Thursday, November 02, 2006


Not many bloggers dare venture into the streets of Manila, much more in Recto. Many prefer to blog about malls, events, and their personal lives. Recto is always considered a bad place. It is spelled as p-a-n-d-e-m-o-n-i-u-m, and many think that it is the lair of thieves and other things better kept in the darkness of the night.

All the above-mentioned observations are correct. Well, almost.

Here however, one can be a witness to how the normal Manila resident spends his day. Recto never sleeps. Its businesses run 24 hours, 7 days a week. Both legal and illegal ventures at that. Motels are open all day long and do not lack patrons. Sleazy cinemas, too, have their own regular visitors. There are bars for all people of different persuasions. Young boys and girls from provinces try their luck on many lighted stages of Recto's many bars. DVDs, VCDs, pornography, plastic cockroaches, sex toys, street food, leather products, framing services (photo frames, not frame ups! hehe) - everything can be had for a price; heck, even education can be bought here!

You can buy identification cards (SSS, GSIS, BIR, PRC, LTO, name it, they have it) for 300 to 500 pesos apiece. You want to graduate from a prestigious university without even enrolling? A certificiate of graduation can be had for a fee (it is not cheap). If you simply want to show your parents how well you did in in school, you can also have a Transcript of Records made here. A La Salle education, did you say? Consider it done.

Recto is, and always have been, a good source of film material yet it doesn't get that much attention from writers. Do find time to get out of your comfort zones and experience how it's like to be here. Eavesdrop on conversations. Taste the goodness of street food. Feel the warmth of the weather on your skin. Watch the heavy traffic. Smell the aroma of abandoned buildings alongside that of lechon kawali, cheap buy 1-take 1 burgers and fish ball.

The streets of Recto has more than what real universities offer. It teaches you about living and survivial. Welcome to Recto. Welcome to Manila's University of Life.


Sidney said...

I agree with you. Recto is a great place. My first choice is Quiapo, then Divisoria, then Binondo and Recto. Now that they are cleaning up Quiapo I might need to shift to Recto...

Citizen of the World said...

Cleaning up Quiapo? Ha ha! It will never happen. I just visited that Hidalgo street the other day and it was horribly surrounded by all kinds of products and peddlers and what-not.

Cleaning up Manila will take several lifetimes, Sidney.

Hey, how have you been? I did leave a comment on your \"Self Portrait\", he he!