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Monday, November 15, 2010

Pasay City

                  Pasay City... the place where I was born. The place where according to legends was home to Paz and his boyfriend Jose. They were very much in love with each other and were intent on a life together but  their love was forbidden. Jose's father was a mere tenant of the hacienda of Paz's father and Jose was ordered to stay away from Paz. Unable to bear her misfortune. Paz died. Brokenhearted Jose just watched the funeral from a distance while the elite came to mourn and pray. As soon as everyone left, Jose dug a tunnel into the earth to be with Paz. Once joined, he let out a sharp and anguished cry "Paz-ay!" In sorrow and regret, the parents of Paz named their hacienda Paz-ay. In time, the town came to be known simply as Pasay.

                 From the Historians side, the name of the city is said to have originated from a thick exotic and aromatic plant called pasaw grew profusely v\back then.  It was said that a Spanish botanist, Antonio Pineda, frequented a place called Basal in the vicinity of to San Rafael to gather pasaw.

                Pasay may also have come from the name of an ethnic group called pasai in Malaysia. They said that Pasay was named after a princess of the Namayan Kingdom, Dayang-dayang Pasay. The Namayan Kingdom was a confederation of barangays that peak in 1175 and extended from Manila Bay to Laguna de Bay. Dayang-dayang Pasay inherited the lands comprising the territories of Culi-culi ( Pio del Pilar), Pasay and Baclaran. The royal capital was bulit in Sapa now know as Santa Ana.  Trading flourished during the 12th to the 14th centuries and the merchants brought their products to the capital of Namayan. Mecrchants from China, Borneo, India, Moluccas, Java, Borneo, Sumatra, Siam and Cambodia came to trade with the natives.

               Others also said  that Pasay's name may also have originated from the Spanish Paso hay meaning there is a pass referring to the paths cleared among the grass leading to the southern portions from Manila.                       
              It is also very interesting to know that  Pasay City or Lungsod ng Pasay is one of the cities and municipalities that make up Metro Manila. The Pasay City I knew and grew up with was a clean and is bordered on the north by the country's capital, Manila, to the northeast by Makati City, to the east by Taguig City, and Parañaque City to the south. Pasay City was one of the original four cities of Metro Manila. Due to its proximity to Manila, it quickly became an urban town during the American Period. Pasay was originally a barrio of maasim (Masama). Separation was granted on December 2, 1863 and became a city on June 21, 1947 with a population of 88,000 and was renamed Rizal City, after Jose Rizal, the country's national hero. In 1949, it was renamed back to Pasay. 
  
             The Pasay I knew was once a clean and safe city. My ancestors, the first Spanish Santillan settlers made Pasay their hometown and had come to love the place. I myself had witnessed the simplicity and beauty of Pasay in its purest and cleanest state. My siblings and myself would play in the field just few meters away from our house. It  lushed with greeneries, vegetables, fruit bearing trees and plants and a clean and bountiful creek called Tripa de Gallena. My brothers would fly their kites, or we play all sorts of Filipino games (Larong Pinoy like patintero, luksong tinik, hide and seek) with our neighbors and playmates. The creek abounds with fresh water fish and swamp cabbage(kangkong). I still remember it vividly when the creek died. It was 1970's when the squatters invade the creek and an overnight community was built. We woke up with 20 houses built on the creek and it continued day after day. In less than a year the creek died and emitted a very foul smell from all the waste and dirt dumped in the creek. Then we were forced to move and leave my once beautiful town for health and safety safety reasons.
              
              Whew, Pasay's legends is really rich and really speaks of the Pasay I knew. But what happened then? Despite the modern buildings, known landmarks in Pasay, and flourishing business, Pasay is still the picture of poverty, of unsanitary environment, of unscrupulous government officials and police force, of squatters, of beggars, of gangs and snatchers, of drugs and addiction, of graft and corruption. 

             Yes, all these are still kept unsolved but I'm confident that the Pasay I knew would come back to its glory. Yes, new buildings and establishments were built and squatters continue to grow. Manila International Airport was changed to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in memory of the late Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr.(the husband of the former Philippine President Corazon Aquino) who was assassinated on August 21, 1983.
            On May 21, 2006, SM Mall of Asia was opened in Bay City. Pasay City's city anniversary is every 2nd day of December.

                   Some of Pasay City Landmarks
* Blue Wave Macapagal
* Heritage Hotel
* HK Sun Plaza
* SM Mall of Asia
* Ninoy Aquino International Airport
* Members Church of God International Locale Church in Pasay
* CCP Complex
* Villamor Airbase
* Cuneta Astrodome
* Philippine International Convention Center
* Coconut Palace
* Bay City
* Newport City (Underconstruction)
* Embassy of Japan.
* Bible Baptist Church of Pasay
* Golden Treasure Baptist Academy
* Star City
* Folk Arts Theater
* Metro Manila World Trade Center
* Pasay City Market

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