Pasig River: The Biologically Dead River Connecting Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay

The Pasig River is a biologically dead watercourse that connects Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay in the Philippines, lying entirely within five cities of Metro Manila. It is 27 kilometers (17 mi) long with an average of 50 meters in width. Technically a tidal estuary, the river’s flow direction depends upon the difference of water-level between Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay.

Pasig River viewed from Fort Santiago

Pasig River viewed from Fort Santiago in Intramuros, with Del Pan (Roxas) Bridge seen in the background on the left

Tributaries and canals

Pasig River has two major tributaries, the Marikina River and San Juan River. The larger Marikina River flows southward from the mountains of the province of Rizal cutting through the Marikina Valley while and the smaller San Juan River, drains the plateau on which Quezon City stands.

Other tributaries are Pateros-Taguig River and Napindan River.

Various esteros (canals) criss-cross through the river and connect with other rivers, such as the Tullahan River in the north and the Parañaque River to the west.


A total of 16 bridges cross Pasig River. From east to west, the first bridge is the Napindan Bridge, followed by the Arsenio Jimenez Bridge.  Crossing the Napindan Channel in Pasig is the Bambang Bridge. Downstream is the C-5 Road Bridge connecting the cities of Makati and Pasig. The Guadalupe Bridge links the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong. The Rockwell Bridge and Makati-Mandaluyong Boundary Bridge are another bridges that connect the two cities downstream and forms the end of Makati Avenue. In Manila, next is the Lambingan Bridge in the city’s district of Santa Ana, followed by the Padre Zamora (Pandacan) Bridge between Pandacan and Santa Mesa. The Mabini Bridge (formerly Nagtahan Bridge) provides a crossing for Nagtahan Avenue, part of the C-2 Road. Ayala Bridge carries Ayala Boulevard and connects Isla de Convalescencia to both banks. Further downstream are the Quezon Bridge from Quiapo to Ermita, the LRT-1 bridge from Central Terminal Station to Carriedo Station, MacArthur Bridge from Santa Cruz to Ermita, and the Jones Bridge from Binondo to Ermita. The last bridge near the mouth of Pasig River is the Roxas Bridge (formerly called Del Pan Bridge) from Tondo to Port Area.

Pasig River Ferry Service

There has been several water-based transportation services that cruise the Pasig River but all were cut short either due to pollution, shanty along the banks, or foul odors due to littering of its residence.


Rehabilitation efforts for the Pasig River began in December 1989 with the help of Danish International Development Assistance (DANIDA). The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) acting as the main agency with the coordination of the DANIDA, established the Pasig River Rehabilitation Program (PRRP).

In 1999, President Joseph Estrada signed Executive Order No. 54 establishing the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) to replace the old PRRP. The executive order granted the new program with additional expanded powers such as managing of wastes and resettling of squatters.

Supporting the PRRC are private sector organizations, i.e. Clean and Green Foundation, Inc. that implemented the Piso para sa Pasig campaign and other local government units and stake holders.

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