Density Is Such A Not-So-Lonely Word

 

Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio.

– Thomas Malthus

Most of us always have that love-hate relationship with Metro Manila. Inasmuch as we hate the perennial traffic, flooding, and congestion, if you happen to live in the Metro, chances are, you’ll miss them all. Metro Manila is becoming denser as years progress. As a matter of fact, it is 62 times denser than the national average (PSA, 2012). Yeah as if it’s still a surprise to anyone. In 2015, 12.8 million strong sharing the same air, land, road, water table, and that’s exclusive of the tourists, visitors, and transients visiting the big Metro. Metro Manila is almost the size of Chad, an African country. It is double the size of Denmark. While 12.8 million people is quite a story, congestion of people in the Metro is another interesting plot to see.

So, the question is where do our fellows settle most at? We’re quite sure that they don’t live on the river but along the rivers. You can go to Quiapo or Tondo and feel the dizzy sweat of your instant pals inside your personal bubble. Or sleep through the calm charm of large open spaces in UP Diliman and Katipunan. There is black, white, and a wide spectrum of gray when we speak of density of Metro Manila. I therefore thought of possibly visualizing the 2015 population of Metro Manila based on PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) but put it with a twist.

Not A Rocket Science

Hey this is not some sort of rocket science, physics, or some study of entropy. This is basically plain visualization of population. The most realistic method is to illustrate the population through dots in the map. But sure, the map will basically be a plain-filled color because 12.8 million dots will fill the map. So I represented each green dot = 100 people in every barangay.

Is that it? Not so fast. Each dot will randomly fill the barangay space, that is, if barangays have no waterways, restricted spaces, etc. But that’s not the case. So, I tapped all known large open spaces and waterways that would be impossible for people to settle at and restricted the random dot to be placed there. I think that’s quite logical enough. I would have wanted to do the opposite on the existing roads; that is, gather the random dots to nearest highways, roads, alleys, and waterways, but I think that would require me more time since we are talking more than 5,000 kilometers of road, barangay and subdivision roads not counted yet. That’s quite a lot. So I think I’m ready. Here’s the result:

mempopdensity
An illustration of population growth in Metro Manila for every decade from 1990 to 2010, and 2015.

So, did you find your community? I found mine, quite true. Check yours.

A GIF Says A Thousand Words

Perhaps a moment of glance on the gif would tell us something:

  1. City of Manila is indeed the densest extending to Caloocan City (South) – with its historical role in the development of the country, it is no surprise that Manila continues to be among the densest in the country. Historical landmarks, universities, diverse services, commerce & trade, hawker shops, tiangges, transportation hub, and squatters are among the push factors in this city.
  2. Barangays along Pasig river have the densest population – does Mesopotamia ring a bell? Ting!! But this is another kind. People in Mesopotamia directly benefit from the Tigris and Euphrates. Here in Pasig River, I am not sure. We do not want to eat or drink something that came directly from Pasig River. Perhaps because the setbacks and communities along the river were among the neglected spaces by the local government thus easily occupied by informal settlers and communities.
  3. Decade 2000s marked the steady growth of south and north Manila – When the city of Manila started to deteriorate in 1970’s to 1980’s, then incoming Generation X’ers (babies of baby boomers who loved the imperial Manila) learned that city of Manila is no longer the pearl of Philippines. They started moving out to suburbs – thus BF Homes, Ayala Alabang, Moonwalk, Merville in the south, Corinthian Gardens, San Juan Greenhills and Loyola Grand Villas in the north were among the pioneer communities wherein considered fringes during 1990s. Moving forward, the fringes extended up to the borders of Metro Manila – North Caloocan extending to Bulacan in the north, and Muntinlupa extending to Cavite in the south. You will also observe the sudden increase in Batasan area in QC; perhaps that was during Erap and GMA’s relocation programs to Montalban (Rodriguez) thus directly covering the Batasan transportation belt.
  4. We seriously lack open spaces – large open spaces which serve as breathing lungs of Metro Manila are Rizal Park in Manila, Quezon Memorial Park (which is gradually becoming built up), UP Diliman campus, Ateneo de Manila campus in Quezon City, Ayala Triangle in Makati, and the Lamesa Dam Reservoir within the boundaries of Quezon City, Caloocan, and Rodriguez Rizal. More than these large breathing spaces, we need pocket open spaces that will serve population in every accessible way.

What’s Next?

I was not able to include Marilao & San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, Rodriguez & Antipolo in Rizal, Imus & Bacoor in Cavite, and San Pedro & Santa Rosa in Laguna on the map but they’re actually the next population giants.

Whether Metro Manila subway is on its way to Philippine infra scene, or Marcoses are on their grand return come next election, or BPO is still alive in the next 10 years, population is bound to grow, though there’s a diminishing marginal rate, we still tend to enjoy the country’s young population until the next 25 years. If current planned infrastructure will continue, I think, Metro Manila will start regressing population growth due to its continuous urbanization while fringes will continue to grow. That is, I’m speaking of decades of population changes, and I think that’s not gonna happen in the nearest future.

References:

Philippine Statistics Authority. (2016, May 31). Population of the National Capital Region. Retrieved April 2017, from Philippine Statistics Authority: https://psa.gov.ph/content/population-national-capital-region-based-2015-census-population-0

Philippine Statistics Authority. (2012, April 4). The 2010 Census of Population and Housing Reveals the Philippine Population at 92.34 Million. Retrieved April 2017, from Philippine Statistics Authority: https://psa.gov.ph/content/2010-census-population-and-housing-reveals-philippine-population-9234-million

 

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1 Comment

  1. Greetings. I am a writer for National Geographic magazine, interested in asking you a few questions about density in Manila. Might you please email me so we can chat that way at first?

    Like

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