Traveling along Radial Road 10, you get to see how life in Manila really is. It is not the glitzy new developments that people try to present as the face of the city. The real deal is in places like Tondo, the Baseco compound and Smokey Mountain. The areas along R-10 starting from across from the North Harbor to Smokey Mountain (yes, it is still there) provide us with a peek into everyday life in this part of Manila.
Carpenters working on the body of what would become karaoke machines. The TV or screen will be installed at the upper shelf and the machine and controls will be installed in the lower part. These are popular around the country and are often rented out for parties. The quality varies but I would say that there are really good quality karaoke machines with digital quality equipment providing crisp music and the correct lyrics to karaoke lovers.
As these are informal communities, houses do not have water or electricity connections. As such, people purchase water from nearby establishments or houses, and many have illegal water and power connections for them to have water and electricity. Such illegal connections have led high losses to utility companies that translate to costs passed on to legitimate customers.
Many roadside stalls sell a variety of fruits like the bananas shown in the photo. It’s actually interesting to note that just across from the stalls is the port area whose walls don’t seem to be enough to discourage people from trying to pilfer the containers and crates containing various stuff shipped through the Port of Manila.
Roadside stalls selling practically anything and everything. This one is selling hard hats and reflective vests. These vests can be used by construction workers as well as traffic enforcers. Recently, motorcycle riders have been required to put on vests for them to be more visible to other road users.
Shanties line up along the road, actually on the road as these were built on top of the space already allocated for R-10. Many sections have already been paved where shanties have been built. These shanties are now the subject of a program to remove them and open up the space for traffic to ease congestion along this road, which has much truck traffic.
It seems that a lot of people have pedicabs as a means for livelihood. While there is nothing fundamentally wrong with this, the issue is mainly with regards to their excessive numbers and suitability as a public transport mode given their operations and propensity to go against traffic rules and regulations.
The mass housing in the Smokey Mountain area are multi-storey apartments that look like they definitely have seen much better days. These buildings actually look like multi-storey shanties (similar buildings elsewhere including BLISS projects look much better or are better maintained). Many units have been extended and the structures now pose hazards (e.g., fire, earthquake, etc.). Alleys are not passable to emergency vehicles like fire trucks as residents have maximized occupancy of the spaces at the ground level. These look like the perfect cases for how NOT to develop mass housing.