial natives. The ongoing projects for the development of mega city benefits potential investors and eliminate congestion in Metro Manila. Thus, it becomes an ideal investment for the working population to purchases houses in the nearby areas like Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Pampanga and many more. In fact, Bria Homes is one of the real estate developers that started to build affordable real estate properties for potential homeowners in these provinces You may view its offerings through this link and you may contact them through their Facebook page. It offers convenience to potential buyers through an option of 360 virtual tours, so they do not have to visit the area until they have decided to purchase the property.  What makes Bria standout from its competitors is its pricing yet high quality houses. It also makes sure the safety and comfort of the homeowners by providing a security in the subdivision and the establishment of a community center called Sentro. There are also amenities to enjoy in Bria Condo like swimming, stargazing, and many more.  

Aside from real estate, Villar Group, the owner of Bria Homes, is developing a 2,000-hectare business district in the southern part of Mega Manila. It envisions to be a business area bigger than Makati. It is said to be accessible through the new light rail transit line and Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway. The business district by Villar is situated in the center of 11 cities such as Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, San Pedro in Laguna, Bacoor, Imus, and Dasmariñas of Cavite. The ongoing and completed infrastructure projects favors the provinces near Metro Manila thus making a purchase of real estate on these areas feasible in the long run because it will give a better shelter for your family at a low cost but with access to opportunities of central business districts which are helpful in building a sustainable career for a lifetime.

Urbanization of Nearby Regions: Calls for Redevelopment of Old Manila

                Being the core and the heart of the metropolis, it needs to sustain its glory as the center of growth of the mega city. As developers and urban planners focus to eliminate the congestion in Manila by developing the nearby areas, it forgets to provide and propose a redevelopment plan on the core. Despite the development plans outside the core of the mega city, there are urban areas in Metro Manila decaying or have not realized its maximum purpose. This may be referred as urban decay because of the monocentric view on the growth of urban areas. Truly, the congestion of Metro Manila cannot be solved within the region, but redevelopment must happen for the decaying parts of Metro Manila as it may not have fully realized its purpose. With this, every outward development must be complemented with inward redevelopment to enable a more sustainable mega city in which the core is maintained and revamped accordingly to open new opportunities which will be beneficial for overall growth of Filipino’s living standards and the country itself. In short, redevelopment must happen for maintenance and improvement along with the implementation of new urbanization plans.