Ever wondered after whom streets like Kalentong, Bonny Serrano, and Maria Orosa were named? Know the heroes behind some of the metro’s famous street names.
Kalentong? Bonny Serrano Avenue? Maria Orosa Street? Where did these street names really come from? If you’ve ever wondered about the history behind these street names, you’re not alone—we have, too.
Apparently, the Philippine Historical Committee—a government agency created in the 1930s and the precursor of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines—was tasked to pick the names of important people to be used as street names. But they didn’t pick just anybody, of course. A street can only be named after a person who made a significant contribution to the Philippines. Hence, today we got these roads named after people from whom we owe a great deal of gratitude. Although they’re long gone, their legacy lives on and we hope that Filipinos will always remember them.
And as a quick lesson on history, MyProperty has put together a list of some of Metro Manila’s popular streets named after even more famous Filipinos.
There are many streets in the Philippines named after national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal, but perhaps the longest one (and most famous) of all is Rizal Avenue, also known as Avenida Rizal. Renamed in the early 1900s, it traverses downtown Manila from Carriedo Street in Quiapo to the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City.
Rizal Avenue is part of the Pan-Philippine Highway that connects MacArthur Highway to Ronquillo and Bustos Streets. The landmarks along this avenue are several shopping malls, Manila Grand Opera Hotel, San Lazaro Hospital, and the access gates to the Manila Chinese Cemetery.
Escoda Street, Manila
Named after Josefa Llanes Escoda, founder of the Girls’ Scout of the Philippines and dubbed as the country’s Florence Nightingale, Escoda Street in Manila’s Ermita District is connected to Taft Avenue close to the University of the Philippines Manila and Philippine General Hospital.
Josefa and her husband were World War II heroes who risked their lives helping Filipinos and Americans captured and imprisoned by the Japanese. This led to them being captured and imprisoned as well in Fort Santiago, and Josefa was executed in 1945.
Bonny Serrano Avenue
Formerly named “Santolan Road,” Colonel Bonny Serrano Avenue is a major road between Quezon and San Juan City, which forms the northern borders of both Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame. It is named after Colonel Venancio “Bonny” Serrano, one of the most decorated Filipino Korean War veterans. For his accomplishments, he was awarded the Philippine Medal of Valor, the highest military award given by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
J. Ruiz Street, San Juan
J. Ruiz Street in Barangay Ermitaño, which starts from N. Domingo and ends in A. Luna, was named after Juan Ruiz, the lone San Juan resident and one of the 18 Katipuneros who joined and died in the first battle of Katipunan along Pinaglabanan. The street, which also crosses Aurora Boulevard, has an LRT-2 station named after it.
Masangkay Street, Manila
A street that traverses the districts of Binondo and Tondo gives honor to General Guillermo Masangkay, a friend and adviser of Andres Bonifacio. History has it that he was consulted by Bonifacio himself about turning the Katipunan into a revolutionary group, and afterwards was appointed to lead the movement’s Cavite chapter.
Today’s Masangkay Street is a gastronomic haven—with most of its length being in Chinatown, it is lined by authentic Chinese restaurants, along with many other interesting shops.
Kalentong Street, Mandaluyong
One of the busiest streets in Mandaluyong is Kalentong, along which you’ll find two large public markets, a shopping mall, and two institutions for higher education (Don Bosco Technical College and Arellano University). It also serves as a link between Manila’s Sta. Ana District and San Juan City.
The street was named after Mandaluyong’s Vicente “Kalentong” Leyba, who led a hundred Katipuneros in a successful battle in Pulong Buhangin.
Tomas Claudio Boulevard, Manila
Also known as Paco–Santa Mesa Road, it effectively connects the two busy Manila districts and offers an alternative Pasig River crossing to the often-congested Nagtahan Bridge. It was named so in honor of Private Tomas Mateo Claudio, who was the only Filipino casualty during World War I while serving as a soldier for U.S. Army. He died fighting the Germans in 1918 at the age of 26.
Maria Orosa Street, Manila
This quiet street in Ermita and Malate that connects Padre Burgos Street to San Andres Street was named so in honor of Filipina chemist, pharmacist, pioneering food technologist, and World War II heroine Maria Orosa. Her perseverance enabled her to earn scholarships abroad, and she used her knowledge that she gained from her studies to develop “special food” that eventually was brought to World War II concentration camps, saving the lives of thousands of captured Filipinos and Americans held.
Tandang Sora Avenue, Quezon City
Philippine Revolution heroine Tandang Sora (real name: Melchora Quino) was commemorated by having a long avenue that starts at Quirino Highway until Katipunan Avenue named after her. This thoroughfare is so long that it passes through several major roads like C5, Mindanao Avenue, Visayas Avenue, Congressional Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue, and the University of the Philippines Diliman. Although she was already 84 years old when the revolutionary war broke out, that didn’t stop her from helping Katipuneros by welcoming them into her home and feeding them. She was also a witness to the “Cry of Pugadlawin,” and protected the hideouts and plans of the Katipunan, despite threats of intimidation from the Spanish authorities. She was later exiled to the United States.
A. Mabini Street, Caloocan
One of Manila’s famous and busiest streets got its name from Apolinario Mabini, widely regarded as the “Brains of the Revolution.” Aside from being the legal adviser to the revolutionary government and to Emilio Aguinaldo, he was also a leader, educator, and a statesman who fully gave his support to the revolution.
Today, A. Mabini Street runs from Kalaw Avenue in Ermita to Pablo Ocampo Street in Malate, and along this busy street one will find La Consolacion College, San Roque Parish Cathedral Church, Ospital ng Maynila, and lots of commercial establishments.