HistoRiles: The Origins of LRT-2 Stations
by Jace Amodo, April 24, 2019 4:50pm
Art by Allen Mirambel
Poor cooling system, constant breakdowns, and almost always packed; Philippine trains have its woes and are far from being perfect. But one little change might make the short duration of the ride bearable.
This is especially true with “HistoRiles,” a thesis made by Atenean Alfred Marasigan back in 2013 when he was still a student. He believes the society thrives in a constant inquiry, and the central goal of the thesis is to explore what art can do in a public space and how it can contribute to nation building. His project garnered a lot of positive feedback during its exhibit, and later on disseminated in Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2 stations through standees and tube carts.
All the 11 LRT-2 Stations were named after a street in which they stand. But have you ever wondered what's the story behind these street names?
Recto is home to many businesses and hotels and motels. Recto Station’s name is in honor of the Filipino legislator, Claro M. Recto. He wrote the 1935 Philippine charter to sustain the rights of the Filipino people, earning him the title of "Father of Constitution." Recto Station also connects to the LRT Line 1 Doroteo Jose Station.
University of the East, San Sebastian College, and many more universities are situated around Legarda station. Formerly known as "Calle Alix," Legarda station is a tribute to Hon. Benito Legarda y Tuason, a Filipino legislator who started his career as Malolos Congress' cabinet member, the first Philippine Republic. He, along with Filipino lawyer Pablo Ocampo, served as the first resident commissioners of the Philippines to the United States.
Pureza is yet another popular street for students, particularly Polytechnic University of the Philippines students. A Spanish word for "purity," Pureza was part of a street-naming scheme in Sampaloc. Other streets in the proximity were also named after a set of virtues: Economia (thrift), Honradez (honesty), Alegria (happiness), and Sobriedad (sobriety) and more.
This LRT-2 station was named after the country's second Chief Justice, Victorino Mapa y Montano, succeeding Cayetano Arellano. The Victorino Mapa High School in Manila was also named after him. V. Mapa station is connected to the Sta. Mesa branch of Hotel Sogo and is near SM City Sta. Mesa.
According to Museo ng Katipunan curator Dante Oquendo, Juan Ruiz was one of the 18 men from San Juan who died alongside 153 more Katipuneros fighting the First Battle of Katipunan in Pinaglabanan in 1896. The battle, led by Andres Bonifacio, was to seize a Spanish outpost called “El Polvorin” to increase the Katipunan's weaponry. It is the only train station in San Juan City.
The station's name was coined after the renowned American legislator Eugene Allan Gilmore, who served as an acting governor to the Philippines in the American regime. He was an advocate of public health and education who deserved the admiration he received from the country. Gilmore Avenue is also known as Manga Avenue for its abundance of mango trees. Gilmore has made a name for itself as one of the thriving districts in Manila because of its accessibility to Robinsons Magnolia, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan City, hospitals, universities, and many more private institutions and enterprises.
Billie Mary "Betty" Go-Belmonte strived to tell stories the Marcos administration censored during Martial Law, and chose the slogan "Truth shall prevail" for the Philippine STAR, a widely circulated newspaper she founded in 1986. She's also the late wife of former House Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte Jr. The station is a few minutes away from Cubao Cathedral, Holy Buddhist Temple, and Religious of the Virgin Mary Motherhouse.
Before the foundation of Gateway Mall, Ali Mall, Farmer's Market, and Araneta Coliseum, Cubao was nothing but a stale grassland; Legend says it was inhabited by termites and hunchback witches. Whenever the latter was seen, people shout "Kuba, o!", hence the name. Araneta Center-Cubao Station also connects to the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 Araneta Center-Cubao Station.
The name Anonas Avenue came from trees of Anonas or custard apple. Under former president Elpidio Quirino’s administration, he implemented the system of naming Brgy. Quirino Project 3 in Quezon City through fruit-growing trees like "Kamias" and "Pajo." Anonas Station is connected to Anson Supermarket, the building’s levels of which are home to the many thrift stores.
Katipunan Station is the drop-off point of students of Ateneo de Manila University, Miriam College, and the University of the Philippines Diliman. This station was named after the most influential revolutionary groups in Philippine history: the Kataastaasan, Kagalaanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or KKK. The group—founded by Andres Bonifacio, Teodora Plata, and Ladislao Diwa—was later divided into two camps: Magdiwang and Magdalo. When Emilio Aguinaldo established the first government, the KKK was dissolved, and Andres Bonifacio was executed.
As with the Anonas Station, Santolan was coined after the trees of Santol that grew abundantly on the place around 15th to 17th century, before the Spanish Era. There are also barangays named "Caniogan," "Manggahan," and "Maybunga" in the vicinity. Santolan Station has a long overpass connected to SM City Marikina. It is also near the Riverbanks Center, an eco-friendly integrated commercial complex with outlet stores offering affordable and quality Marikina City products.
Shedding light on mundane things like the LRT-2 stations' names invoke curiosity Filipinos never knew had set up residence in their mind. It's a curiosity that testifies how we're all interested in our roots, not for bragging rights but for the authenticity of being a Manillennial.
While you're here, care to know which MRT station are you based on your personality?
This article is created with additional sources from historiles.com.