25 things you didn't know about quezon city
CITY SENSE - Paulo Alcazaren () - August 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Next week on Aug. 19, we celebrate Quezon City Day. Most people assume that the date marks when the city was founded. This is not so. The date marks Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon’s birthday. QC’s foundation day is Oct. 12.

Over two and a half million urbanites live in Quezon City today. Most of them know little of their city’s history. Picking up on the theme from The Philippine STAR’s 25th anniversary, here are 25 things you did not know about Quezon City (for more, visit the exhibit I put together called “SM & QC: Visions of a City” at The Block, SM City North starting today). I am treating this like my MMM quiz on my Facebook page. The answers are at the bottom of the article:

1. Many know that Quezon City was the former capital of the Philippines from 1948 to 1976, when the larger conurbation of Metro Manila was made the capital. Few remember, however, that the government considered 17 other cities and sites as the capital after independence. In fact, one site was the geographical center of the Philippines. What was this site?

This Arch of the Republic designed by Guillermo Tolentino was supposed to have been the gateway to Quezon City.

2. The Elliptical site of Quezon’s Memorial was not intended for the memorial since Quezon was still alive when the city was planned in 1939-1940. What was supposed to have been built on the site?

3. The Quezon Memorial is 66 meters tall. What is the significance of this number?

4. The memorial is made of three towers, with three angels at the pinnacle. What is the symbolism of the three?

5. Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) bisects what was supposed to be the Diliman Quadrangle — formed by North, South, East and West Avenues. What was the original name prewar name of the avenue (the postwar name was Highway 54, so there was an older name)?

6. What is the significance of this name?

7. Who (which prominent family) owned the original tract of land, the Diliman estate, which the government bought to make Quezon City?

8. How much did the government originally pay?

9. After the war, the government planners moved the center of the city to the elevated Novaliches area. What was the reason they did this?

10. What endemic tree grew in abundance in the area?

11. What prehistoric animal roamed the area eons ago?

12. What town did the city planners advise government to “purchase” lot stock and barrel, east of the city, to conserve its verdant and picturesque greenery and set a limit to urban growth?

What was Cubao before the Aranetas bought it and built the Big Dome?

13. Aside from the aesthetic reasons for this advice, what was the reason for disallowing dense urbanization along this edge of Quezon City?

14. Where was the first housing site of the new city?

15. What American architect helped designed the first low-cost housing units there?

16. What was Cubao before M. Araneta bought it for development?

17. What is the oldest concrete structure over two stories in that district?

18. The Ateneo was not supposed to transfer to Loyola, QC, after the war. They had purchased another lot outside Manila. Where was this?

19. Maryknoll College (Miriam) was not the original institution planned by Fr. Masterson of the Jesuits for the site. What was supposed to rise there?

20. The first maser-planned middle-class subdivision was built along Highway 54. What was it?

21. Quezon City was meant to be a city of parks. Where was the first completed park?

22. Who was the first mayor of Quezon City (other than Quezon himself, who took on the role while looking for a candidate)?

23. What was supposed to line all the creeks and canals of Quezon City?

The QC police were hip in the ’60s: They used Volkswagen Beetles!

24. When was the University of the Philippines planned and construction of the first buildings started?

25. What was supposed to be built on the site that is now occupied by SM City North?

The answers:

1. The geographical center of the Philippines was the coral-filled waters off a little-known island at the time — Boracay!

2. The capitol building of the new Republic of the Philippines (that’s why it’s that large).

3. President Quezon died at 66 years of age.

4. They stood for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao (Luzviminda).

5. The original name of EDSA was 19 de Junio.

6. It is the birthday of Rizal.

7. The Tuasons owned much of what is QC today.

8. The government paid the royal amount of five centavos per square meter.

9. The government moved the center of the city to the elevated plateau of Novaliches because it was deemed easier to defend compared to the flatlands of Diliman (threats from overseas — the Chinese/North Koreans — were on military planners’ minds).

10. What else? The balimbing

11. A kind of mammoth or elephant — that’s why legislation moves so slow at the Batasan.

12. Marikina (or Mariquina, the old spelling).

13. Planners knew as early as 1947 that the West Valley fault line ran there.

14. Kamuning – 1940.

15. Weldon Beckett (also the architect of the Jai Alai).

Where was the first social housing built in Quezon City?

16. The RCA Antennae Filed (Radio Corporation of America).

17. The twin water tanks outside Camp Aguinaldo.

18. The Ateneo originally intended to expand to Caloocan.

19. The Ateneo de Manila School of Medicine and Hospital.

20. The PhilAm Life Homes.

21. Bernardo Park opposite NepaQ Mart.

22. Tomas Morato.

23. Linear parks in a wide easement — planners, led by landscape architect Louis Croft, knew they had to conserve wide easements to allow for flooding. If authorities had followed the 1941 plan, few would have died or dislocated in the decades after.

24. 1940 with the first two buildings designed by Juan Arellano.

25. The 1946 Philippines International Exposition — a world’s fair was supposed to have been built at the site of SM City North. It was to celebrate the graduation of the country into the family of independent nations. It was supposed to have been the site also where the produce of the country and the world would be proudly displayed. Today, by coincidence, SM City North does just that. The city (QC) and the SM City’s destinies are intertwined.

* * *

The first building — Malcolm Hall-UP Law — to be erected at UP: When was this building completed?

For more fun facts and interesting pictures and maps (including images of what was supposed to be the 1946 world’s fair in QC), come to the exhibit at SM City North-The Block this Saturday, Aug. 13 at 5 p.m.

Feedback is welcome. Please e-mail the writer at paulo.alcazaren@gmail.com.

CITY CITY NORTH FIRST MDASH QUEZON QUEZON CITY SITE SUPPOSED
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