andrecityKjerrimyr Rodrigo Andrés is a happy 17 year-old Filipino political science student from Ateneo de Manila University.


I blog about Manila, urbanism, and everything else in between. Manila is my playground and I stand for heritage conservation, responsible and sustainable urban planning, and better quality of life for my fellow Filipinos.

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Pasig River: The Spring of the Tagalog Civilization

Last Saturday afternoon, after the Heritage Conservation Society-Youth meeting, we decided to take the Pasig River Ferry Service by the MMDA. Going through the Pasig was an exceptional experience full of reflections in urbanism, heritage, and people.

We waited for at least fifteen minutes inside Escolta Ferry Station and I really wondered why it took so long. It may be because it doesn’t have many passangers; therefore, I immediately dismissed my idea of using this one as a current commuter solution or an alternative way of going to Manila from Pasig City. It can be an alternative travel suggestion, but it would take regular passengers, tourists, and more infrastructure for this to happen.

The first glorious landmark that we saw was the post station. It stands marvelously on the edge of the riverbanks of Ermita and a cleaner river and more organized surroundings would speed up the plans for the adaptive reuse for this historic building to become a hotel.

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One can also see the whole southern stretch of buildings in Escolta and I really wonder why they would not develop Muelle del Banco Nacional like the quays in Singapore.

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What was very surprising was the sight under Quezon Bridge where there are children swimming in the river, a scene virtually kept secret until you pass by through them. It’s a picturesque, yet poorly maintained bridge — especially if one would pass it by walking. It would be really nice to again confidently swim and do other activities in the bridge without worrying about everything, just like the bygone era.image

We saw Torre de Manila. It made us angry, but we also laughed at it. Like Clara said, laughing is a coping mechanism of Filipinos.

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It is really sad to see the river being unattractive. The putrid smell of the river might be an exaggeration, but the most ugly parts of the river, for me, are the sights on the banks of the river. Seeing old pictures of stone mansions that line up the river and very active human activity along the river banks make me sad. Today, river activity along the Pasig is seen as an activity done by tambays and the underprivileged. 

After Binondo, Sta. Cruz, and Quiapo disctricts came San Miguel. It is a district with still existing Spanish-era mansions and of course, the most popular house in all of Philippine history, Malacañang  Palace. It was prohibited to take photographs even near the house of former Governors General of the Spanish and American era and the Philippine Presidents, but because I’m quite the rebel, YOLO.

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Happy Mabini 150! This is Mabini (formerly Nagtahan) Bridge.

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Another characteristic of Pasig River along Pandacan is the presence of oil depots. Not only the pose danger to the community, but they also pose danger against the river. Like what I said in my post, they should move them elsewhere and convert these areas as parks and make infrastructure to bring back culture and arts in Pandacan.

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Before the slow bus ferries, these were the original ferries:

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Along Sta. Ana area.

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It was interesting to still see green areas beside the river. However, looking in Google Maps, this area is just an underdeveloped back area of some factory. How disappointing. However, honesty, children happily swimming and waving at us gives me hope. Above all else, I really love seeing people having fun. 

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The banks of the river are pretty much uninviting. Aside from the chaotic nature along the banks of the river, there are these concrete/steel barriers that generally line up the river. Probably their purpose would be to make people avoid the ”dead” river, and I really hope that the river would come back to life so that these barriers would be removed and people would once again interact more with the river.

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The ferry was so slow that sunset is beginning to form as we exit Manila and enter Makati.

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This is obviously Makati:

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This is obviously isn’t:

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Scenes like these make me really reflect about the social realities everywhere in the Philippines. The squalor are really literally in the margins, and the live dangerous lives, being the first ones who are struck by floods or natural soil erosions. To some extent, it may be their fault because they cannot come out of poverty, but to a larger and more crippling extent, there are social limitations and constraints present, many times, due to the greed of some.

Our last destination was Guadalupe Station. This sight that surprised us, I gave it a caption: Neseye ne eng lehet:

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I really don’t have against Daniel Padilla, but I am really against oversized advertising, which makes Metro Manila really less appealing and unsightly.

Scattered around the river are signs crying for the revival of the historical waterway. Some of these signs are attached to politicians, while others looked like painted by river activists. The river that gave the Tagalogs life really cries for its revival right now.

And that’s the end of the journey. The said cradle of the Tagalog Race was once considered by Burnham comparable to the winding river of Seine as he planned the city to be even more beautiful. The tributaries made Manila the Venice of the East. However, withe condition of the river today, honestly, those monikers, Venice and Paris of the East, are now really hard to imagine. It is as if I gravely cast doubts over those beautiful pictures with people even bathing in the river. A once clean and beautiful river, it now screams for help from the same people who used as well as tarnished the river. For me, it’s not really dead yet. The rover still flows, and because of it, it gives me hope that the rio grande still has the potential to become the glorious river it once used to be.

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Flood Report: puddle deep flooding in #MRT car #8#MarioPH pic.twitter.com/2DDv8BYYLY
via Philippine Railways/FB

Flood Report: puddle deep flooding in #MRT car #8#MarioPH pic.twitter.com/2DDv8BYYLY

via Philippine Railways/FB

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It’s quite rare to spot lush, green spaces in Manila. They’re usually located in tiny parks or in private areas, as if they almost don’t exist at all. Uncontrolled urban sprawl has diminished open spaces where people could enjoy. This is Plaza Moriones, just in front of Fort Santiago. If ever future mayors of Manila would like to create big parks in Manila, they have to demolish houses and buildings for these open spaces, which means major reconfigurations of the city, and these require intense political will.

It’s quite rare to spot lush, green spaces in Manila. They’re usually located in tiny parks or in private areas, as if they almost don’t exist at all. Uncontrolled urban sprawl has diminished open spaces where people could enjoy. This is Plaza Moriones, just in front of Fort Santiago. If ever future mayors of Manila would like to create big parks in Manila, they have to demolish houses and buildings for these open spaces, which means major reconfigurations of the city, and these require intense political will.

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Katipunan traffic 7:52 AM via @MMDA

Katipunan traffic 7:52 AM via @MMDA

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Moro Lorenzo Football Field, Ateneo de Manila University

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Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) opened intersections in place of u-turn slots to solve traffic in Katipunan Avenue (C5). What people experienced early this morning, which is probably going up until now, is probably the worst traffic Katipunan has ever experienced. Many students and teachers from the Ateneo were unusually late, although many said that this would be only a transition period. I honestly believe that this worse state of traffic will last until the general improvement of traffic in Metropolitan Manila. MMDA should stop doing band-aid solutions like truck lanes and re-configuring of roads. It should be given more power, probably as a governor-like position in Metropolitan Manila, for them to implement longer-lasting solutions that subscribe to public transportation, bicycling, and pedestrianization.

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[SATIRE] DMCI to Advertise Projects on Philippine Banknotes
MANILA, Philippines — DMCI Homes announced today a joint collaboration between the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) that would see the release of new banknotes promoting various projects of the real estate developer.
“The media exposure of Torre De Manila that resulted in widespread public awareness of our project prompted us to look for more unique ways to desecrate national figures,” said DMCI president Isidro Consumi.
(source)

[SATIRE] DMCI to Advertise Projects on Philippine Banknotes

MANILA, Philippines — DMCI Homes announced today a joint collaboration between the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) that would see the release of new banknotes promoting various projects of the real estate developer.

“The media exposure of Torre De Manila that resulted in widespread public awareness of our project prompted us to look for more unique ways to desecrate national figures,” said DMCI president Isidro Consumi.

(source)

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