Sleeping in public

Author’s note: I was inspired to write this article after reading a piece in Christopher Alexander’s seminal book A Pattern Language. My article was published in the Nordis Weekly issue of July 30, 2006.
Many of us well-settled city folk bear a “siege” mentality. We view our homes as a fortress where we can safely rest and refresh ourselves, before we sally forth anew into the chaotic urban war zone. So we do most of our sleeping at home. We would be appalled to even consider the idea of sleeping in public places. Or should we?

Many of us well-settled city folk bear a “siege” mentality. We view our homes as a fortress where we can safely rest and refresh ourselves, before we sally forth anew into the chaotic urban war zone. So we do most of our sleeping (when we are most vulnerable) at home – in our bedroom or living room. Continue reading “Sleeping in public”

When Agham Road led elsewhere

JV in DeQuiros PDI column 001
To my utmost satisfaction, Conrad reprinted my letter in full a week later in his column. I had misplaced my copy of that issue. This morning, however, it reemerged, yellowed and brittle, from a closet of old files that I was cleaning out. Its contents might be of interest not just to the younger generation of PSHS scholars, but to student activists who, I hear, are still doing the same kind of mass work among the squatter colonies of North Triangle as we did 40 years ago.

I hear The Bourne Legacy is shooting a few sequences along Agham Road in the North Triangle area of Quezon City’s central district. I suppose some film scenes will utilize the communities’ slum-housing conditions, which represent perhaps one of the starkest contrasts between abject poverty and cosmopolitan glitz this side of Metro Manila.

Portions of this sprawling area have now been cleared of so-called squatter communities and replaced by sleek malls, carparks, and office buildings. But there remain urban poor pockets that continue to remind us of how this part of the city looked ten years ago.

Nay, twenty years ago. Nay, forty years ago, when the road now known as Agham (“Science”) Road was just a gravelly dirt track that led to God knows where.

Continue reading “When Agham Road led elsewhere”