Who is Julia Vargas?

Julia Vargas de Ortigas was the matriarch of the Ortigas family and the one responsible for the establishment of the Quezon Institute, the hospital arm of the Philippine Tuberculosis Society (PTS).

She was one of the few who worked hard for the passage of the original Sweepstakes Law which provided for the establishment of a lottery in the country that made the PTS as the first beneficiary and the proceeds also helped build the Quezon Institute and expanded the society's services in the provinces.

She also volunteered and became a member of the Board of Directors of the PTS and was soon after elected as president, a position she occupied until her death in 1968.

The society flourished during her presidency. In Quezon Institute, the bed capacity of 150 in 1960 increased to 1, 350 in 1969 and 20 units of the society became active including the Quezon Institute, Manila Central Dispensary, Quezon Institute Extension Service at the Philippine General Hospital and 17 provincial branches.

She was able to establish volunteer services and because of her efforts, the country's mortality rate from TB decreased by 31 percent in 21 years: from 35,355 deaths in 1939 to 24,194 in 1960.

Aside from being a crusader against TB, she was also involved in numerous civic and social organizations like the National Federation of Women's Clubs, Club de Damas Filipinas, Women’s International League, and League of Women Voters.

Today, the Quezon Institute is considered one of the best TB laboratories in the country with its Central Laboratory, which is capable of performing TB culture and sensitivity testing. It was renovated by Medico del Mundo of Spain in 2003.

The Julia Vargas Avenue

Julia Vargas Avenue originates at an intersection with C-5 Road, also known locally as E. Rodriguez, Jr. Avenue, where SM Center Pasig is located. It heads west across Valle Verde passing the Silver City Auto Mall and Valle Verde 5 and 2 Village gates. Between the next intersection at Lanuza Avenue and City Golf, Vargas serves as the boundary between Valle Verde 3 and 4 villages. It passes the Ortigas Home Depot, a Sitel call center building, and a row of bars on the northern side before it comes to an intersection with Meralco Avenue. West of Meralco, the avenue officially enters the Ortigas Center business district. It crosses beneath the Meralco flyover and passes the office towers of San Antonio, Pasig toward the border with Wack-Wack Greenhills, Mandaluyong at the intersection with ADB Avenue and San Miguel Avenue where El Pueblo Real de Manila strip mall is located. From ADB and San Miguel to its western terminus at EDSA, Vargas is one-way westbound only. Here, at the western edge of Ortigas Center, is St. Francis Square Mall, San Miguel Corporation Headquarters and SM Megamall where the avenue ends just past the mall tunnel.

Julia Vargas Avenue is the central east-west artery through Ortigas Center in Metro Manila, Philippines. It is a six-lane divided avenue that runs parallel to Ortigas Avenue to the north and Shaw Boulevard to the south. The avenue stretches 2.3 kilometers (1.4 mile) from C-5 Road in Ugong, Pasig in the east to Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Wack-Wack Greenhills, Mandaluyong in the west. It was named for philanthropist Doña Julia Vargas y Camus vda. de Ortigas, wife of Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership founder Don Francisco Ortigas y Barcinas who owned the Hacienda de Mandaloyon estate on which Ortigas Center was built.


  • Antel Global Corporate Centre
  • BPI Julia Vargas
  • City Golf
  • El Pueblo Real de Manila
  • One Corporate Center
  • Ortigas Home Depot
  • San Miguel Corporation Headquarters
  • St. Francis Square Mall
  • Silver City Auto Mall
  • Sitel
  • SM Center Pasig
  • SM Megamall
  • Taipan Place
  • The Currency (u/c)
  • The Podium
  • Valle Verde

Apat Dapat

For those who are not familiar with the area, Julia Vargas Avenue is only a three lane road. The outer most lane partially being a bicycle lane as well. Meanwhile, the inner most lane caters to those drivers turning left at intersections. Currently, the designated carpool lane will be the second (middle) one. That begs the question as to which lane drivers without the minium required passengers will use.

Further causing confusion (and anger) is the City's ruling on intersection behavior. In this new scheme, motorists turning coming from Ortigas Center turning left into Lanuza Avenue are advised to merge at least 60 meters before the corner. As for those coming from C-5, there are advised to do the same when turning right. If you are coming from Lanuza Avenue, you may temporarily drive on the carpool lane, but only within 60 meters, as advised by the Pasig Command Center. The same applies if you are coming from Molave Street in Valle Verde.

While the MMDA may have scrapped the carpool/HOV lane scheme in EDSA, other local government units seem to have picked up the idea for use on heavily congested roads. To be specific, Pasig City officials appears to be enforcing a new carpool lane along the 2.3-km stretch of Julia Varagas Avenue.

Unlike the HOV/Car Pool lane implementation on EDSA which only required at least two passenger, the one being implemented on Julia Varagas requires a miniumum of four people in the vehicle. Implementation of the new car pool lane is expected to be rolled out on February 28. However, local government officials have already placed road signs to make motorists aware of the impending carpool lane.

Pasig Command Center calls this 'traffic reduction scheme' as 'Apat Dapat'. As the name implies, there should be at least four occupants in a vehicle to be able to use the carpool lane on the already narrow corridor. That means everyone else will have to squeeze themselves in the left lane. While traffic reduction schemes are worth lauding, social media commenters are saying that Julia Vargas is far too narrow to have a carpooling lane.

To avoid all confusion, it is advised to stick to the left lane if you have less than four on board and wait in a line that is likely to span over a kilometer. Better yet, avoid travel though the avenue unless you absolutely have to or live in Valle Verde. If there is a silver lining to all this, the City is experimenting it meaning it may be scrapped eventually.