We live in a beautiful city. A city with its own share of urban anxieties and immense socioeconomic issues, but nevertheless, a city of vibrant people.
People are slowly getting back on the streets for their daily commutes with workplaces slowly opening up across our metropolis. Still, we are quite far from finding a sense of normalcy in this broken up world of separation and anxiety.
There is a particular set of issues that vex the city dweller. These urban anxieties, further aggravated by the pandemic, hound us as we slog through our days. Whether it’s finding a ride home, getting to our destinations on time, or just knowing that we have our own little place in the city to call home, we all face our own worries about life in this city.
In these troubling times, I find that having something to look forward to is a soothing balm that helps ease my thoughts. I was supposed to write about wabi-sabi, the Japanese philosophy about accepting imperfections, so as I think about our city, I’d like to share some of its imperfections that delight me and celebrate them with everyone—some silver linings that can chase away those awful anxieties.
I found myself looking forward to the sunrise each dawn. It’s a very quiet time in the months of June and July, coming in at 5:30 a.m. when much of the city sleeps. It is a moment when you can hear the softest of sounds that you would normally miss while you see the cityscape come alive in incredibly surrealistic long shadows and pink and orange hues.
Balconies, are amazing. They can be all sorts of different spaces. Changing your balcony space could be an adventure onto itself. It’s a space for a private little urban garden, a coffee corner, or an artist’s studio with perfect lighting. And our skies are always a rich and deep cerulean blue, a blue you can almost drown in at times.
I enjoy the streetscapes of Manila. If you look around your neighborhood, it may be all sorts of things, but it’s never boring. The fragmented city has allowed for a quixotic blend of architecture that forms a patchwork quilt of contrasting forms and structures. We have an organic blend of individual buildings that each express the desires and intents of its builders. This laissez-faire approach to planning and regulation consoles me with the thought that we will never have to worry about a dystopian future of fascist, Bladerunner-esque urbanity.