Friday, January 20, 2012

Road Revolution in Ongpin Street, Binondo

Vanessa Gumban, my high school classmate and former partner-in-crime, asked me to promote this event, sponsored in part by her class in the UP College of Law. I don't normally promote events in this blog, but this is Vanessa, and I happen to like going to Binondo. I go there when I'm bored or broke.

I'm pasting the promo material in its entirety. It's worth reading.

Congested Ongpin Street to be Pedestrianized
The impossible is going to happen.

On Sunday January 22, 2012, the day before Chinese New Year, the entire stretch of Ongpin Street in Binondo will be closed to motor vehicles. A revolution is about to take place. It is called “Pedestrian Day in Chinatown”, a project launched by the Chinese Filipino Business Club, Charity First Foundation and with the assistance of the City of Manila and its Mayor Alfredo Lim.

It is part of the Road Revolution, which is literally a revolution that is waged by individuals with a concern for the future, against a current road system which favors only 3% of the population (those who have motor vehicles) while occupying 99% of road space. This present road system has caused tremendous damage to the environment. We are poisoning the air we breathe, polluting our land, sea, air, communities, and lungs, paving over precious soil with hard concrete, and causing rainwater to flood in bigger volumes and at a faster speed.

The Road Revolution is a “road-sharing” program which calls for a road system that will allow equal sharing of roads for pedestrians, bicycle lanes, and efficient mass transit systems, relying on the principle: “THOSE WHO HAVE LESS IN WHEELS MUST HAVE MORE IN ROAD.” It is a movement of ordinary people around the country who are demanding their share of public space.

The Road Revolution Program encourages “Pedestrianization” of the city’s streets by discouraging the use of motorized vehicles through closure to motor vehicle traffic, and compelling the government to act upon it. Countries around the world are beginning to realize the benefits of such a system, and some examples include:

  • Shanghai’s Nanjing Road, and Beijing’s Wangfujing Road, where entire streets are appropriated only for pedestrians 
  • Bolivia’s “National Day of the Pedestrian”, where two million cars were taken off the streets on Sunday in nine cities
  • Jakarta’s main avenue where Car-free day is held every 2 weeks on Sunday
  • Mexico’s Ciclovia where miles of major boulevards are closed to auto traffic and taken over by cyclists, rollerskaters, walkers, dogs, and children
  • Brazil’s Curitiba where a major street in downtown Curitiba was transformed into a Pedestrian St.

Pedestrian Day in Chinatown is meant to give people a firsthand experience of what it would be like to have no vehicles on the road, less pollution, cleaner air, and more road to themselves. It will also allow them to enjoy the activities planned for the day, and to have a sense of community and interaction with other pedestrians, without the obstruction and inconvenience caused by motor vehicles. Indeed it will be MORE FUN IN CHINATOWN.

As January 22 is the day before Chinese New Year, there will be a lot of cultural activities and festivities. There will be several tents showcasing Chinese culture and tradition such as: Chinese Calligraphy, Fan Painting, Paper Cutting and Paper Folding, Abacus Demo, Chess Demonstration , Feng Shui and Fortune Telling, Lantern display, Acupuncture Dragon and Lion dances and Wu-shu exhibitions. There will also be dance competition among participating schools, a Zumba dance instruction, Chinese cultural dances, Tai-chi exhibition, Diobolo (Chinese yoyo) demonstration. There will also be some Chinese song and dance numbers

“Pedestrian Day in Chinatown” will be the first of its kind to be held in the heart of Manila’s busiest street and district. Charity First Foundation Inc and Chinese Filipino Business Club enthusiastically INVITE ALL to participate in and celebrate this momentous event with us!

It is difficult to imagine a place more appropriate for this project than the bustling and congested district of Chinatown, and what better time than on the day before the Chinese New Year, indeed a fresh start for everyone.

Contact Person:

Mr. John Boitte Santos
Student in Environmental Law, UP College of Law
Email address:
Cell Phone No: 09277532293
January 12, 2012

The “Road Revolution Program” is a brainchild of Atty. Antonio Oposa Jr., Harvard law graduate, and a multi-awarded, internationally acclaimed environmental lawyer, a Ramon Magsaysay awardee and the founder of the Law of Nature Foundation. He is also the lawyer in Oposa v Factoran, cited worldwide for its recognition of the right to a better environment and intergenerational responsibility.

Charity First Foundation Inc is a non-stock, non-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life of the marginalized sectors of society through its Education, Medical/Dental, and Livelihood Programs. It also has an Environmental Program, and through various activities, aims to raise environmental awareness.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Hey, Lance! I was there on Ongpin Street last night. Unfortunately, there were still cars and motorcycles trying to squeeze past the crowds. :/ It was still fun, though.

Mon Jan 23, 10:34:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

Hey, Kat. Good for you! Too bad I missed the celebration. Mukhang masaya nga. You've been visiting Manila more often these days. :D

Tue Jan 24, 05:51:00 AM GMT+8  

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