Archive for the ‘Living in Manila’ Category

Men at Work

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Now you see them, now you don’t. When will they ever finish cleaning, repainting our EDSA? Or will it ever get done in the first place? They are usually seen at the busiest streets at the busiest time of the day. This is another cause for the rush hour traffic. And sometimes, going through Ayala Tunnel, there aren’t any warning signs that there’s work in progress. That’s dangerous for them and the motorists. I commend the efforts of making our city clean but I just hope there’s a better way of implementing this.


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

(All photos, including those below, by Nykko Santos, who has put up his new online photo journal.)


The middle of last week was highlighted by a day-long immersion trip at the municipality of Angono in the city of Rizal, the so-called art capital of the Philippines, where scattered were a motley assortment of unheralded visual artistry and heritage sites. We drove to the modish Thunderbird Resorts for a photo shoot, but were more taken by the hotel’s convenient proximity to what no one stuck in Manila might ever discover: a breathtaking view of the lake, beside which were quiet -almost mute- fishing villages; the Petroglyphs Site Museum, where in 1965, National Artist Carlos “Botong” Fransisco stumbled upon a cave with Neolithic (3000 BC) engravings and which is now considered by UNESCO as one of the most endangered sites in the world (very Indiana Jones, archaeologically speaking); and imaginative figure painter Nemesio Miranda’s folkloric Arthouse. Touring the artist’s atelier and visual gallery, we learned that the place was also a venue for workshops, competitions, and exhibits – legitimizing its moniker as the town’s “School for the Arts”. We dined in the evening at the Nemiranda Art CafĂ© Grill & Restaurant. And I had a beer to sedate the dilettante in me, to ward off any manifestations of disproportionate impulsive excitement. That night I wasn’t able to sleep.

Before the weekend, I struck a brief yet very agreeable E-mail correspondence with Manila’s ultimate cicerone, Carlos Celdran. I asked him where I could find the “best little boutique bookseller” in Manila -the La Solidaridad, that is- because I was planning on spending the whole of Saturday acquiring a few good titles I was never able to unearth in any Powerbooks branch or ‘leading bookstore’. He gladly gave me the directions.

The things you can buy at the supermarket

Have these things been available at the supermarket ever since or am I just totally oblivious?



Because We Don’t Need This

May I vent?

I hate banking. I hate banking at the BPI Timog Branch even more. This sounds absurd coming from someone who doesn’t even have his own bank account, none at all in any bank, and I may never have been in the fortunate position to have come in on less hectic days. But there truly must be something wrong when it always takes at least an hour (or more) to encash a single check. Or when none of the tellers are ever online. Or when, during customer transactions, the employees chat as if they are in the midst of a conversation over coffee and cupcakes. Or when while you hear a customer request for something that cannot be granted as per operational procedures, you are forced to think of one more reason to dislike Manila.

Will someone from BPI refute me please? I don’t find pleasure in this seeming denigration of the company. But the school year has just started! It would be of truly great service if people who work at banks recognize and do something to address something just this.

Pasig River Ferry

I’ve been really excited about the Pasig River Ferry ever since I heard about it last April. Finally, I was able to experience it for myself today.

Right now, they only have limited stations: Guadalupe, Hulo, Lambingan, Sta. Ana, PUP & Escolta. It’s a flat rate of Php25 per person (with discounts for Senior citizens and students), and the ride from Guadalupe to Escolta takes about 50 minutes.

More info & pictures after the cut.

Weird Weather

Officially we only have two seasons in Manila – dry, which lasts from October to June and wet for the rest of the months. We experience the most humid weather on summer months which lasts from March to May. The rainy season normally starts from July to September. I guess we are in for a third kind of season. Somebody from PAG-ASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) has got to think of a name for the weather we are currently experiencing – heavy downpour in between a still-summer-hot day.

Less than two weeks ago, PAG-ASA announced the last week of May is already the start of the rainy season. We did experince a lot of rain before the announcement. It was as if the change of season was so abrupt. But then again, where is the rainy season we thought is here already? That could have been a welcome respite from the heat Manila is still experiencing at this point. In any case, it’s best to bring an umbrella with you especially if you are commuting. It also happens that the weather from one city to another is different. It could be scorching hot in Makati but it’s raining wild in Quezon City. Weird weather.

Cleaning up the Pink and Blue

The colors pink and blue may be a strange combination for foreigners but for Manilenos it is easily recognizable as the colors of MMDA. Acting on concerns that mud is tainting these colors, MMDA has acted on cleaning up its ranks by dismissing MMDA officers found guilty of violating their ordinances.

MMDA-Traffic Operation Center Director Angelito Vergel de Dios even assured the public that erring officers will be dismissed after reports from the Department of Agriculture and LTO cited officers extorting drivers of Vegetable and Produce delivery trucks. At the very least, I’m happy that the MMDA and the LTO are acting on these and I hope they clean up their ranks soon.


A few weeks ago, I read in Time magazine (in an article about jogging trails I believe) about how bad air in Manila has become. This quick reader from Inquirer researcher Kate Pedroso shows proof that our air is bad.

I still believe that you can breathe freely in some areas of the city but of the many mornings I pass by the smog filled Makati skyline, I’m beginning to believe that Manila has lost its war on air pollution.

More Information: – Did you know?


(Photos by Nykko Santos.)

Boring. Not tiring enough. Corny. For your dogs only. These were the preconceived notions I carried about Ultimate – or Frisbee, as the sport is more popularly known – before I headed to West Field of Manila Polo Club to cover the Pocari Sweat Ultimate Club Championships.

I didn’t know better.

Tullahan bridge repair work hampered by heavy rain

A few months back we reported that motorists try alternative routes if they’re passing through Tullahan bridge just up north of the Metro. It seems you’ve got to stretch your patience (and budget if your alternative route is NLEX) a little more because the repair work has been hampered by recent heavy rains. Two of the pedestrian overpasses have collapsed from flashfloods and it is expected that DPWH won’t meet the September deadline.

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