I agree that a lot of your politicians are not doing a good job (to say it diplomaticaly). But it also strikes me (as an outsider) that whatever is done in this country it is criticized.
The SM Mall of Asia is not good because it is a huge ugly box. I agree, but you find them everywhere in the world. Those ugly malls were not invented by Sy senior. He just imported the idea. In the meantime it is good for the economy (and of course for Sy's bank account)and there are additional positive (not only negative!) changes for the neighbourhood. (See what happened in Ortigas with MegaMall)
Ok, those Pasay lights are not beautiful. But beside those lamps (which I consider a detail), can't we find something positive to tell? Is this neighbourhood better than before? Are we moving in the right direction?
Do you remember (one year ago) the Plaza Calderon in front of the Binondo Church? There was a little park (?)full of squatters where the statue of Pipin is located. It was a scary place. Now they cleaned the whole Plaza Calderon. It is far from perfect and with the same money it could have been done in a better way. But it is MUCH MUCH better than before. Do I hear a voice of praise somewhere? (I don't think this was done to please foreign investors.)
What about Rizal avenue between Plaza Fair and Recto? Is this not better looking now?
What about some stretches along the Pasig river? Even the water seems a bit cleaner...
I came in Manila for the first time (as a short time visitor) in 1989 and I live here since mid 2003. And I saw many positive changes in this city and I really have the impression efforts are done to make this city a better place.
It is far from perfect. There is still so much to do but don't forget it is not a small city of 100.000 souls. You have more people in Manila than in the whole of Belgium (population of Belgium +-10 million)