The Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, or EDSA, never fails to elicit a groan from drivers and commuters who have to traverse it every day. Due to its problematic traffic situation, it’s a pain to travel through, especially during rush hour.
But before it became the bane of Filipino motorists’ existence, the road was best known for being part of one of the most significant parts of our history. In 1986, EDSA literally and figuratively became the way to freedom when over two million civilians, politicians, and religious figures stormed the highway in a peaceful protest of the Marcos regime, and proved what a unified nation can do.
In honor of the upcoming 30th anniversary of the People Power Revolution, MyProperty.ph offers 10 quick facts about the historic main thoroughfare of Metro Manila.
1. From end-to-end, EDSA is around 23.8 kilometers. That’s roughly the length of 1,561 professional basketball courts, or 14,691 Filipino males (who are said to be 162 centimeters tall on average) who play in them.
2. EDSA passes through six cities of Metro Manila: 11 kilometers of the road is within Quezon City, and the rest is divided among Caloocan, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati, and Pasay.
3. EDSA has gone through many name changes over the years. It started out as the “North-South Circumferential Road” during its construction back in the 1930s. After the country’s independence in 1946 from the Japanese occupation, EDSA was briefly named “Avenida 19 de Junio” or June 19 Avenue, the birth date of national hero José Rizal. Another former name was “Highway 54,” due to the misconception that the avenue is 54 kilometers in length. It wasn’t until 1959 that Republic Act 2140 was passed declaring it the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue after the Rizaleño historian, jurist, and scholar.
4. In its conception, EDSA’s northernmost point was only supposed to be the Balintawak terminus and the southernmost end the South Luzon Expressway. But in 1965, the northern tip was extended to the Apolonio Samson Road, and the southern part to Roxas Boulevard until 2006, when it was further extended to the SM Mall of Asia.
5. EDSA touches three of the country’s busiest financial and business hubs: the Makati Central Business District, Ortigas Center, and Araneta Center.
6. There is currently a petition pending in the House of Representatives to rename EDSA “Corazon Aquino Avenue” in honor of the late president, who led the 1986 revolution.
7. Since the People Power Revolution, EDSA has been the site of many other protests against succeeding administrations. EDSA II was a four-day rally in January 2001 that successfully ousted former president Joseph Estrada. In 2006, various groups picketed along EDSA to protest then-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s declaration of a State of Emergency. During the 29th anniversary of the first People Power Revolution, a demonstration was staged at EDSA Shrine against current president Benigno Aquino III and the supposed inadequacies of the government.
8. In a 2013 piece by columnist Botchi Santos for the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), he revealed that over 360,000 vehicles use EDSA every day. An unfortunate number, because according to PDI’s Rene S. Santiago, under ideal conditions, EDSA should have a capacity of only 200,000 vehicles a day.
9. Speed limits are implemented along EDSA: 40 kph for cars and motorcycles, and 30 kph for trucks and buses. But due to the number of vehicles traversing the thoroughfare, traffic moves at an average speed of 15 kph.
10. There are at least 10 condominiums built right along EDSA, including DMCI’s Zinnia Towers and New San Jose Builders, Inc.’s Victoria Sports Tower in Quezon City; Avida Towers Centera in Mandaluyong; Empire East’s San Lorenzo Place in Makati; and SMDC’s Shell Residences in Pasay.