Of spaces and cemeteries: Observations as Manila Bay dolomite beach gets entrance arch

September 27, 2021 - 6:25 PM
People pass by the Manila Bay dolomite beach along Roxas Boulevard on Sept. 26, 2021. (The STAR/Jesse Bustos)

Manila Baywalk dolomite beach visitors will be greeted by an entrance arch which was modified after its sign drew flak for the lack of spacing in between the words.

Pictures of the newly installed arch were reported by news outlets over the weekend which was a finishing touch to the controversial project meant to rehabilitate the famous harbor’s shoreline.

The arch contained the signage which initially reads as “MANILABAYWALKDOLOMITEBEACH.” It was later on changed to add spaces in between the words after it drew social media users’ attention.

“Sa sobrang laki ng ginastos, wala (ng) budget sa pagpindot ng space bar,” actor-comedian Ramon Bautista commented on Twitter.

“PH sets new world record for longest word created by a useless gov’t: MANIBAYWALKDOLOMITEBEACH,” a Twitter user wrote.

“Say MANILABAYWALKDOLOMITEBEACH fast 5 times. Also, ba’t walang spacing in between the words? Who did this?” wrote another online user.

“Can they afford to install the # (hashtag) sign though? I’m guessing no, seeing how big that arch is to have no spaces between words,” a different Twitter user said.

Reports note that it was changed on Monday, two days after photos of the entrance arch surfaced online.

Others criticized the arch as a whole by saying that it supposedly reminds them of how cemetery entrances look like.

A Reddit user edited a picture to make a point and categorized it as a “meme.”

“I know its edited, pero p*cha kahit ‘di pa edited ‘yan, sementeryo vibes pa rin,” another Redditor wrote in the comments.

“Bakit parang gate ng sementeryo?” asked a different Filipino.

A similar observation was made by some local Twitter users as well.

A Twitter account shared a picture of a cemetery gate that has signage as supposedly translated from Hiligaynon: “Us now, you next.”

“Same energy,” the account wrote.

“With all the budget that this project (has), how come they cannot pull off a more creative, aesthetically and appropriate design for a damn gate? This really gives me the vibe of some cheap beach resort or a gate of a public cemetery,” another Twitter user said with a crying face emoji.

Others continued to criticize the funds used for the project, claiming that it would be better to be allocated as part of the government’s COVID-19 response efforts.

“If only the budget used for this (poop emoji) project was for COVID-19 response and medications,” a Twitter user said.

“T**gene pinanindigan ‘yung patapon na proyekto. Welcome, typhoons of 2021!” quipped another online user.

“And that’s on priorities during pandemic,” a different Twitter user wrote.

A motorcycle hailing app was also inspired by the viral signage that it offered the title as a promo code for its passengers.

(Screengrab from Angkas’ Twitter account by Interaksyon)

According to One News PH, Rep. Teodorico Haresco Jr. (Aklan, 2nd District) said that there will be no more additional budget allocation for the project.

The Dolomite Beach initiative is part of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program which aims to clean, rehabilitate and preserve the historic bay.

Last year, the Palace claimed that the project could benefit people’s mental health, especially amid a pandemic.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said on its website that the project is “not untimely” and that it was approved by Congress under the 2019 General Appropriations Act.

The project also underwent competitive bidding under Republic Act 9184.

The agency added that the contract was awarded prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and that “the government cannot simply stop a project when it is already under a contractual obligation to proceed.”

“Beach nourishment mainly aims to rehabilitate and protect the coastal resources in the area to prevent coastal flooding and erosion. The project was conceptualized, budgeted, and approved by the Department of Budget and Management in 2019, when there was still no incident yet of COVID-19 in the country,” it said.

“The mandate of the DENR is to use its financial, manpower and other resources for the protection and conservation of the environment and natural resources, event in the midst of a pandemic,” the agency added.