April 27, 2016
We went out today and one of the newspaper peddlers chased me down at an intersection so I bought one of the local newspapers and the Manila Bulletin, the largest paper in the Philippines.
Each paper had something I found interesting. The local paper had an advertisement from Hyundai. Hyundai had run a test drive on what is probably the busiest street in the Philippines to demonstrate how fuel efficient their cars are. The street is EDSA- that is an acronym for something but it is too long to care about so everyone just calls it EDSA. It is in Manila as you might expect.
Anyway they made 3 test drives. They started and stopped at Shell gas stations on each end of the drive. They used two different cars and the odometer readings were from 13.67 miles to 15.22 miles on the same car. I do not know how the miles driven could be so different if you are starting and stopping at the same place but oh well.
One started at 6:30 AM. One started during evening rush hour of 6 PM and the last one started at 9:30 PM. As you would expect the fastest time was the one starting at 9:30 PM. To drive 15.22 miles it took 1.43 HOURS. That is 86 minutes to only go 15.22 miles. The average speed was 14.29 MPH.
The slowest time was the one starting at 6 PM. It took 2 ½ hours to cover the distance of 13.67 miles for an average speed of 5.47 MPH.
Sometimes when I am channel surfing I see the Manila traffic report and traffic on that street is usually about 3 MPH or even at a standstill.
That would be reason enough not to live in Manila but the air pollution would force me to leave. Since the drought has gotten worse and worse here so has the air pollution. A few days I was forced to come inside because my eyes were burning when I was sitting outside. And yet a lot of Filipinos still burn leaves and garbage every day. Even one of my neighbors who is from New Hampshire lets his wife burn the cut grass every week making a lot of smoke and pollution.
The other thing of note was as picture caption about squatters houses being demolished in the national capital region. 80 houses are being torn down. Those 80 houses are on a 2000 square meter lot. I did the math so you do not have to but that means each house averages 269 square feet. And that is not subtracting for the narrow paths between the houses. Most of the paths are only about 3 feet wide but if you think of these shacks as tiny houses you can think of the paths as tiny streets. That is where the kids play, where they sit when they wash clothes, where they hang their laundry to dry and where they sit and talk to the neighbors. If you want to carry anything of any size you have to get people to move seats, etc.
Les’s mom lives in a similar squatter’s area here in CDO. Most of the paths are an uneven surface of concrete sections that can be lifted off to get at and clean the sewage ditch underneath. The septic tanks are under the house with a drain leading to the concrete ditch under the paths.
The houses in her area are somewhat larger. Most are two stories. Les’ mom’s house is only one story but is 15’ X 20’ so it is 300 square feet. When I met Les there were 2 adults and 5 kids living in that house. That is about average for a Filipino household.
If you think about it you will realize that 200 – 300 square feet is not very big for a family of 7 to live in. My living room in my house outside Van Wert was 15’ X 15’ so it was 225 square feet just for ONE ROOM and that was not an overly large room.
That will give you a small glimpse of what living here as a Filipino would be like.