Sunday, April 7, 2013

People behind famous street names

We use to pass by these streets on our way to work or school and back home, but do you know the stories behind these famous Philippine street names?

Check out this list of the people whose works and contributions to the country served as a tool for honoring and naming after them these streets.


Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA), formerly named Highway 54, is a stretch of some 54-kilometer street formed as a major part of the circumferential roads in Metro Manila.

In 1940, when EDSA was contructed, it was first named as North and South Circumferential Road. At the end of the World War II, Americans changed the name to Highway 54.

Epifanio delos Santos, a.k.a. "Don Panyong," was a lawyer, journalist, historian, philosopher, bibliophile, biographer, painter, poet, musician, literary critic, antique collector, and librarian. He was appointed director of the Philippine Library and Museum in 1925.

Juan Francisco Sumulong, a Rizal lawmaker and a law school classmate of Epifanio, campaigned for renaming Highway 54 to EDSA after Epifanio's death on April 18, 1928. Americans however wanted to call it McArthur Highway (after American general Douglas MacArthur), late President Ramon Magsaysay's supporters wanted it named after him, while Rizal loyalists fought for 19 de Junio, the national hero's birthday.

With the support of several associations, EDSA won. The highway was renamed by virtue of Republic Act 2140.

Ortigas Avenue

Ortigas Avenue was formerly named Hacienda de Mandeloyon, a 4,000-hectare land which belonged to the Augustinian friars during the Spanish colonial period.

It was then sold to Filipino lawyer Francisco Ortigas, a.k.a. "Don Paco," and other associates, including former President Manuel L. Quezon.

The land was then turned over to Ortigas & Company, spearheaded by Francisco Ortigas Jr. who turned the wasteland of wild grass into an avenue of high-rise buildings, malls, and business establishments.

Tomas Morato Avenue

A haven of restaurants, bars, clubs, specialty stores, and artsy hangouts, Tomas Morato was named after Tomas Eduardo Bernabeu Morato, the first mayor of Quezon City. He was Spanish-born, however, by virtue of the Treaty of Paris which granted Filipino citizenship to Spaniards who had decided to stay in the country, Morato became a Filipino citizen.

Morato was close to President Manuel L. Quezon. They helped each other during difficult times, and even courted girls together.

Aside from Tomas Morato Avenue, other places which were named after him are a barangay and a street in Calauag, Quezon and a road in San Francisco del Monte in Quezon City.

Aurora Boulevard

One of the major roads in Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City, Aurora Boulevard was named after Aurora Aragon Quezon, the wife of President Manuel L. Quezon.

Often called "Doña Aurora," she was a fierce advocate of woman's suffrage (right to vote) in the country, and was the first chairperson of the Philippine National Red Cross. She was known for her involvement with humanitarian activities.

After President Quezon died, Aurora and her daughter moved to California in the United States. On their way back to Baler for the inauguration of the Quezon Memorial Hospital on April 28, 1949, they were both assassinated by a group of armed men. Ten other members of the Quezon party and ten of the assailants were killed.

Formerly called the Manila Provincial Road, the street was renamed to Aurora Boulevard in her honor in 1951. The same year, then President Elpidio Quirino created the Aurora sub-province, comprising Baler and surrounding areas in the adjacent Quezon Province. Later on in 1978, Aurora became a separate province.

Mendiola Street

Mendiola Street was named after educator and textbook author Enrique Mendiola. He was born May 3, 1859 in San Miguel, Manila.

Mendiola is the founder of La Invencion de la Santa Cruz School which was considered one of the best Filipino-supervised schools during the post-Spanish colonial period.

Mendiola was also one of the first Filipinos appointed to the Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines.

Mendiola street crosses the Mendiola Bridge, officially known as Chino Roces Bridge, and is the site of many schools, colleges, and universities that form the University Belt.

Several violent confrontations between protesters and government troops occurred here, including the Battle of Malacañang in 1970 and the bloody Mendiola Massacre in 1987.

Other notable eponymous streets

  • Boni Avenue (Mandaluyong City) - named after Bonifacio Javier, a Filipino World War II guerilla leader and was the mayor of Mandaluyong from 1946 to 1955 and 1960 to 1962.
  • Blumentritt Street (Santa Cruz and Sampaloc in Manila) - named after Ferdinand Blumentritt, a Czech professor and author, and a close friend of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal.
  • Chino Roces Avenue (Makati City) - formerly named as Pasong Tamo, the street was named after Chino Roces, the founder of the Manila Times (the oldest existing English language newspaper in the country) and Associated Broadcasting Company, which among its assets is broadcast television network TV5.
  • H.V. dela Costa Street (Makati City) - named after Horacio dela Costa, the first Filipino Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines. He is a recognized writer and historian and authored a number of books particularly on Philippine history and culture.
  • P. Tuazon Boulevard (Quezon City) - named after former Supreme Court of the Philippines justice Pedro Tuazon.
  • T. M. Kalaw Street (Ermita, Manila) - named after Teodoro M. Kalaw, a historian and scholar who studied Jose Rizal's life and writings. The street was formerly called San Luis Street.

Facebook Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus