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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pasig River (Ilog Pasig)
A tourist looks down as dusk settles on the Pasig River from the walls of Intramuros, with Roxas bridge in the background.
Country Philippines Philippines
Regions National Capital Region, CALABARZON
 - left Pateros-Taguig River, San Juan River
 - right Marikina River
Cities Manila, Makati City, Mandaluyong City, Pasig City
Source Laguna de Bay
 - coordinates 14°31′33″N 121°06′33″E / 14.52583°N 121.10917°E / 14.52583; 121.10917
Mouth Manila Bay
 - location Manila
 - elevation m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 14°35′40″N 120°57′20″E / 14.59444°N 120.95556°E / 14.59444; 120.95556
Length 25 km (16 mi)
Basin 570 km2 (220 sq mi)
Drainage map of the Pasig-Marikina River system

The Pasig River (called Ilog Pasig in Filipino) is a river in the Philippines and connects Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay. It stretches for 25 kilometres (15.5 mi) and divides Metro Manila into two. Its major tributaries are the Marikina River and San Juan River.

The Pasig River is technically a tidal estuary in that the flow direction depends upon the water level difference between Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay. During the dry season, the water level in Laguna de Bay is low and the flow direction of the Pasig River depends on the tides. During the wet season, when the water level of Laguna de Bay is high, flow is normally from Laguna de Bay towards Manila Bay.

The Pasig River used to be an important transport route in Spanish Manila. However, due to negligence and industrial development, the river has become very polluted and is considered dead (unable to sustain life) by ecologists.

The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) was established to oversee rehabilitation efforts for the river. Supporting the PRRC are private sector organizations i.e. Clean and Green Foundation, Inc. who implemented the Piso para sa Pasig (Filipino: A peso for the Pasig) campaign.



Pasig River winds generally north-westward for some 25 kilometres (15.5 mi) from the Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the Philippines, to Manila Bay, in the southern part of the island of Luzon. From the lake, the river runs between Taguig City, and Taytay, Rizal, before entering Pasig City. This portion of Pasig River to the confluence with the Marikina River tributary is known as the Napindan River or Napindan Channel. From there, the river then forms the common border between Makati City to the south and Pasig City, followed by Mandaluyong City to the north. The river then sharply turns northeast forming the border between Mandaluyong and Manila before turning again westward, joining its other major tributary San Juan River, and then following a sinuous path through the center of Manila before emptying into the bay.

The whole river and most portions of its tributaries lie entirely within Metro Manila, the metropolitan region of the capital. Isla de Convalescencia (14°35′26″N 120°59′20″E / 14.59056°N 120.98889°E / 14.59056; 120.98889), the only island dividing the Pasig River, can be found in Manila and it is where the Hospicio de San Jose is located.

Tributaries and canals

One major river that drains Laguna de Bay is the Taguig River, which enters into Taguig before becoming the Pateros River and forming the common border between the municipality of Pateros and Makati City. Pateros River then enters the same confluence where the Napindan River and Marikina River meet. The Marikina River is the larger of the two major tributaries of Pasig River and it flows southwards from the mountains of Rizal and cuts through the Marikina Valley. The San Juan River drains the plateau on which Quezon City stands; its major tributary is the Diliman Creek.

Within the city of Manila, there are various esteros or canals that criss-cross through the city and connect with Tullahan River in the north and Parañaque River to the south.


Another view of the Pasig from Intramuros, this time, showing the Jones Bridge and the Manila post office.

There are a total of 13 bridges that cross the river. Crossing the Napindan Channel in Pasig City is the Bambang Bridge. Downstream is the C-5 Road Bridge connecting the cities of Makati and Pasig. The Guadalupe Bridge between Makati and Mandaluyong carries Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, the major highway of Metro Manila, as well as the Blue Line (Line 3) of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT). The Makati-Mandaluyong Boundary Bridge is another bridge that connects the two cities downstream and forms the end of Makati Avenue. Sevilla Bridge connects Manila and Mandaluyong.

The easternmost bridge in Manila is the Lambingan Bridge in the district of Sta. Ana, followed by the Padre Zamora (Pandacan) Bridge between Pandacan and Santa Mesa, which also carries the southern line of the Philippine National Railways (PNR). The Mabini Bridge (formerly Nagtahan Bridge) provides a crossing for the Nagtahan Avenue, part of the C-2 Road. Ayala Bridge carries Ayala Boulevard and connects Isla de Convalescencia to both banks. Further downstream are the Quezon Bridge from Quiapo to Ermita the LRT Yellow Line (Line 1) bridge from Central Terminal Station to Carriedo Station, McArthur Bridge from Divisoria to Ermita, and the Jones Bridge from Binondo to Ermita. The last bridge near the mouth of Pasig River is the Roxas Bridge from Tondo to Port Area, formerly known as the Del Pan Bridge.


Pasig River's location and the subsequent growth of Manila and the surrounding settlements has made the river a focal point for development and historical events. The foremost landmark on the banks of the river is the walled district of Intramuros, located near the mouth of the river on its southern bank and was built by the Spanish colonial government in the 16th century. Further upstream is the Hospicio de San Jose, an orphanage located on Pasig's sole island, the Isla de Convalescencia. On the northern bank stands Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines. Also on Pasig River's northern bank and within the Manila district of Sta. Mesa is the main campus of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

In Makati City, along the southern bank of Pasig, is the Sta. Ana Racetrack and the Rockwell Commercial Center, a high-end office and commercial area containing the Power Plant Mall. At the confluence of Pasig River and Marikina River is the Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure, which regulates the flow of water from the Napindan Channel.


Landsat image of Manila Bay-Laguna de Bay area; Pasig River can be seen on the right.

The Pasig River's main watershed is concentrated in the plains between Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay. The watershed of the Marikina River tributary mostly occupies the Marikina Valley, which was formed by the Marikina Fault Line. The Manggahan Floodway is an artificially constructed waterway that aims to reduce the flooding in the Marikina Valley during the rainy season, by bringing excess water to the Laguna de Bay.

Tidal flows

Pasig River is technically considered as a tidal estuary. Towards the end of the summer or dry season (April and May), the water level in Laguna de Bay reaches to a minimum of 10.5 meters. During times of high tide, the water level in the lake may drop below that of Manila Bay's resulting into a reverse flow of seawater from the bay into the lake. This also results into increased pollution and salinity levels in Laguna de Bay at this time of the year.[1]


The Pasig River is vulnerable to flooding in times of very heavy rainfall and the Marikina River tributary is the main source of the floodwater. The Manggahan Floodway was constructed to divert excess floodwater from the Marikina River into the Laguna de Bay, which then serves as a temporary reservoir. By design, the Manggahan Floodway is capable of handling 2,400 cubic meters per second of water flow, although the actual flow is about 2,000 cubic meters per second. To complement the floodway, the Napindan Hydraulic Control System (NHCS) was built in 1983 at the confluence of the Marikina River and the Napindan Channel to regulate the flow of water between Pasig River and the lake.[2]


The Pasig River, circa 1899

Before the mass urbanization of Manila, the Pasig River served as an important means of transport and functioned as the city's lifeline and center of economic activity. Some of the most prominent kingdoms in early Philippine history, including the kingdoms of Namayan, Maynila, and Tondo sprang up along the banks of this river, drawing their life and source of wealth from it. When the Spanish established Manila as the capital of their colonial properties in the Far East, they built the walled city of Intramuros on the southern bank of Pasig River near the mouth.

Pollution increase

After World War II, massive population growth, infrastructure construction, and the dispersal of economic activities to Manila's suburbs left the river abandoned. The banks of the river attracted informal settlers and remaining factories dumped their wastes into the river, making it effectively a huge sewer system.[3]

The increasing pollution in the river was first noticed in the 1930s when it was observed that fish migration from Laguna de Bay diminished. People ceased using the river's water for laundry in the 1960s and ferry transport declined. By the 1970s, the river started to give offensive smells and in the 1980s, fishing in the river became nonviable. Pasig River was considered biologically dead in the 1990s.[3]

The PRRC sketch design of the Pasig River in the future.

Rehabilitation efforts

Efforts to revive the river began in December 1989 with the help of Danish authorities. The Pasig River Rehabilitation Program (PRRP) was established, with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as the main agency with the coordination of the Danish International Development Assistance (DANIDA).[4]

In 1999, President Joseph Estrada signed Executive Order No. 54 establishing the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) to replace the old PRRP with additional expanded powers such as managing of wastes and resettling of squatters.[4]


  1. ^ (Laguna de Bay) Lake Elevation - Laguna Lake Development Authority
  2. ^ Laguna de Bay Masterplan - Laguna Lake Development Authority
  3. ^ a b Pasig River Rehabilitation Program
  4. ^ a b "A dying river comes back to life" - Santelices, Menchit. Philippine Information Agency.

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