A Walk on Taft Avenue (image heavy)

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by olli, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    One of the streets in my neighbourhood is named for William Howard Taft who, in addition to being President of the US and Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, was the first civilian Governor General of the Philippines after the Philippines came under US rule following the Spanish American war. The avenue is not much to look at, being dominated by the concrete pillars and trackway of the LRT-1 rail line, but it is a fascinating place to take a walk.

    I set out along Harrison Street. There are lots of little businesses towards the end of the street, including this hardware store which sells mostly lengths of metal piping and metal plates. Business was quiet at this time of the day.

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    Not much demand for aircon either, and even the corner store, usually busy, was quiet.

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    At the end of Harrison a left turn takes me onto Epifanio de los Santos Avenue aka EDSA. EDSA runs in a semicircle across Metro Manila and is probably the expat driver's biggest challenge. At this end, and at this time of day, it's reasonably quiet. Usually it's a combination of gridlock and dodgems.

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    From the overpass looking back three of Manila's famous jeepneys are turning from EDSA onto Harrison. You'll notice that they are all trying to make the turn at the same time three abreast. Tough on anyone coming the other way on the two lane Harrison. The 'PUJ' sign is an instruction to jeepney drivers to take another route. Signs often don't mean much here.

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    A short way down EDSA it's another left turn onto Taft. This corner is wonderfully chaotic. As well as LRT-1 the MRT-3 light rail line terminates here and there's a constant flow of people coming and going. Once at ground level jeepneys, pedicabs, tricycles and taxis compete for passengers.

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    A little further down the avenue things calm down and one side of the street is transformed into a long line of small shops selling fresh veg, bananas, melons, eggs, rice, spices, dried fish and plenty of stuff I don't recognise.

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    The ubiquitous jeepneys serve as transport for goods as well as people, here loaded to the ceiling with coconuts and bananas, and loaded up top with yet more bananas.

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    And everywhere, of course, smiling people.

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    A little further along towards Arnaiz Avenue I come to the Pasay City Mall and Market. Outside, the tricycle riders line up waiting for the shoppers.

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    Inside, I take a walk through the wet market. There's plenty of chicken on sale, every part of the bird including trays of chicken feet which seem to be more trouble than they're worth. Or you can visit Cristy's Pork Place. Or you can go for fish, so fresh that they are still flopping about on the table.

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    Now I'm out on Arnaiz Avenue. At this point I'm running out of steam. The temperature is somewhere in the 90's; so is the humidity. It's time to put the camera away and head for a shower and a cold beer. A short walk takes me to Harrison and I'm back to base.
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  2. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Very cool. I notice the amazing amounts of electrical and data wires overhead.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Yes. Up to now Tirana was the craziest I'd ever seen but it that was nothing compared to this, On the overhead walkways as you walk up the steps the bunches of cable are run through the gaps in the steps. You can reach out and touch them. I've no idea how anyone knows what cable does what but clearly it all works. I came across this guy working on some of them in a nearby street. He just rested his ladder on the tangle of cables and up he went.

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    • Like Like x 1
  4. donlaw

    donlaw SC All-Pro

    Sep 14, 2012
    Nice photos and story. Thanks for sharing. The market photos are may favorites.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Oh dear god. That's so incredibly bad, for so many reasons, not least of which is the extra strain on the cable anchors. 90% of those are data cables, which aren't going to kill anyone, but the big one is a transmission line of decent voltage. Making that one angry would be a first-class ticket to see the inside of a hospital room. Or a pine box.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    seeing the word "heavy" in a thread title along with William Howard Taft made me giggle a bit and recall this tidbit about our most obese president......

    "While he was in the Philippines, disturbing reports about his health caused Secretary of War Root to send a cabled inquiry. Taft cabled back that he was perfectly all right -- he had just finished a twenty-five-mile horseback ride and was feeling fine. Root read that, smiled, and sent off another cable of solicitude: 'How is horse?'"
    • Like Like x 1
  7. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Haaaa ha ha ha ha
  8. Covey22

    Covey22 SC Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 3, 2012
    I haven't been down Taft Avenue since I was the last graduating class out of De La Salle Grade School before they closed - on the grounds of the University. Great to see the old stomping grounds. I almost (almost) miss the claustrophobic Jeepney rides up and down. Of course, at the time, the LRT wasn't even a dream in the corrupt local politicians' agendas. :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  9. RT Panther

    RT Panther SC All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
    Looks like a good walk - thanks for sharing!
    • Like Like x 1
  10. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus Subscribing Member

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    Interesting stuff - I often wonder why the Phillipines does not have more tourism like most other Asian countries.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    I think part of it is that it's not 'exotic' enough for Western tourists. They speak English and they're mostly Catholic, so no exotic scripts or amazing shrines, temples and such. Manila was almost totally destroyed during WWII, with over 100,000 dead so there's very little left of the old city and the rebuilding job wasn't exactly a triumph of urban planning and careful reconstruction. Add in a crazy old dictator like Marcos, sucking the place dry while other regional dictators were at least making a bit of an effort and you have a bad combination. Right now there's a big tourism campaign underway 'It's more fun in the Philippines' and the tourist authorities are definitely pushing hard to get the country on the map. Most tourists who come here aren't coming to see Manila though. There are over 7,000 islands making up the country, which translates to miles and miles of beaches and some spectacular diving.

    The Economist and the World Bank both think the country is on the up; in fact the WB President said that it could be 'the next economic miracle in Asia". No doubt tourism will be a growing sector as the economy develops and the infrastructure improves. Right now, though, I quite like being the only foreigner wandering the streets in my neighbourhood.
    • Like Like x 2
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