Swimming in Manila Bay

Manila Bay, most famous for its golden, romantic sunset right in the heart of Metro Manila. As the gateway to Manila, this is the site of historic battles, including the Spanish-American War and the Second World War. Here you can find the Manila Yacht Club (obviously a place for the upper class) and the Manila Ocean Park. This is where Philippine dragon boat teams, preparing for their world championship defense, hold their practice.  It really is puzzling why swimming is not allowed in Manila Bay.

Well, it’s not really a puzzle. We all know the reason why swimming is not allowed in Manila Bay (the area around Manila City, at least) — it’s dirty. There’s a court order directing all responsible government agencies to clean up the Manila Bay. These agencies include the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Philippine National Police Maritime Group. Whether cleanup efforts are enough, or why the cleanup is still far from being completed, your guess is as good as ours.

In the meantime, while the cleanup of Manila Bay is [hopefully] ongoing, swimmers are not allowed to swim. There’s a huge sign at the bay walk screaming the prohibition. There’s a supposed ordinance that bans swimming and authorizes the arrest of violators. Yet people are still swarming the area especially in summer. As to the reason why people still swim despite the prohibition, or why the local authorities can’t enforce the rule, your guess is as good as ours.

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