Things do change for the better

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Monday, January 21, 2013

I WAS in Manila this week-end to attend a meeting of the NON-Timber Forest Products-Task Force.

But it provided the opportunity for me to visit my brothers and sister and get to look around the metropolis. The past year, I often go to the big city but never had the opportunity to travel around. Meetings, meetings, only to go back to my hotel room for a rest.

This time, I arranged my colleagues to stay for one more day so I can mix work with domestic tourism.


What is there to visit in Metro-Manila? For one thing, things are changing fast. The LRT is now connected with the MRT. That means, a tourist can travel around the four cardinal directions. North-South, East-West.

Another is that most of the cities are surprisingly clean, but I'm sure that, despite the ecological solid waste management act, it's still business as usual: collect, transport, dispose. In fact, I have yet to see waste segregation bins.

Well, maybe not since many cities here-like Bacolod-has imposed a ban on sando plastic bags. Even with the receptacles, there is a noticeable decrease in plastic wastes.

One thing that I find disconcerting is the ubiquitous urinals, especially near bus stops. And where there are urinals, there is the unsightly sight of flowing piss, not to mention the stink along the pavement.

Along secondary streets where there are more residential houses (I normally stay in UP Village), the problem is not with piss. It's dog poop. Local governments here should pass an ordinance that dog-owners should learn to clean up their dog's mess like they do it in New York.
And yes, I guess there are signs of economic optimism, with new commercial buildings being constructed.

My brother is one of the worst political skeptics, looking at politicians as one and the same. He's one of my sounding boards to get the pulse on public sentiments.

He's a building contractor, gets to go around his men at the construction site, and then hobnobs with the movers and shakers of different industries.

This time, he's largely all praises for the P-Noy administration, even while acknowledging some flaws in governance.
At any rate, going around Metro-Manila as a local tourist is exciting, if only because there are more than a horrid mess, traffic rules are more strictly enforced, which I can't say the same in Bacolod.

What we normally see on the early news of kotong cops get more coverage, or the latest hot button issue-the Atimonan massacre-are more exceptions than the rule. Yet the bad and the ugly of our law enforcers get the press, the good simply ignored.

To my readers: When you go to Manila, try to look around. Soak in the experience as a newbie in the metropolis, then let's exchange notes.
These are my impressions. And often impressions last longer than the stats.

And, oh, as for the Bacolod-Silay airport, I was pleasantly surprised to see no more flies. Things do change in our world.

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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 21, 2013.


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