Pasig river as the DENR chief says is one giant septic tank (click here for the news item). Pasig river with its history however, is the Thames, or the Seine, or the Tiber of the Philippines. Well, that’s according to Ambeth Ocampo (Inquirer, 09 Sept 2009).  This made me search for old manuscripts which may describe what faura and fauna one might see along the old river.  I found these 3 manuscripts which have brief mentions of the river.  One is from Paul de la Gironiere, a Frenchman while two are from an American, William H. Thomes.  The last one says that there are alligators in the river. I think he means the Philippine crocodile which is now critically endangered and nowhere can be found near or at the river.

Where the river meets the lake. Illustration by Henri Valentin

Aventures D’un Gentilhomme Breton Aux Iles Philippines
Paul De La Gironiere with illustrations by Henri Valentin
Paris, 1855

Les bords de cette rivière sont plantés de touffes de bambous et parsemés de jolies habitations indiennes; au-dessus du grand bourg de Pasig, elle reçoit les eaux de la rivière de San-Mateo à l’endroit où cette rivière se réunit au fleuve de Pasig.

The banks of this river are planted with clumps of bamboo and scattered with beautiful Indian dwellings, above the large town of Pasig, it receives water from the river San Mateo to where the river meets the river Pasig. (Indian is how the author calls the Filipino.) [translation by google translate]


Mga Kubo along the banks of the river (wiki commons).

Reynolds’s Miscellany of Romance, General Literature, Science, and Art 17:432 (1856:Oct. 18) 186

NOT many miles from the city of Make up the river Pasig, in a northerly directions past the town of Santa Mesa, where but two or three huts and a large cordage factory give any tokens that the place is inhabited, is a small lake-or pond we should call it-which empties into the above river, and takes its source from small streams which trickle slowly down the sides of a long chain of mountains, and forcing their way throught rich meadows, fields of sugar cane, cool mango trees, and the luxurious banana, giving life and vitality to all, empties into the lake after their toilsome journey, and again sustain thousands of living animals who throng to the bank of the pond to quench their thirst during the noonday heat.

Reynolds’s Miscellany of Romance, General Literature, Science, and Art 16:395 (1856:Feb. 2) 12

THE hot summer months still confined us to the hospitable Spaniard’s villa, where we could enjoy ourselves and not be subjected to the intense heat of Manilla. A cool breeze from the river, night and morning, revived our drooping forms, and a bath at sunrise was something to be wished for, were it not for fear of the alligators. About thirty miles up the Pasig, I have known the huge monsters to carry off native women while sitting by the river’s bank washing clothes; and although an alarm is usually given immediately, there are no hopes of a rescue.