Metro Manila - the City of the Filipinos that Never Sleeps

They say that, like the big New York City, “the city never sleeps”. Well, that applies to Philippine cities too. In the eyes and ears of a businessman, this looks and sounds so true. Just think of shops like 7-11, Mini Stop, and Mercury Drugs – these are some of the stores here in the Philippines that attends to the Filipino needs day and night. The lights are lit, air-conditioning units are on, and the door is open 24/7 to customers. And for workers on graveyard or night shifts, stores like these are the places to go – to grab a hot coffee or bite a piece of bread.

Metro Manila at Night Time

Metro Manila
In the Philippines, that call name or nickname of the city is very much applicable to Metro Manila. For instance, car engines are roaring, red lights are flashing, the traffic lights are blinking, and street lights are shining in this gigantic city from sunset till dawn. This is an indication that Filipinos are also ready to conquer the nights in order to survive, earn a living, and fulfill their ambitions. But what exactly happens during those cold and long nights, if not dark and stormy ones, to people walking, commuting, working, and keeping their eyelids open in this capital city of the Philippines? In this blog, the answers, you’ll get to find it out.

Here are some more photos of Metro Manila at night.




Metro Manila is a gigantic city, consisting of 16 cities - Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Taguig, Makati, Manila, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, and Muntinlupa. I’ve been into a few of these cities and I could say that city life is pretty much the same in these cities. What I mean by that, you’ll understand it better as we go on.

Metro Manila, Philippines

But for you to get to understand better what’s becoming engulfed by the dark sky of the nights in Metro Manila, let’s tour for a moment some of the alleys, roads, neighborhoods, districts and highways of the megacity in broad day light.


C-5 Road
C-5 Road or Circumferential Road 5 is one of the busiest roads or highways in Metro Manila, next to EDSA. This road is connecting the south and north cities of Metro Manila. The 32.5 kilometers road is passing through the cities of Valenzuela, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Makati, Taguig and Parañaque. And like EDSA, C-5 is a heavy-traffic highway stretch. Here’s what it looks like at night.



Here is C-5 during the day.



EDSA
Well, as mentioned earlier, EDSA or the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue is where the heaviest of all traffic flow lies. But while the highway is well-known for that negative attribute, EDSA has built (and continuously building) the nation’s dream over the past several decades. Day and night, EDSA is catering hundreds of thousands of utility and private vehicles, millions of passengers, thousands of vendors and businesses along its sides, and probably countless number of Filipino workers walking along its lights-on and lights-off alleys. Here is EDSA at daytime.



Here is EDSA during the night.


Citing the two highways is a perfect reference point for one to better understand how Metro Manila really operates in the dark. A bird’s eye view of these long roads will give you an idea that along its exit and entry points, road banks, and parallel towns and barangays, are busy people enduring the hardships of living and working in a city that never sleeps. Indeed, it is actually the people that never sleeps. While that sounds metaphorical in a way, since we people definitely has to sleep to live, a city needs workers, police authorities, and leaders for it to serve the needs of its stakeholders during the night.


Metro Manila in the Dark
Undeniably, Metro Manila at night is full of people from different walks of life – mainly security guards, drivers, vendors, traffic enforcers, jeepney barkers, store crews, and even of our unfortunate comrades – the beggars, junk collectors, and city dwellers. Everybody is keeping themselves awake for a certain reason or definite purpose. During this dark time in the city is where you can hear stories you might have never heard before. Listen, then. In the cities of Metro Manila are where disco bars, gay bars, men’s club, motels, casinos and sex dens (small time or big time) are operating in the middle of the night. Sadly, over and under bridges are where you will find families cooking their dinner, spending their nights waiting for almost nothing but the sunrise. In the dark nights of this magnificent city is where untoward incidents are happening – theft, robbery, pickpocket, hold-up, drug trades, etc. A proof that such incidents happens is this signage posted by the Philippine National Police (PNP).



In this next photo, the bus named "Safeway" is overloaded with passengers in an unsafe situation.



Still not mentioned here are Filipinos’ sacrificing in falling in lines, queuing up, and long-time waiting for their turns to ride that vehicle on their way homes. This situation happens during rush hours at night, six in the evening and six in the morning. And more likely, if you’re a Filipino, you’ve been into situations like these many many times. Yours truly had experienced those brain-exploding, temper-blowing moments too, a lot of times. You do not want to experience it again, but that is a wish in the well. It would never happen today. As what most workers in Manila says, “Traffic, siksikan sa sasakyan, bahagi na ng buhay yan” (Traffic, overcrowding in vehicles, that is part of life).

MRT Passengers Lining Up

Bus Passengers Lining Up

DFA Asean Passport Applicants Lining Up

Apologies if you were disappointed with how the story in this blog goes, but carefully and surely, those were spoken for a positive purpose. And that is what I want to discuss next.


A Big Hope is Above Us
Filipinos’ persistence and industriousness are keys to surviving the sometimes lonely, often heavy-traffic and always unpredictable nights of Metro Manila. That after the dark, Filipino call center agents, jeepney, taxi and bus drivers, security guards, and police officers are walking, commuting or driving home with a smile on their faces. In the other side of the story is hope – a big hope for the Filipinos.

The Sky of Hope is Above Metro Manila

Metro Manila is a fast-growing city, that even politicians are fighting to get a seat in the city’s office with that hope to serve the Manileños and of course enjoy the benefits the city’s budget could provide. This is in a way not a hunger for power, at least to a few politicians with clean intentions to lead. A dozen or two of our political leaders are still looking forward to a progressive Metro Manila. While some of the streets across the megacity can no longer accommodate both people and vehicles, our government officials are still not tired in finding alternative solutions. Major roads and highways, in fact, are under construction right at this moment. Laws to lower taxes, lower basic commodity prices, and keep everyone safe day and night are being enacted, if not yet implemented.

A Megacity Development Plan


That story of the city that never sleeps in the Philippines would not (and never would) end here. Progress is on its way, and that is for sure. Just to name a few, Bonifacio Global City, Eastwood City, and Pasay City are making headlines in terms of city development and improvement projects. Such model cities would be the pattern in creating safe, conducive and people-friendly places within and even outside Metro Manila.

What does this mean to you and to the millions of Filipinos?

Cities of Hopes
In a long-term view, building engineered cities like these could mean less heavy-traffic, short time of commuting, safe walkways along neighborhoods, more clean and accommodating public utility jeepneys and buses, affordable fares, and a much better standard of sanitation and cleanliness inside and outside the places we work. In a short-term perspective, you can right away visit these model cities and enjoy the services it could offer. I mean, why not visit the parks in BGC or feel calm and relax inside Eastwood Mall? Why not try to go for a drive along Macapagal Avenue to see for yourself the modern buildings of City of Dreams. If you would be applying for a passport in DFA Aseana, well, you may somehow experience good government services. Passport processing nowadays would only take an hour or two, unlike years ago where a day is not enough.

Or why not enjoy staring at these wonderful photos of the futuristic cities of Metro Manila, at least for now.

Pasay City, Philippines

Eastwood City, Philippines

Bonifacio Global City, Philippines

If there is one message this blog post wants to clearly imparts, that is:

May the spirit of nationalism, collaboration and intellectualism sparks among us Filipinos. Those magnificent infrastructures, amazing landscapes, and state-of-the-art facilities may not be available to all of us today, but in order to achieve our dreams even in the coldness of the night, we must be sensitive and adaptive enough to the changing needs of our cities that never sleeps. Our sacrifices today would be our success in the future. 

Filipinos Usual Day of Work After a Another Long Sleepless Night



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