Went on a Pasig River Heritage Walk organized by Renacimiento Manila.
We started at Plaza Lawton in front of the Manila Post Office, crossed part of the Jones Bridge, and ended up at the First United Building along Escolta.
The walk showed me how small Manila can be on foot, even for someone disabled like myself, and how car-centric roads take away not just from the enjoyment of the city, but also from other, sometimes easier, ways to get from point A to point B (I’m still mad that they had to permanently close the Plaza Mexico ferry stop).
We stopped by many historic art deco buildings, some still in use, some, like the Capitol Theater, getting ready to be torn down.
It’s evident that a lot of people don’t value history enough to save even just a facade of it.
Walks like this make me sad because you get a glimpse of the Manila that was, and what it could have been had, maybe, WWII hadn’t happened, or had we had more historically-minded leaders. So many what ifs.
And the trend continues. The path we took constituted some of the areas that would be affected if plans to build an expressway over the Pasig River pushes through. All these small communities, all the flora (and unseen fauna) that thrive in the area will be affected in a negative way. If you’ve seen the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, or have read about the US’s historic and near-mythical Route 66, or have seen the Pixar animation Cars, you’ll know that expressways don’t build communities, they destroy them.
I’m glad that there are organizations like this, staffed by volunteers, who not only dream of a walkable city, but who also take great pains to allow others to experience the joy of being able to navigate through one, and to show them what could be if we ask for it loud enough.
If you’ve been overseas, you know how the most progressive cities are ones where people can walk, bike, and take public transportation with ease. Don’t we want that for ourselves?