You don’t walk leisurely in most places in Manila. Aside from the polluted air, there’s the heat that is inversely proportional with everyone’s patience. Also, you must pave your way through floodwaters whenever it rains and push yourself past impossible human traffic made more congested by sidewalk vendors all the while being alert with your belongings. If you’re really unlucky, you gamble with death embodied in the constant honking of angry motorists because pedestrian lanes simply don’t exist. I think one reason why we have this monster of a traffic is because people hate having to walk so much they want public vehicles to stop exactly where they want to go off, never mind if it’s actually a loading/unloading area as long as they save up a couple of steps.
For someone like me who realized that she actually likes walking, that’s a nightmare. Yes, I enjoy the occasional trip to Quiapo and Recto and Binondo and Taft but I hope for more than that. I imagine a Manila where I can walk to school without fear that my white uniform would turn gray or a riding in tandem will grab my bag. Heck, I’d walk everywhere every day if that were the case. I guess that would only happen if all automobiles suddenly disappear.
But let’s be realistic here, that won’t happen anytime soon (or ever). Thanks to Viva Manila’s flagship project called Intramuros Sunday Pasyal though, General Luna in Intramuros can be enjoyed solely by two feet or two wheels because cars are banned for a day. Instead, there’s a street fair where one can enjoy leisurely strolls with art and food on the side. I think it happens once a month and during our visit last April, Viva Manila partnered with the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions’ (CITEM) Design Week Philippines so it wasn’t only car-free for a day but for the whole weekend!Thanks to the person I can count on when it comes to these kinds of shenanigans for the company and the fellowship. From “ang pogi talaga ni Joong Ki” to “Grabe talaga si Lord no?” real quick 🙂It wasn’t as exciting or vibrant as other street fairs I see on TV or read in books but it’s a start. And the weather was cooperating.I just hope there were more visible bins because some of us are so impatient we can’t seem to hold on to our trash for a few minutes so we throw them anywhere we like.There’s a stall that sells really good lemonade I ended up drinking Trishia’s.I remember a phase when I liked drinking beer so much I made it a point to try every brew I could. I’d even buy from 7-eleven and drink a bottle alone before going to bed. Thankfully it has passed and though I’m still up for a drink, I can’t seem to finish a bottle without feeling funny. Just like in everything, without practice, you become worse. I also can’t talk about the merits of Juan Brew because I don’t want to pretend to know anything about beer and what it’s supposed to taste like based on ingredients etc (there are also beer aficionados out there), I just gulp.Trishia and I sat on a sidewalk with our drinks and watched the afternoon turn into evening while people watching and sharing stories worth the amount of time we haven’t seen each other. There were musicians playing but we were so comfortable with our positions we appreciated their sound from afar. There was also a street art sponsored by Davies Paints and of course we tried our hands on painting the road and even got free shirts for it! As the night progressed, the crowd thickened.Then it was time to go. Hoping for more pasyals in the months and years to come.