The Hazards of City Treks

I am resigned to the fact that Manila is a city not made for walking. This was after I tried the long overpass trek in Ortigas the other day, an exhausting ten-minute walk above ground, underneath flyovers, overlooking urban pits, not to mention the city smog along a craftily laid out pedestrian bridge that defied the initial intricacies of flyovers. Indeed, the walkways mimicked the panorama aspired for by city highways. Yet in place of the urbanscape mirage facilitated by vehicular speed on the flyovers, the view from the walkway was a sordid revelation, that of aborted progress.  I came from the buzz of commuter hub Cubao and reached Galeria via the flyover route. Fleeing the taxi queue, I opted for the walkway leading to three destinations – Northbound along Edsa, Southbound across the mall and to POEA which is a short distance across. The early afternoon summer heat was a shock compared to the mall’s perpetual cool air blast. The juncture which I most disliked was the long stretch under the highways overhead. I am of average height sans heels but vehicular vibrations about a feet and a half above my skull was enough to trigger nightmarish imagination. From darkness into light, one is welcomed by the bleak POEA building to one’s left and yet another artery of paths to one’s right. One led south to San Juan, the other towards Pasig. The view is traffic at a standstill, a corner of Edsa unofficially claimed by buses as a temporary loading station. Adjoining Edsa is the most intriguing, unexpected view in the midst of a business and commercial district juncture. It is of an eternal urban pit of abandoned construction and untamed shrub growth, a building project long abandoned but whose gaping presence is seeming index of what this city is loathe to become.
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