Many people have the mistaken impression that the Mabuhay Rotonda marks the boundary between Manila and Quezon City. The whole intersection is actually found around 50 meters from the border and completely within Quezon City. Formerly called the Welcome Rotonda until it was renamed on May 17, 1995, the Mabuhay Rotonda is at the confluence of three of Metro Manila’s major streets: España Boulevard going southwest to Quiapo, Quezon Avenue going northeast to Diliman, and E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue headed east towards Cubao. Mayon Avenue and Nicanor Ramirez St. are two other roads that end in the rotunda.
At the center of the 25-meter wide rotunda stands a rectangular marble monument with the words “Mabuhay” (Long Live) and “Lungsod Quezon” (Quezon City) written at the top. Surrounding the monument’s pedestal are four lion statues. Despite the name, the Mabuhay Rotonda is not actually a rotunda or a roundabout cars cannot go round and round the monument. In particular, the section of the circle between the monument and España is closed to traffic, save for a lane that’s presumably used by tricycles and pedicabs (see this photo). Update: MMDA has also closed off the Quezon Avenue side of the road and you need to take a U-turn slot further down Quezon Avenue.
The monument was designed by architect Luciano V. Aquino and built in 1948 during the term of Mayor Ponciano Bernardo. Quezon City has just been declared the capital of the Philippines on July 17, 1948 and so the monument was build to welcome people to the capital, hence “Welcome Rotonda”. During the Marcos era till the present, Mabuhay Rotunda is one of the usual gathering places for street rallies as these two photos illustrate. It’s a good rally site since it’s quite visible, being the endpoints of three major streets, to the consternation of the drivers and commuters. And recently, MMDA put up one of their numerous bright blue and pink footbridges at the intersection along Quezon Avenue, marring the sight of the Rotonda (check out this Flickr picture).
If you want to learn more, this Manila Times article provides a history of the rotunda as seen from the eyes of one of its nearby residents.