The lack of Green Spaces in Manila and its outskirts

The Philippines is without a doubt one of the most beautiful countries on this earth. It has a rich and diverse culture, history, and nature, especially its beaches which are the most breathtaking ones I have ever seen. Yet I have noticed, after spending most of my three-month stay in and around Manila, that it lacks parks and green spaces.

The benefits of Green Spaces and parks

Green spaces normally refer to areas set aside in urban areas for recreational and/or aesthetic purposes. These areas are often associated with trees, vegetation, and grass, all of which are normally found in parks. In a study conducted by the European Environment Agency, the benefits of green spaces in urban cities are clearly seen. The biggest benefits are by far the effects it has on people’s health. These include, but are not limited to, improved mental health, improved cognitive functioning, reduced prevalence of type 2 diabetes, enhanced physical activity and reduced mortality.

Why are there so few Green Spaces left?

According to CNN Philippines, only 0.03 percent of Manila’s land area is green space, compared to Singapore’s 47% for example. The reason behind this is, according to many, the rapid development that the national capital region has faced in the last decades. If there is an empty slot of land, developers have been and still are keen to buy that piece of land. And without any laws about the preservation of green spaces, this is something that will continue. From one point of view, it is understandable, as empty plots of land do not yield any money or taxes, something that changes once businesses but up the piece of land. In a map, one can see all the major green spaces of Manila. What is especially troubling is the fact that many of these are either golf courses, country clubs or cemeteries. Public parks do exist, but there are not many of them.

Speaking from personal experience, it is not just Manila that faces these problems. Living in Imus, Cavite, I would, according to Google Maps, need to have access to a car and drive for a minimum of thirty minutes to get to the nearest park. Some of the gated communities closer to me have some Green Spaces, such as a football field. The problem, however, is that it is gated, meaning that only those living there can use it.

Green Spaces should be easily accessible for all, and not a perk for those with higher incomes.

Jose Rizal Park. From Wikimedia

About the Author

Marcus Nilsson
Marcus Nilsson
Marcus Nilsson is a student, a world traveler, and a former assistant restaurant manager. In June 2023, he finished his degree in Bachelor of Science with specialization in tourism. In his early 20s, Marcus started travelling the world by himself and that is when he found his interest in the field of tourism. When COVID-19 came, it put a stop to his travels. Instead, he started studying tourism management at Linnaeus University to get a better understanding of the field which he loved. He had the honor of writing his bachelor’s thesis on the island of Bali, Indonesia and later the joy of conducting an internship in Manila, Philippines before graduating.