Front row in a cock fight, invited to a eat at a baptism, and watched tigers doing it...yes tigers.
I think Sunday must be the most public day in Metro Manila. People are relaxing outside, playing, throwing celebrations. Street space takes on different uses on a Sunday when pop-up functions are found tucked into side streets- funerals, baptisms, karaoke, drinking, birthday parties, worship.
Although we already know this to be true I am reminded how every object, space in Manila has multiple uses. Mobile, flexible, adaptable.
I also see that there is a certain level of clustering of uses resulting in many tiny "centers" all over the city. This is important not just socially but also because there is an opportunity to recognize these clusters and consider ways of linking them. Today I hardly saw jeepneys; instead even though I was on main roads they were mostly occupied with pedicabs, motorcycles, and bikers. Few private cars were seen through my trip today likely because it is Sunday and people may stay home but this might also mean that people commute within their areas except when they go to work which could be outside their area. This has to be studied but it might be possible then to have mini networks linking smaller centers to medium regional areas, such as markets, that link to larger ones such as a central business district. Jeepneys help meet this need already but I don't think we have a thorough understanding of where, how, and why people are moving around the city.
In Navotas and Malabon there are only a few bridges connecting the two cities even though they share a long waterfront. River transportation should be more developed here; it would relieve traffic on the main roads leading to the few bridges.
Sunday was a good day to start this trip. I was spoiled by the empty, slow streets. There was hardly any traffic except near markets and churches.
Other observations...we need more shade! We've completely forgotten shade when it comes to street and infrastructure design. We know we have strong sun yet we don't plan for it and instead people tie tarps or other erect makeshift extenders. Of all the things I packed I forgot sunblock. I know how a sweet tshirt tan. We have to design shade into street plans to encourage more walking and biking.
No surprise really but we know every neighborhood has a wet market and each district has a large wet market. The waste management and public services in these markets are lacking. The market should be THE most beautiful public area in every neighborhood. It's the easiest way to make everyone's life better- majority of people shop here and the rest will smell it even if they don't.
I saw some great Barangay design on a street called Bangus St in Navotas in Brgy NBBS and I saw good public set backs along the Navotas River.
My overall impression from today is that we have to plan at the Barangay level; better Barangay design will have immense impact and large scale changes for the metropolis.