The once pristine Manila Bay has long deteriorated. There were rehabilitation efforts in early 2019, but after an initial clean-up drive and desilting, the operations had been mothballed for later. No one seemed to mind. There were other more pressing issues. To many, Manila Bay was a hopeless case.

It seems like Manila Bay, however, has found a way to reinvigorate itself during the lockdown. Residents around the Mall of Asia area have been noticing the transition of Manila Bay’s waters from murky to a glistening turquoise blue “that can pass for Boracay’s.”

These photos and videos sparked various opinions on Twitter threads, Facebook comments, and captions, which read “How the Philippines would look like without Filipinos,” “the virus could be letting Mother Earth heal,” and “Kailangan pa ng virus para maging maayos ang Pilipinas (it takes a virus to see improvements in the Philippines).”

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Photo by John Angue

manila bay 3 - Look: Turquoise Blue Waters of Manila Bay #NoFilter

Photo by Arnel Natnat

This phenomenon, however, can be likened to what happened to Venice canals—the waters may look clearer, but it doesn’t mean it’s less polluted. Less human activities and boat traffic on the surface can cause sediment accumulation and silt to stay at the bottom.

Although a portion of the bay was declared safe for swimming, the water quality is still very much as toxic as it was as of this time, so don’t dive in just yet (but anyway, we’re on quarantine).

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