Manila sidewalks

Walking from my office to C’s — sidewalks are narrow and everything is not very pedestrian-friendly. But like Ron says, you get used to the concrete, the smells, the puddles, the urban decay.

First is the odd smell of the creek. There is a tiny karenderia right beside the creek (is it a creek, really? There’s a bit of water down there, and it’s too small to be anything like a river). I’m sure they don’t pay to sell food there.

Then the sidewalk with its surface chipping off. Sometimes you have to either stop to let someone else pass, or walk on the road next to a car hopefully slowing down because the walkway is too narrow. It’s next to the MMDA Impounding Area and I’ve always wondered why they never bothered to smoothen the bumps and fix the road that pedestrians have to walk through right in front of the entrance.

There are faded lines of what-had-been-a-pedestrian-lane once. I’m never sure if it’s legally permitted to cross at that section of the street, but the sidewalk runs out if I walk further so I decide to cross there instead. I find myself under the fly-over, a little neat it is except it never looks friendly. Another set of faded lines can faintly be seen across, and this is the path I take to go to the other side.

If the pedestrian walkways aren’t narrow, it’s very uncomfortable to walk on. The cobblestones that they must have thought was decorative is unmerciful to anyone who wears heels. The rest of Ortigas is just as unforgiving.

Beneath the yellow overpass, there used to be some kind of office. Maybe somebody lived there. It used to be decorated with potted plants. Not anymore though. The walls have been pulled down and the plants gone and there were no more voices to indicate habitation.

This isn’t Makati with its flat and spacious sidewalks, and most of the time I miss the connected walkways. This is Ortigas, where the pedestrian areas have been abandoned to unpleasant smells and deterioration.


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