Wednesday, February 14, 2007


This was the scene at Quezon Boulevard the other day around four o’clock in the afternoon.

The vehicles on the left lane were heading south to Quiapo Church, while those on the opposite were heading north to Espana, Dimasalang, or Lacson Avenue (formerly Governor Forbes).

On top of the underpass is Claro M. Recto Avenue (formerly Azcarraga), which was surprisingly without that much traffic. Towards its left is Divisoria, while to the right is Morayta and Legarda which leads to Sta. Mesa, Manila.

The train above the avenue is the Metro Light Rail to Cubao. Apparently, the train and the vehicles on the service road near the left lane were the only ones moving; the rest were on a standstill.

If this is how Manila's major thoroughfares can get at any given afternoon, I dread the thought of how it would become another twenty years hence.

Scenes like this at times force me to wonder how Manila was during the peacetime era (before the Second World War). Well, I need not shift my imagination to overdrive for I discovered in Carlos Celdran’s blogsite a seven-minute Google video link showcasing how beautiful the city was during that time. Check it out for yourself and enjoy it.

Click here for the Old Manila video.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 10:04 PM


Blogger Kyels said...

I like the photo!


By the way, Happy Hearts Day to you!

February 14, 2007 10:43 PM  

Blogger Photo Cache said...

i miss the busy atmosphere of manila, but i wouldn't mind missing all these sitting in traffic and stewing in my own juices :)

Happy Valentine's Day.

February 14, 2007 10:55 PM  

Blogger Noypetes said...

"Dizzying Manila traffic flow"

That's the corner where the Cinerama moviehous is, and right behind the theater used to be a dry goods and textile market. The building used to also house the military surplus goods store.

I saw that pre-war Manila clip. My parents told me about the "Meralco TranVia" (electric rail cars) which was booted obsolete by the influx of American cars. Doesn't it remind you of pictures from Havana, Cuba?

February 14, 2007 11:25 PM  

Blogger carlotta said...

one thing i like about going to work so early is that it only takes me about ten minutes by car through ortigas. =) in the afternoon it takes me an hour if i pass through the same avenue, no thanks to lsgh. so i always use the mrt =)

oh yeah, my other blog is now updated, so just click on my name. =)

February 15, 2007 5:22 AM  

Anonymous jhay said...

What else can your expect? It's Manila! :D

February 15, 2007 6:18 AM  

Blogger Senorito<- Ako said...

Isetann recto shot ?? :)

Here in wellington, my work starts 8:30am. Sometimes I take the 8:40am bus and arrive 9:00 am at work. Traffic is pretty bad here as well :) NOT !

February 15, 2007 6:41 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Kyels! Hope you post a similar pic about your city :)

February 15, 2007 6:46 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Sitting in Manila's traffic is no ideal situation for anyone, Photo Cache. However, one gets caught in it unaware sometimes, but I manage to always keep a cool head and sing along with the music on the radio.

February 15, 2007 6:49 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Right you are, Noypetes! And plenty of arnis sticks in those military shops as well!

And yes, old Manila looked like Havana as I've seen on pictures. Come to think of it, the El Moro section of San Juan, Puerto Rico resembles much of Intramuros!

February 15, 2007 6:54 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

In NYC, Carla, last job I had I started work at seven am and leave at 3pm. I loved walking around that early in Manhattan because everything was fresh and newly-cleaned and very few people around. That I miss :)

February 15, 2007 6:56 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And I'm sure you can say the same about your beloved Cavite, Jhay! :D

February 15, 2007 6:58 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Yes, this picture I shot through one of the windows of its parking area, S.A.! Actually, I was hassled by a security guard and told to stop taking pictures, but I paid him no mind. I wasn't about to waste this photo opp!

Jeff Vergara of Dubai Chronicles once posted pics of Dubai and I was amazed how modern their highways and best of all no traffic -- much like where you are, huh?

February 15, 2007 7:03 AM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

Oh,creepy. It's the thought of an ambulance getting caught amid such traffic that comes to my mind whenever I see a picture like this.

February 15, 2007 8:29 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Perish the thought as wise folks would say, S.A., because in this instance, we know darn well that there is no other option but to airlift.

February 15, 2007 8:32 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

oops, I meant ... Rhoda.

February 15, 2007 8:33 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

A very clever picture with the speeding train and the traffic jam beneath it.
The situation can only worsen in the future if no alternative ways of commuting are put in place.
Extend the network of the MRT and LRT, etc. The new Ferry on the Pasig River is a step in the good direction. Where are those famous biker’s lanes?

February 15, 2007 8:34 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Sidney. I know I'll get lots of flak from what I'm about to say -- eliminate the jeepneys and FX cabs, and create a much more efficient and safe mass transit system such as using more buses; that is, besides upgrading the number of our trains. And yes, develop our waterway ferry systems as well.

Also create an MMDA-like organization whose sole intention is to assure the utmost safety of our commuters.

Actually, all these are what move millions of NYC commuters.

February 15, 2007 8:50 AM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

Agree ako diyan sa idea mo, Eric. Kaya lang maraming "masasagasaan" (no pun here) like the jeepney drivers and operators who will be misplaced if ever such transport system you are saying is adopted.

February 15, 2007 9:14 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Ayon na nga, Rhoda. Kanya hanggang di natin malutos yan, walang pagbabago and mass transit natin dito sa Metro Manila. But if push comes to shove, we should install Bayani Fernando to spearhead this program, too.

February 15, 2007 9:25 AM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

Yup.. Bayani Fernando is the best guy for such project. Hope he stays at the MMDA. The Senate or Malacañang can wait. :)Good day, Eric!

February 15, 2007 9:35 AM  

Blogger Bugsy said...

When I was still teaching, I'd go to Manila for a few days to visit my students who were reviewing for the board exams. Their review school is on F. Cayco St. and Espana, almost in front of UST. Since I live in Pasay, we'd take the Jones Bridge route and I'd usually find myself caught in a traffic along the area taken in your photo. I'd be trapped there for sometimes nearly 20 to 30 minutes and I'd always end up sighing, "Haaay, Manila!"

February 15, 2007 11:10 AM  

Blogger BW said...

It's a scary thought when you think that 20 years later, the population of Manila will have doubled. God forbid - how are you going to handle all these cars and where will people live ? Proper urban planning is certainly much to be desired but on the other hand how can you plan when you don't have a handle on population control?

February 15, 2007 12:49 PM  

Blogger carlotta said...

i love the video. it's one of my wishes that i know will never come true--to live during those golden years in manila.

February 15, 2007 2:09 PM  

Anonymous LAR said...

I love the photo, very much! Plus the B/W effect. There are possible solutions in our traffic problem and the first thing we must all have is discipline but unfortunately, even the higher authorities don't have that. :( Kawawang Pilipinas!

February 15, 2007 7:29 PM  

Anonymous sexy mom said...

it will take a hell of political will to eliminate the jeepneys (just like how it is to eliminate squatting). this is the reason why we as a nation cannot move forward. enough of the bickering now. how i would like to see another photo in the same location next year and the next and the next.

belated happy valentine's day, senor

February 15, 2007 10:36 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Quite a common story now it seems, Bugsy, to find oneself wasting another half or full hour more to one's usual commute here in Manila. Believe it or not, whenever I have an appointment, I almost always allocate an hour extra for travel time. Nothing worse for me than to be stuck in traffic and worry that I am getting late for something.

But as I've responded to Jhay's comment, this is also a common sight outside of Manila nowadays.

February 16, 2007 6:31 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That is one other sensitive issue you've brought up, BW -- population control -- which makes effective urban planning a major headache. You know who you'll be up against if ever you open this issue.

February 16, 2007 6:34 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Carla! We share the same wishes! How I'd love to experience old Manila as shown in that video. But then again, off course, I'd better be fluent in Spanish as well :)

February 16, 2007 6:36 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many thanks, LAR. I took this photo under the menaing glare an repeated orders from a security guard to stop taking pictures. Now, how could I possibly let this photo opp slide by?

I guess, as the old political adage goes, "You cannot have a good government without good people." That means our masses must really become more objective than clannish in their thoughts and actions.

February 16, 2007 6:39 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You are right, Dine -- political will is the prime solution. But alas! It could only have been accomplished under a dictatorship rule -- back in the 70s and 80s maybe while the first lady was busily building structures to usher in the country's New Society.

February 16, 2007 6:42 AM  

Anonymous Toe said...

Great photo Senor Enrique. Makes me tremble with fear about going back to Manila though. :) It must have quadrupled during Valentine's Day.

February 16, 2007 10:45 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Toe!

It was undoubtedly a very unusual sight -- both sides of Quezon Boulevard with bumper-to-bumber traffic even before the expected rush. It would always be the side heading to Quiapo Church that would always be snarled in traffic -- both during the morning and evening rush period.

February 16, 2007 12:55 PM  

Blogger eye said...

great shot and an unusual perspective, akalain mo yun sa traffic na yan eh nakakuha ka pa ng magandang shot... kung ako yan mukmok na kung paano uuwi sa sobrang traffic hehe!

pati pala sa area na yan eh mahigpit ang mga security guards re: taking photos! buti hindi inagaw ang cam mo.

happy hearts' day, belated :)

February 16, 2007 5:38 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Eye!

This parking area is not as big as those of SM's so most of the guards know me, at least by face, as a regular customer of their supermarket. This one who approached me was rather new and he remained cordial throughout without putting his hands on me.

I had just gone over to your site. You have some wonderful photographs ! Thanks for visiting; I'll be visiting yours regularly from now on :)

February 16, 2007 7:20 PM  

Anonymous treu said...

Haven't been home for 16 years. Have worked at Makati and EDSA Mandaluyong from 1980 to 1990 and traffic at EDSA and Makati were terrible then. Hoping against hope something can be done about this traffic problem. I've watched the video on old Manila. Can only sigh and say "those were the days". Thanks.

February 17, 2007 2:18 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Much has changed since you left, Treu. And from what I understand, traffic is just so horrendous in Makati as well that most businesses have been moving to Fort Bonifacio in Taguig.

February 17, 2007 5:57 AM  

Anonymous Ferdz said...

Wah! Grabe talaga traffic that day. Pero sulit itong shot mo. Very nice monochrome

February 17, 2007 9:54 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Ay talaga, Ferdz! Tulad ng sabi ko, ang papuntang Quiapo lang laging matrapik pero noong araw na iyon parehong direksyon barado ng sasakyan! Too much!

February 18, 2007 5:51 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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