Isa sa pinakakilalang baybayin sa Pilipinas dahil sa kamangha-manghang tanawin tuwing dapit-araw, isama pa ang hilera ng mga hitik na puno ng niyog, ang Roxas Boulevard ay katangitanging matatagpuan sa kahabaan ng Manila Bay. Unang tinawag itong Cavite Boulevard, kalaunan ay pinalitan itong Dewey Boulevard bilang karangalan sa Amerikanong Admiral George Dewey . Tinawag itong “Heiwa Boulevard” noong huling bahagi ng 194 1 sa panahon mga Hapon, at binago muli sa pangalang “Roxas Boulevard” noong 1960s upang parangalan si Pangulong Manuel Roxas, ang ikalimang pangulo ng Republika ng Pilipinas.
Bilang hiling ng Amerikanong Komisyoner na si William Cameron Forbes, bahagi umano ang Roxas Boulevard sa orihinal na plano ng arkitektong si Daniel Burnham para sa muling pagdidisenyo ng lungsod ng Maynila. Kasabay ng isang malawak na kalakaran mula sa Amerika na upang pagandahin ang mga lungsod, o tinatawag na “City Beautiful Movement” noong unang bahagi ng 1900s, binisita ni Burnham ang bansa noong 1905 upang magmasid sa lungsod ng Maynila, (kasama ang lungsod ng Baguio). Kasama din sa plano ang kahabaan na parke sa dalampasigan, mula sa silangan ng Luneta hanggang Cavite Navy Yard na halos 20 milya (32 km) ang layo.
May sukat na halos 250ft (76m) na lapad, ito ay gagawan ng kalsada para sa mga sasakyan at trak, landas ng tulay, malawak na mga bangketa para magamit ng ng mga tao, at hilera ng puno na may lilim galing sa puno niyog, kawayan, at mangga para proteksyon init ng araw.
Sa larawan ito makikita ang Malecon Drive, na nagpapakita ng matandang pader ng Intramuros na nasa kanan. Sa isang larawan naman, makikita din ang Military Plaza, o ang bahay ng Commanding General, na pinakamataas na ranggo ng militar ng Amerikano sa Manila, hanggang nasira ito noong sumabog ang World War II. Naging paboritong tambayan ito ng mga tao dahil nakapwesto ito sa mismong kalahatian ng boulevard noong panahong iyon.
Ayon kay Larry Ng mula sa blog ni Lou Gopal, “The suburb was envisioned by Daniel Burnham in his vision for the design of Manila as an exclusive residential area. Burnham was a leading exponent of the then trendy City Beautiful Movement which began in the U.S. They believed that civic loyalty would come through the power of beauty to shape human thought and behavior. Many prominent American and Spanish families resided in Malate, among them the commanders of the American Army, then called the Philippine Department, and the Zobel de Ayala family.”
One of the most popular seafront of the country, known for its stunning sunsets and stretch of coconut trees, Roxas Boulevard runs along the shores of Manila Bay. Originally called as Cavite Boulevard, it was renamed Dewey Boulevard in honor of the American Admiral George Dewey. The boulevard was again renamed to “Heiwa Boulevard” in late 1941 during the Japanese Home Rule. “Roxas Boulevard” was then renamed in the 1960s to honor President Manuel Roxas, the fifth president of the Republic of Philippines.
Originally part of Architect Daniel Burnham’s plan of redecorating the city of Manila as requested by Commissioner William Cameron Forbes, Burnham visited the country in 1905 at the height of the City Beautiful movement, a trend in the early 1900s in America for making cities beautiful along scientific lines, for the future urban development of Manila and Baguio City. According to Burnham’s original concept of the Boulevard, the Bayfront from the Luneta southward should be a continuous parkway, extending in the course of time all the way to the Cavite Navy Yard about 20 miles (32 km) away.
In one photo is the Malecon Drive, which shows the old Spanish wall of Intramuros is to the right. Also seen is the photo of the Military Plaza, Commanding General’s Residence Manila. This complex remained the residence of the highest ranking American military officer, till the eruption of World War II. It became a favorite meeting place for strollers on the boulevard as it was the exact middle of the boulevard at that time.
The Boulevard, about 250 ft (76 m) in width, with roadways, tramways, bridle path, rich plantations, and broad sidewalks, should be available for all classes of people in all sorts of conveyances, and so well shaded by coconut palms, bamboo, and mangoes as to furnish protection from the elements at all times.
According to Larry Ng from Lou Gopal’s blogsite, “The suburb was envisioned by Daniel Burnham in his vision for the design of Manila as an exclusive residential area. Burnham was a leading exponent of the then trendy City Beautiful Movement which began in the U.S. They believed that civic loyalty would come through the power of beauty to shape human thought and behavior. Many prominent American and Spanish families resided in Malate, among them the commanders of the American Army, then called the Philippine Department, and the Zobel de Ayala family.”
Photo Source: John Tewell
Photo Source: University of Michigan
Colorized by: Bilog Bilugan