The 3D Buildings layer on my Google Earth has been neglected for too long. I recently turned it on for the first time in years, and found that a band of dedicated internet warriors has been modeling 3D buildings for Google Earth-- even buildings in the Philippines-- while I wasn't paying attention.
Here are the ten best 3D sights I found in the Philippines.
10. Talisay Ruins
Rising out of the sugarcane fields around Bacolod City, this old building was burned by retreating Filipinos to prevent its use by Japanese invaders in World War II, leaving behind some gorgeous ruins. Also check out the other 3D models around Bacolod City, including the PNB Building, Old Bacolod City Hall, Queen of Peace Church, New Bacolod Government Center, Provincial Capitol, and Bacolod-Silay International Airport.
9. Tribeca Private Residences
This impressive cluster of 15 buildings is found along the South Luzon Expressway in Muntinlupa City. What's so surprising about it is that it doesn't even exist in satellite view-- turn off the 3D Buildings layer, and all you'll see is an empty lot. The satellite imagery is dated March 2007, so I don't actually know how many of these buildings have been completed, if any, but the 3D models are there anyway to give us a glimpse of the future.
8. Mandaue-Mactan bridges
Two bridges connect the island of Mactan to Mandaue City-- The old unnamed Mactan-Mandaue Bridge (built 1970), and the newer Marcelo Fernan Bridge (built 1999). Both of them have 3D models in Google Earth. The newer bridge is the one that's better looking in real life, but the old bridge is pictured here because it's better looking in Google Earth.
7. Davao City
Davao City has a whole bunch of nice 3D buildings too, most of them (all of them?) done by one guy, appropriately named "thatDAVAOguy". The buildings are spread out across the city though, so you need to go hunting for them. In the foreground here, are Marco Polo hotel and Ateneo de Davao University. Other buildings in the city are SM City Davao, Royal Mandaya Hotel, Gaisano Mall, Fransisco Bangoy International Airport, Victoria Plaza, and a lot more.
6. Rizal Park
You'll need to zoom in close to see the 3D monuments and statues in Manila's Rizal Park. Pictured here is the Rizal Monument. Other 3D features in the park are the massive Philippine flag, the Gomburza execution site, the Pantheon of Heroes, and the Sentinel of Freedom (the enormous statue of Lapu-Lapu at the east side of the park).
5. EDSA Shrine / EDSA-Ortigas Flyover
In front of Robinson's Galleria in Ortigas, you'll find not just the EDSA Shrine rendered in 3D, but the entire flyover structure at the intersection of EDSA and Ortigas Avenue. Zoom in close enough and you can actually read the passage of scripture on the wall under the statue of the Virgin Mary.
4. University of Santo Tomas
One guy seems to have channeled his school spirit into rendering almost all of the buildings of Manila's University of Santo Tomas in 3D. Among the finished models are the Arch of the Centuries, Main Building, UST Library, Health Service Buildings, Benavides Building, Gymnasium, College of Architecture, Albertus Magnus Building, and Roque Ruano Building.
3. Cebu Business Park
Cebu Business Park in Cebu City has, undoubtedly, the best skyline in the Philippines outside of Metro Manila. 3D skyscrapers in this area include the Keppel Center, Innove Tower, Marriott Hotel, Pioneer House, Park Tower One, Park Tower Two, and Ayala Life FGU. Also check out the other nice rendered buildings in the city, including Magellan's Cross, SM City Cebu, Malacanan sa Sugbo, and others.
2. Ayala Avenue
Makati City has, far and away, the country's best skyline. There aren't enough 3D buildings there in Google Earth to really show that dominance, but it's still very worth checking out. Skyscrapers include PBCom Tower (the country's tallest), GT International Tower, LKG Tower, Ayala Triangle Tower One, and Makati Shangri-La Hotel. There's also the Peninsula Manila, and Hotel Intercontinental.
1. University of the Philippines - Diliman
Up north in Quezon City is the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines, with Quezon Hall, the Oblation, Amphitheater, Gonzalez Hall, Sunken Garden, University Grandstand, Carillion Tower, and a whole bunch of other buildings I don't know the names of, enough buildings to slow my computer to shit when I try zooming in close. Nice work, man. Nice work.