Behind the Flood Gates | More to the MMDA

What does the MMDA do?

Majority of Filipinos know the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to direct traffic in the metro and, when it’s flooded, they help rescue people. That would be about it. And that was my thought as well until we visited their main office at Orense, Guadalupe, Makati City a couple of days ago and I learned a few things about them.

First, they are one of two government units that possess a “Shake, Rattle, and Learn House”, which is an earthquake simulator. The other one is Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. It’s a small structure divided into two inside: one part looks like a house, the other a classroom. It’s the “centerpiece” of the lowest floor. We were told that they couldn’t turn it on, not while it was still office hours; simulation could send the whole building shivering.

Our guide, who I only know by the name Sir Ryan, led us to the Flood Control Center. They have a map of the metro on the floor, which would’ve been cool but I couldn’t fully appreciate it because of the all scratches on the glass top.

A map of the metro on the floor
A map of the metro on the floor

Second: not only do they monitor traffic, they also take note of earthquakes that happen in the whole country as well. That is why they had this site open. At times, they become the country’s representative in the many volunteers to wherever that needs help and rescue, like Nepal.

One other thing: the Flood Control Center has the most interesting sight—for me, that is.

The center offers spectacular images of the wind and ocean. You could learn about wind, temperature, relative humidity, and instantaneous wind power density. Just click the “earth” button in the left corner and you could tweak the controls.

We took a short ride to Napindan Hydraulic Control Flood Gate, which was almost surreal. The two times that I came close to the place was when I took the ferry. And that was not enough! Yet, two days ago, I was just two arms length when our van went behind the gate. Sir Ryan led us to the area where they taught retrieval techniques.

During the demonstration, I saw tug boat pulling another vessel that held so much gunk from Manila Bay. Or was it from Pasig River? Anyway, I now have new perspective on the MMDA and their function.

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