Imagine being able to turn the streets of Metro Manila into a racing circuit. Unfortunately, a country like Singapore, we are not. While the idea is certainly exciting, doing that today would probably spark public outrage thanks to the enormous traffic jam it would cause. Get ready for a trip down Philippine motorsports' memory lane, though, because we stumbled across an album that shows us that there was once a time that street racing - as in racing on literal streets - was the only way to go.
Back in the ‘70s, it was a possible feat to arrange races on open stretches and street corners. Mind you, the races were looked like well-celebrated events. I mean, just take a look at these vintage racing photos in the country. Ortigas, Luneta, and even the streets of Cebu City were the venues of organized Grand Prix, along with other motor racing events.
At the time, there was no Clark International Speedway, Batangas Racing Circuit, or Subic International Raceway. The only place they had were open streets around the country. Places like Ortigas and Greenhills were not as crowded and developed as they are today, making it a great location to hold races. In fact, one photo shows paddocks were even built for the Greenhills Grand Prix which ran for three consecutive years. Today's Greenhills is known for the shopping center and "tiangges", the grandstands and pit lanes are no more, but there was a time when cars would scream and careen around its surrounding streets to win a race - or two, or maybe even three.
Considering how near the races were to the city, each event would bring in loads of spectators from all over Metro Manila. Just imagine the Quirino Grand Stand filled with people watching the Minis, Celicas, and other ‘70s cars race around Manila Hotel and along Roxas Boulevard. Its the same case in Greenhills before the villages were created.
Unfortunately, Grand Prix and big races are no longer being held in the streets of Ortigas, Greenhills, or Luneta. Honestly, they will probably never happen again. Thankfully, these photos do give us a way to look back on how awesome racing was back in the day. It kind of makes you wish that you could turn the clock back, yes? But hey, at least we now have proper racing facilities which won't be going away anytime soon. Photos are forever, and so is racing. This time, on legitimate tracks, of course.