A Peek at Quezon City’s Beginnings

One of the newest cities in the Philippines, Quezon City is a vibrant, modern city hosting diverse business establishments, major government offices, and parks and tourist destinations. Yet this bustling city was once a vast and quiet rice field interspersed with hills and forests, looking close to something one found in nearby provinces. What “big bang” event made it into the pulsating, modern city it now is?

Not like old cities of the country rich in history, Quezon City was a sleeping giant north east of historical Manila. Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon, out to carve a niche in history for himself, sought to build a new, modern city in his name. Once an immense 160 square kilometer private estate, it was primed and groomed by Quezon in 1937 as the next capital of the Philippines. Finally in 1947 the land was named after him and became the capital city of the country until 1976.

The real estate sector developed prime lands like Sta. Mesa Heights (or La Loma), Diliman, and some parts of New Manila. Much later development was in what are now the Project Areas in Quezon City; Projects 2and 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8. Most people ask what happened to project 5? The local joke is that Projects 2 and 3 equal to 5.

When people started buying properties in the city, the business establishments followed. Quezon Avenue (a major link to Manila), having been newly opened, connected with other interior roads. These smaller road networks accessed remote areas in Quezon City for development. Soon other subdivisions sprouted and more establishments popped up. The government put up offices in Diliman. More people transferred to the Promise Land. Housing projects in Quezon City were raffled to government employees. Soon, TV networks like ABS CBN 2, GMA 7, and RPN 9 scrambled for huge slices. And soon a modern city was rising from the gravels of rice paddies, overtaking other metro cities, until it reached status as a premier city of the metropolis and the country.

Quezon City’s progress from being a farm estate to a modern city is symbolic of its people. Original city residents also have a knack for growing grand from humble beginnings. Most of them are residents of other countries and rent out their properties here. And like the big bang that birthed Quezon City—Quezon’s dream of the next capital city—city residents also start with big dreams and end up with their fulfillment.

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