29 things about EDSA you may or may not know

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Twenty-nine years ago, we toppled the Marcos regime with a peaceful, bloodless People Power revolution. It was a four-day uprising, where people peacefully took to EDSA, offering support to the rebel leaders in the form of food, prayers, flowers, and song, reclaiming our freedom.

Strangely enough, hardly anyone knows anything about the road where our freedom was reclaimed. It is the same road that everyone plows through — and even curses — every single day. Because it is the 29th anniversary of the first EDSA Revolution, here’s EDSA in 29 points!

1. EDSA stretches for 23.8 kilometers. It is the longest and the most congested highway in the metropolis.

2. According to a July 17, 2013 article by Botchi Santos in Philippine Daily Inquirer, an average of 330,000 vehicles go through EDSA on a daily basis.

3. It is named after Epifanio de los Santos y Cristobal. “Don Panyong” was historian, jurist, artist, literary critic, and scholar born on April 7, 1871 in Malabon.

4. EDSA was only meant to be a two-lane highway. When construction started in the 1930s, under Pres. Manual L. Quezon, the boulevard was named “North-South Circumferential Road.”

5. In 1946, it was named Avenida 19 de Junio for Jose Rizal’s birthdate. In the ‘50s, EDSA was renamed Highway 54. Finally, on April 7, 1959, by virtue of Republic Act No. 2140, it was named Epifanio de los Santos Avenue or EDSA.

6. The last extensions were made in 1965. The northbound lane was extended from Balintawak to Monumento, the official name of which is Apolonio Samson Road, where the Bonifacio Monument stands. The southbound lane was extended from Magallanes to Taft Avenue and eventually to Roxas Boulevard. But, a PS: Just recently, EDSA was once again extended all the way to SM Mall of Asia.

7. The avenue passes through 6 Metro Manila cities: Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Quezon City, and Caloocan.


That’s EDSa in the ’90s, with Megamall in the background. Photo: Christian_123/Skyscrapercity.com

8. There are 13 malls along the 23.8 kilometer stretch: SM North EDSA, Trinoma, Eton Centris/Centris Walk, Araneta Center/Farmer’s Plaza, Robinsons Galleria, SM Megamall, Starmall, Shangri-la Plaza, Robinsons Forum, Glorietta, Alphaland Southgate Mall, Metropoint Mall, and finally, SM Mall of Asia.

9. In the 1960s, the first A&W Rootbeer restaurant in the Philippines could be found on EDSA. The drive-in restaurant, owned by the Guthertz family, had waitresses in roller skates, wheeling around to serve those beautiful rootbeer floats. It is now where Farmer’s Mall stands. 

10. In 2011, Cong. Rene Lopez Relampagos of Bohol filed House Bill No. 5422 in the House of Representatives. It proposed that EDSA be renamed Corazon Aquino Avenue. It actually had a first reading in November 2011.


11. EDSA was featured in the Hollywood movie Bourne Legacy. During the intense action chase scene, the protagonist Jeremy Renner, makes his way along the stretch between Magallanes and Taft.

12. Another international film that featured EDSA? The British movie Metro Manila. It was directed by Sean Ellis and produced by Celine Lopez — yes socialite Celine Lopez. If we remember correctly, we espied EDSA-Guadalupe and EDSA-Kamuning in the depressing movie that, by the way, won distinctions at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival (Audience Choice Award, World Cinema-Dramatic category) and the 16th Moet British Independent Film Awards (Best British Independent Film of the Year). It was also the United Kingdom’s entry for Best Foreign Film at the 86th Academy Awards (Oscars).

13. From EDSA, Intramuros is accessible via the Guadalupe station of the Pasig River Ferry.

14. The EDSA Shrine, designed by Franciso Mañosa, was built in 1989 on the corner of Ortigas Avenue. The image of Our Lady of Peace was sculpted by Virginia Ty-Navarro.

15. When you turn into P. Tuazon Boulevard on EDSA northbound, you will find the “Bahay na Puti” or The White House. It is the ancestral house of the Aranetas designed by J. Amado and built in 1956. The land used to be owned by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA).


Araneta Coliseum in the ’60s. Photo: WayKurat/Wikipedia

16. The Araneta Coliseum, found in the Cubao area of EDSA, is the country’s first huge coliseum. This is where the legendary Thrilla in Manila match, between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier was held. Later on, institutions like the Farmer’s Market, Matzuzakaya (a Japanese department store), and Matzuzaka House (a Japanese restaurant) were erected here.

17. The Liberal Party’s headquarters is located at the Expo Centro Building, also in the Araneta Center complex.

18. Club Dredd, a Pinoy rock institution, moved to 19 kilometer EDSA in January 1994. It is here where the resurgence of Pinoy rock in the ‘90s took place. Bands like The Eraserheads, The Teeth, Put3Ska, Sugar Hiccup, and Parokya ni Edgar skyrocketed to nationwide prominence. Alas, it finally closed in 1998. The same structure is now home to the Gold Cup Shooters Club.


19. Pupil’s video for “20/20” was shot in several parts of EDSA. The catch? It was completely carless! It was shot during Holy Week in 2011, with the production team enlisting the help of the MMDA to control the relatively light traffic on the usually busy thoroughfare.

20. Camp Murphy was established on January 11, 1935. It was the precursor of today’s Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame, named after the first American high commissioner, Frank Murphy. It consisted of 178.78 hectares.

21. In 1965, Camp Murphy was divided into two: Camp Aguinaldo, after the first president of the Philippines, Emilio Aguinaldo; and Camp Crame, after the first Filipino Chief of the Philippine Constabulary, Brigadier General Rafael Cramé. Camp Aguinaldo is the military headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) while Camp Crame, the former national headquarters of the Philippine Constabulary, is currently the national headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

22. According to Panahon.tv, four of Metro Manila’s areas that are most prone to heavy flooding are on EDSA-Taft Avenue, EDSA-Camp Aguinaldo Gate 3, EDSA-Megamall, and EDSA-North Avenue. 

23. Under the MMDA Bus Segregation System, there are three types of buses that ply along EDSA, between Magallanes and Kamuning. Bus A, which are coded Red, stops at Ermin Garcia, Arayat Cubao, VV Soliven, Connecticut, Shaw Starmall, Guadalupe, Buendia Avenue and Mantrade for its southbound route; and Magallanes, Buendia Ave, Guadalupe, Shaw Boulevard, SM Megamall, Boni Serrano, Cubao Farmers, Ermin Garcia for its northbound.

B buses, meanwhile are Coded Blue. Southbound, they stop at Kamuning, Monte de Piedad, Main Avenue, POEA Ortigas, Pioneer/Boni, Estrella, Ayala Avenue. Northbound, they stop at Ayala Avenue, Estrella, Pioneer/Boni, SM Megamall, Ortigas Avenue, Main Avenue, Baliwag/5 Star.

C buses stop at all the bus stops/waiting sheds.

Diana Zubiri FHM Edsa-Shaw

Diana Zubiri stopping traffic on EDSA-Shaw flyover. Photo: FHM.com.ph

24. In October 2002, an FHM Philippines photo shoot stopped traffic at the EDSA-Shaw flyover. Starlet Diana Zubiri, clad only in a red bikini, posed for photos and drew the attention of motorists and the general public — and publicity — for the upcoming issue of the men’s magazine.

25. On September 1, 2014, a photo of a “hulidap” (members of law enforcement involved in illegal activity) on EDSA, Mandaluyong in broad daylight, went viral. It was the kidnapping of a businessman spearheaded by rogue cops from the La Loma Police station in Quezon City and a dismissed cop. The group had also been credited with other similar crimes.

26. Of the 1,458 road accidents recorded by the MMDA in September 2014, 553 were on EDSA alone. From 2010 to 2013, meanwhile, accidents on EDSA account for 7.91% — or 1 out of 13 accidents — in Metro Manila, that is, according to a study conducted by Troy james Palanca, who is an economist and certified public accountant. 

27. In 2011, there were a whopping total of 2,000 billboards along the entire stretch of EDSA. According to MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, that is about 90 billboards per kilometer. 

28. There is only one Exorcism Office in the Archdiocese of Manila and it is actually located on EDSA. Well, in San Carlos Seminary, on EDSA-Guadalupe. At the ground floor, if we’re being specific.

Nuns and priests were the first to arrive on EDSA, after Cardinal Sin’s call for help. Photo: PositivelyFilipino.com

29. And speaking of exorcism, the biggest bloodless one happened on the evening of Feb 22. It was originally supposed to be a coup, but Marcos learned of the plot. So the rebel leaders, chief among them Juan Ponce Enrile, called on Fidel V. Ramos for help. The two held a press conference at Camp Aguinaldo at about 6pm, and then turned to Manila Archibishop Jaime Cardinal Sin for help. Sin in turn, took to radio. He made an appeal on Radio Veritas at around 9pm for anyone listening to head out to EDSA — to Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo, specifically — to support the rebel leaders however which way they can: food, supplies, emotional support, everything. The first to arrive were the nuns and the priests, and soon, there were enough Filipinos to topple the Marcos dictatorship.

Headline photo: Exec8/Wikipedia

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