walking in the city

Posted by Marie on Thursday, January 20, 2011 in , , ,
Street-Bound: Manila on Foot - Josefina P. Manahan
Non-Fiction, Travel; ISBN 971-27-1135-9; Anvil Publishing, 2001.

(Thank you to Anvil Publishing for my complimentary copy. Thank you to Honeylein de Peralta for coordinating this. :))

(Disclaimer: In this review, I’m going to use the word ‘walk’ in every way possible, in the acceptable form as noun and verb, but also as adjective and adverb. Microsoft Word tells me that it’s grammatically wrong. So sue me.)

In Street-Bound: Manila on Foot, Mrs. Josefina Manahan asserts that Metro Manila is a walkable metropolis. Yes, despite the dust, noise, heat, speeding vehicles, and carbon monoxide poisoning. And indeed, up to a certain point, I agree with her. So lower your eyebrows for a moment, please.

Like Mrs. Manahan, I do walking tours within Metro Manila too: sometimes with friends, and sometimes alone. But many of these are haphazard travels (especially the ones I do by myself), often without plans and often requiring asking for directions. This in particular is why I find Street-Bound pretty useful. She organized the walks in such a way that next time I can go from one spot to the next in a more systematic manner.

But there are also tours in Mrs. Manahan’s book that I haven’t done, mostly because I didn’t have the time, but also because I wasn’t aware of the potential walkability of the place. For every tour entry, she neatly arranged the information into the following: type of tour, duration, sights, what to wear, background, how to get there, the different sights, and the map of the place. There’s also one or two delightful pictures of what one might expect to see in that tour (the maps and pictures were illustrated wonderfully by one Ms. Joanne de Leon – kudos!).

The best walking tour entry in the book (for me anyway) is the Rizal Park walking tour(s). Mrs. Manahan realized that one cannot see everything in just one day so she thoughtfully divided the sights in two tours: the first one is touring the park itself, starting at the Halamanang Pilipino and Philippine relief map from Taft Avenue, all the way to the Quirino Grandstand, to see the famous Manila Bay sunset; the second one is touring the museums dotting the park, from the National Library up to the Museo ng Maynila near Roxas Boulevard. The first one I did a lot with my family when I was a kid; the second one, I’m chagrined to admit, I haven’t done yet but I’m promising to do this year.

(My friends Edrose & Joseph, looking lost in Plaza Miranda, Quiapo when
we did a Quiapo-Binondo walking tour last year.)

Sadly, Street-Bound badly needs to be updated because I believe that some of the tours have become slightly irrelevant. Partly because a lot of tourist spots have deteriorated, disappeared, or changed completely in the past nine years since the book was published (take for example, Greenbelt Park which is barely a park anymore). Some, I think, are a bit redundant; there are new and even old /tours that are better representative of that type (for example, I think Divisoria is a better market tour place than Kamuning Market). Some tours I also believe that would be better grouped together into a single tour – for example, the tours around the Quezon Memorial Circle would have been better done in one go.

So anyway, even if it’s outdated, the book is still pretty handy if you’re going to do walking tours in Metro Manila, just be prepared to be a bit disappointed. It’s probably going to be awesome if they brought it up to date, as well as add more tours. I suggest adding the CCP complex, Chinese Cemetery, Ayala Triangle, Divisoria, and La Mesa Ecopark. Plus, Rizal Park is currently undergoing renovations; better to update the Rizal Park entry in parallel with that. I do urge Anvil to do it soon, as Filipinos, especially the younger generation, are becoming more conscious and appreciative of our glorious but slowly vanishing heritage.



Considering how you really felt about the book, you wrote a fairly objective and very interesting review. Great job!

Aww, shucks. Thanks Gege!

Copyright © 2009 opinionated thoughts of a cubicle dweller All rights reserved. Theme by Laptop Geek. | Bloggerized by FalconHive.