Saturday, April 10, 2010

South West Manila - Coastal Road, Bacoor, Novoleta, Cavite City, Rosario

Since I got here I have been wondering about the Coastal Road that goes from Manila to the South West Part of Luzon. I just like driving through coastal towns - something about sea air and open road just refreshes me. I have explored many parts of the world's coastal towns - they usually have rich history and interesting character.

Anyway, no one I know said much about it. Someone told me, there was some rough neigbourhoods. Others told me the traffic is bad and the roads are narrows. So given its a long holliday weekend, I decided to brave it and burn some gas.

The first part is pretty much a big highway. On one side is actually mostly sandy wetlands. Long time ago, there must have been thriving fishing activities. Whatever sea economic left are fish and salt farms. On the other side of the road it looks like any average urban neighbourhood in Manila with lots of billboards, narrow neighbourhood streets. There is a lot of roadwork being done. After the first big town Bacoor, then you noticed something - the roads are narrower especially if you turn towards the towns of Cavite City, Noveleta, Rosario.

One of the thing that struck me was, while you don't see a lot of wealth and economic activities and there are pockets of slums and huts along the many small river banks, pretty much most of the roads are clean, well-paved, well-lit, the houses are pretty and well-maintained (some even quite interesting with Spanish influence. Some parts is even quite charming with lots of 'beach colors' like GREEN(lots of green for some reason), ocean blue, red, yellow. There is a lot of tricycle like many small towns in Philippines and the colourful buses (its not jeepney!) that clog the roads, people look seemingly healthy, well-dressed, comfortable. I stopped by a few places to get refreshment and even walked the narrow neigbourhood streets and wet markets. The houses were VERY CLEAN and well-maintained. It looked like a new village or big politician kampung in Malaysia but more colourful and more interesting architecture close to the Carribean.

This is Cavite City town center

If you look at look at the background below, you will notice how nice the houses are although the streets are very narrow.

Young Pinay Muses from Town Fiesta

This is landmark building with old Spanish influence.

The First Center of Power

These are actually minibuses but they are not so mini and like Jeepneys and tricycles, they tend to block the roads..

bus- jeepney hybrid 4

What I could not figured out was what the people did for a living. There were good number of fish farms, some small resort hotels and a few up and coming big development and resorts but it does not explain what the very sigificant population do for a living. There are no big factories, no bpo activities, not much agriculture or offices - yet there are quite a few banks, a number of new malls, the many tricycles and buses are quite packed with people with shopping bags must be doing something to afford it. The houses really are pretty and well-maintained - many with a few new big cars too. There were skin care clinics, internet cafes, fast-food places and malls of course.

One thing I learned was that there is a big project called Sangley Point - its a former US Naval base and now a Philippine Naval Base that will be turned into a logistic hub port, airport, rail - a kind of Tanjung Pelepas but more integrated and with tourism added. It explains why there is a number of big infrastructure project including huge reclamation and highways being built. .Its a great idea. I would love to come by on weekends just to have a picnic, take some seafood, take in the sea air especially with the heat we are experiencing. (If you are thinking Jersey Shores, that is about right) The wind is really good for some great sailing. Someone should look into a Sangley Point Regatta at some point.

There are suppose to be some crispy chips made from mussels called Tahong Chips and one pickled in corn oil but I could not find them. Also supposedly a very famous pao place that everyone stops to get. Next time..

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