25 June 2017

In Gentrifying Poblacion

Yep, I'm still here.

When I first moved to Poblacion three years ago, everything felt exciting. It was gritty, which I like. I know, I know. I was probably part of the initial wave of gentrifiers to settle in.

People have gone from raising their eyebrows at me (and saying a small prayer for my safety and wellbeing) to asking me to give them "Poblacion food tours". And I still enjoy living here, but am riding this emotionally confusing wave of being able to walk to a good cafe, seeing many friends all the time, dodging cars of youthful Instagrammers on their way to whatever loud party of the night, and witnessing old (admittedly mostly crappy) structures give way to nondescript buildings. With the zoning laws of Poblacion just revised to accommodate buildings above five floors, everyone is cashing in. It makes money sense to build and then wait until this last patch of neighborhood gets devoured by Rockwellesque development or the dormant glossiness of the Century Mall area.

Nonetheless, I'm still immensely grateful for / endlessly entertained by living in a non-gated, relatively safe, walkable area in Manila (a rarity) which still gets together to build its neighborhood float for the Holy Week fiesta. The religious icons used are passed down among "old" families and lent to the neighborhood folk for decoration and parading. Some are more than a hundred years old!

Also, our barangay marching band is unparalleled, probably because we do have loads of fiestas. One was supposed to happen today on the Pasig river, but was cancelled due to an abundance of water hyacinths.

Neighbors deciding what flowers to put on the float. 
More flowers.

Our street float, with La Casita Mercedes in the background.

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