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10 little things that go a long way for Cebu City

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

CEBUANOS are quite proud of their city, and could very well get almost downright catty if they hear some criticism they think the city doesn't deserve. Don't get me wrong, I've been guilty of this myself more than once, and I suspect I will be guilty of the same if I ever hear or read some silly criticisms in the future.

Despite this great sense of pride, however, Cebuanos are still aware of the fact that the city still has a long way to go before it can be declared "perfect." For although Cebu is considered a thriving metropolis, and to a certain extent it is, the city is still a far cry from being a veritable paradise. Still, with a few touch ups here and there, our city would be a little lovelier and a lot less inconvenient for the average juans and juanas out there. Case in point, here are 10 little things that I think may benefit Cebu City.

1. Public trash bins

Cebu City trash bin


One of the basic things that everyone would certainly appreciate, may they be locals or tourists, is a clean city. Not only will the place be more camera-ready for visitors, keeping the place clean will also minimize the vermin population and other disease-carrying pests. So yes, it's not enough to just run clean-up campaigns to encourage everyone to participate; we should also make it easier for people to "throw their garbage properly" by providing them the apt tools and resources -- namely public trash bins. Don't you think?

2. Bike racks and bike lanes


If you only have to go a few blocks or just to the nearest 7-Eleven for some late night ice cream, riding your bike would be the more practical and environment-friendly choice. After all, with all talks of global warming and the actual freaky weather we've been experiencing lately, it's indeed a bit difficult to remain apathetic of it all. And not only will you be helping out the city and the planet, you'll also be getting a bit of exercise. But riding on highways where motorists are likely to swerve in and out of lanes without warning, and not having a proper place to park them doesn't exactly invite people to ride their bikes more often. And hey, it is in the manifesto of Movement for a Livable Cebu, so clearly we're not the only ones who think these could benefit us.

3. Benches


It's perfectly understandable that people frequent malls and department stores more often now than in previous years. If it's not scorching hot outside, it's raining bucketfuls of ice water as if the world is getting ready for the second Great Flood. But Cebu still does get those lovely fair days once in a while, when it would be really nice to just sit outside and people watch. Sadly, there's barely anywhere in sidewalks that Cebuanos can park their butts on for a bit of rest. Just think, if you were tired of wandering about Osmeña Blvd. or Jones Avenue, a nice bench where you can rest, text your friend for directions, or check the Google map app would be such a welcome respite.

4. Well-maintained traffic lights

Cebu City traffic lights

Basically, you can't expect people to follow the rules if an important part of doing so is missing. And since the city expects its citizens to respect the many "No Jaywalking" signs and to cross only when the lights are green, then the traffic signs and lights should be working. Right? Even working pedestrian buttons would be a great help. Personally, I depend too much on traffic lights when crossing the streets. So when I find myself in junctions with broken traffic lights, I get the heebie-jeebies before I could actually drum up the courage to take a step across. So yes, working traffic lights on every crossing, for the safety of motorists and pedestrians, would be really great.

5. Public toilets

It may sound a little unpleasant to mention something about bodily functions, but the truth is, they're inescapable human facts. Everybody needs to go to the toilet at one point in time or another. And although, it's not exactly as rare as the Philippine crocodile, they're still mighty difficult to find outside of malls and other business establishments, especially if you're walking down streets in remote areas.

6. More greenery

Cebu City trees

Plants help clean the air because they suck the carbon dioxide and give off oxygen in exchange. Almost every student knows this to be true. So why are\ we taking this amazing scientific fact for granted then? More trees mean more clean air for us, so we should be planting trees in every space we possibly can. Ever wonder why, when you pass by Fuente Circle, that the breeze there feels cooler than anywhere else in the city? Makes you think, doesn't it?

7. Wider sidewalks

Cebu City sidewalk

Although there are sidewalks in the city that are wide enough for a couple of horizontal cartwheels, there are more in which you can barely confidently traipse without fear of getting accidentally razed by a reckless driver. Case in point, that one along Salinas Drive by TESDA -- the sidewalk goes from barely a 1-person space to only-the-gutter space. If you want to be able to walk down that street safely, you'd have to do it across the street. I wouldn't wonder if somebody's toes have fallen victim to some motorist's wheels (or worse) in that area.

8. Revival of Fuente park

Fuente Osmena fountain

Wouldn't it be lovelier to see the fountain actually spew out water instead of just standing there as if it's trying to imitate an obelisk? Not to say that Fuente Park is dead, but the place might as well be since it doesn't do its name justice. In short, Fuente Circle needs a working and well-maintained fountain. Aside from that, the place could also benefit if it had better landscaping, working lampposts, and spanking new benches.

9. Drinking fountains

Considering that the Philippines can be found in the tropics, getting dehydrated while walking out in the streets is not such an improbability. In fact, some people do keep water bottles in their bags. But for people who have no foresight or are just too busy to think about being a girl/boy scout, spying a drinking fountain could be quite a heaven-sent during a scorching afternoon.

10. Proper waiting sheds

Waiting for your jeepney (or taxi, if you can afford it) under the scorching sun can be quite a hassle, especially if you're on your way to work. All that effort to look and smell great for the office can go to waste in just a few minutes of exposure to the sun's heat. So wouldn't it be nice if you could comfortably wait for your ride in a spiffy modern-looking waiting shed? Well actually, there are still places in the city where you can find these temporary commuter havens. However, they are very rare and, more often than not, they are rickety antiquated structures. So yeah, it would be mighty nice if we have these at every jeepney stop. Not only will commuters be more comfy, they would also be more inclined to actually wait for transportation in the right places. A big win-win, if you ask me.

Of course, these are not the only things that could make Cebu great. And in the grand scheme of things, they may not be much at all. But these little things do count, and may pave the way for more important undertakings to materialize for our fair city. (

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