Trivia about the Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company (MERALCO)
On March 14, 1903, the Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company (MERALCO) was incorporated in the State of New Jersey. The incorporation followed Ordinance No. 44 of the Municipal Board of Manila, which was passed on March 24, 1903, granting Detroit entrepreneur Charles M. Swift a franchise “to operate an electric street railway service and to furnish electric current for light, heat, and power in the city and its suburbs …” Thus began a saga of service – moving people in tranvias and autobuses for over four decades and providing electric power for ten decades. In 1919, Meralco and its affiliate operating the Pasig line of the street railway network reorganized and merged into a single new entity, this time incorporated in the Philippines under the name Manila Electric Company, the official corporate name it bears today.
The Meralco tranvia or electric streetcar was inaugurated in 1905. the basic street railway network, about 63 kilometers or slightly less than 40 miles of track, spurred the migration of people to the less inhabited areas such as Pasay, Paco, Sta. Ana, Pandacan, Caloocan, San Juan, and other suburban areas. Meralco’s street railway network served not only the areas formerly traversed by the horse cars in the city and the steam tramway to Malabon, but also other important and emerging sections of the city. It further lined outlying districts such as San Lazaro beyond Dulumbayan in the north, Sta. Mesa and Sta. Ana in the east and beyond Malate to the approaches of Pasay in the south.
With this, Meralco represented a truly pioneering developmental investment by private capital and enterprise. The Company’s streetcar system itself was described as state of the art and second to none in East Asia.
Today, a century later, Meralco continues this spirit with a continous, five-year electric system upgrading and expansion program. The program ensures the dispatch of optimum, reliable service to the franchise which presently covers 9,337 square kilometers, including 22 chartered cities and 89 municipalities. As of April 2002, Meralco serves over 3.8 million registered customers.
As the largest single investment of-any nationality in the Philippines 100 years ago, Meralco continues to be one of the Philippines’ largest corporations, with total assets of Php 138.7 billion as of June 2002. Meralco looks forward to continuing its mutually beneficial historic partnership with its customers to bring the Philippines to greater development in the 21 st century and beyond. What we were then, what we are now – Meralco will always be “bahagi ng ating buhay.”