Motorists going to Tagaytay City or passing through it on their way to Batangas are bound to notice the remarkable transformation of that stretch of the Sta. Rosa and Tagaytay Highway that abounds with exclusive subdivisions, shopping malls and large retail outlets. Thanks to the Ayala Group and its shopping mall and residential subdivision complex and Manny Villar’s Vistaland shopping and residential landholdings, this spot of Laguna can compare with the best that Manila, Quezon City or Makati can offer in terms of posh, market conveniences and accessibility; plus better air quality and wide spaces to boot. And this development is just among the first and there will likely be more like this in our southern towns and communities now that CALAX and Skyway is here.
I am talking about these new road networks that are going up before our eyes that will incorporate a good part of Laguna and Cavite within a one-hour commute from let’s say Makati, the heart of the Philippines’ business and financial capital. I have tried it myself driving from the junction of the Sta-Rosa-Tagaytay entrance of CALAX and reaching Buendia Ave. in Makati in under an hour. In short, a typical commute that could take three hours from Sta.Rosa to Manila could just be a breezy hour-long drive. So how is that for real change? A welcome boon to all motorists out there coming from the South to reach Manila or Makati to work or to do business.
The point here is that our very idea of Greater Manila is going to grow bigger with CALAX and the Skyway fully operational in a matter of two to three years. This is considered short, having had to endure the calvary that has made going to Metro Manila coming from say, Cavite or Batangas or Laguna, a daily sacrifice of 4-6 hours of agonizing or bladder bursting ride. But it is not just the commute that will be made easier for residents from the said areas. Metro Manilans too will find going to their friends or relatives down South or to beach resorts and vacation spots in these provinces a vastly different experience — faster and more pleasant as they are not bogged down by local pedicabs, pedestrians or delivery trucks clogging our provincial roads.
So, I will make a bold prognosis that towns or municipalities such as General Trias, Biñan, Imus, and Dasmariñas that CALAX will be passing through (entry and exit) would be as rich as Valenzuela City in less than a decade; qualifying them to be part of Metro Manila by reasons of population and economic growth. In the case of Sta. Rosa which is now the richest city in Luzon outside of Metro Manila, she would outgrow half of Metro Manila cities hands down most probably, with the expected property and business boom that will come when CALAX is fully open from Biñan to Kawit in Cavite.
And speaking of Cavite, with the Skyway that connects the northern areas like Bulacan, Tarlac and Pampanga, for example, and interconnecting through CALAX at Mamplasan entrance in Biñan, tourists and particularly students from the North provinces could easily visit this cradle of the Philippine Republic and learn first-hand, the glorious and heroic accomplishments of our forefathers on whose blood and sinews, the country’s stirrings for freedom and emancipation first blossomed.
I am talking about the legendary places/sites such as the Thirteen Martyrs Centennial Plaza In memory of the thirteen martyrs of Cavite executed in Plaza de Armas on September 12, 1896 or the Cavite Mutiny Historical Marker in memory of the Filipinos who revolted against the Spaniards led by Sergeant La Madrid that led to the execution of the three martyr priests known in history as GOMBURZA. And of course, the Aguinaldo Shrine, the house of Emilio Aguinaldo, the first president of the Philippines and site of the Philippine Declaration of Independence or June 12, 1898. These and more than a dozen other historical sites are there for the students or history buffs among us and within a pleasurable and easy ride through SLEX and CALAX if you’re coming from the North, let’s say Bulacan, Pampanga, or thereabouts.
Again, I know that the pandemic is still with us and going around or motoring wherever or whenever we want is still sometime in the future. But should the travel itch get into you by then, you’ll find a renewed and resurgent South that we Filipinos can be proud of.