Street Dreams

Friday, June 16, 2017


It ticks me off when a pedicab driver demands for additional amount to the standard fare. Fifty pesos – I should have just taken a cab, That's more than the flag down already. But then I ask myself, if I were to pedal hard under the scorching heat for someone I don't know, even if I get paid with 300 pesos, I still wouldn't do it. If I would do it and got paid with 50 pesos — Noo! Just the thought of it diminishes all the annoyance I feel towards the pedicab driver.

Back in college, I once ranted to my dad. My 50-peso fare could buy me some basic milk tea already. Then he told me,"Your basic milk tea could buy a meal for his family already."

Encounters like this stir up empathy. I get to talk to folks from all walks of life and watch how they live. I get to take part in their day. It makes me stop fancying about those yellow cab rides in New York City - which at that point felt all surreal, haha! It is always a beautiful feeling. It feels right to be grounded and to be awakened to the reality of others. For this exact reason, I have grown fondness in walking, commuting, tracing alleys and streets around the city despite the chaos. Of course this wasn't the case few years ago. I used to be very lazy, and I would rather Uber from here and there. I lived right where I study or work. After all, it's Manila and it's sizzling 30 degrees hot most days. But I must say this has been one of the best habits that I've developed.

Now, I walk to and from work everyday. I bike around the hood during weekends. I get to small talk with random Kuyas or Ates. Hang out with street kids if I have more time.. Feast on street food. Spend time "people-watching". And of course, get catcalled endlessly. No matter what the streets may bring, I realised that all great thoughts and understanding are conceived when I'm walking, Not just walking, but walking and being out there! It is such a nice way to begin and end the day.
My daily walk is always interesting. Along the way I get to see seeimingly the same things every single day. Yet I learned that if I look closer, I could distinguish the changes that each new day brings.

The stray dog that lies on this same spot looked a little more lifeless than yesterday.  
The vendor didn't open his colourful umbrella today. 
That Kuya guard is on his morning shift. 
These construction workers look so tired this early in the morning. Why? Because they have been working all night.
This little compilation has been inspired by this favourite habit. I share this thread hoping that this will somehow show you that it is actually more fascinating than inconvenient.. Haha! I may not really convince you, I know, as it is really a tough choice. I'm not really asking you walk to work, but at least find some time to go outthere once in a while. (just like what you'd probably do when you're abroad or somewhere not your own.) Here, try to look at our own city differently. Breeze through the hassle, the inconvenience. I promise, the sights and encounters are worth it! :) Enjoy!

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