LOOK: Crowd gathers at Manila Bay's new 'white beach'

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Harold Paras, Cris Salvador/ CNN Philippines

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 19) β€” A large crowd of visitors was seen at a segment of Manila Bay's shoreline recently covered with white sand, after authorities temporarily opened it for public viewing.

The "white beach" opened Saturday afternoon with people waiting in line to take a peek at the controversial project. Pictures of the throng caught the attention and ire of netizens after noticing that most of the visitors were not practicing physical distancing.

Meanwhile, some of the residents were pleased with their visit.

"Sobrang ganda. Parang Boracay beach 'yung nakikita din namin," said Cathy Gerona.

[Translation: Very beautiful. It looks like Boracay beach.]

Another said the project would be a good way for residents to enjoy a beach they would not have been able to afford to visit otherwise.

"Okay siya maging pasyalan lalo na sa mga kababayan natin na can't afford na mamasyal sa magandang pasyalan," said Mirabell Malapitan.

[Translation: It is a nice place to visit for residents who cannot afford to go to other beautiful places.]

Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said the beach will be opened to the public again on Sunday from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., with plans to close it afterwards for the next phase of its development. He said they plan to expand the beach by another 380 meters, making it a three-hectare project.

The P389-million facelift, which involved the crushing of dolomite boulders and transporting the materials from Cebu province, was heavily criticized, with groups claiming the project was ill-advised and not beneficial to the environment. Some quarters are even blaming the dolomite for the fishkill that occurred near the Baseco compound a few days before the project's opening.