Manila makes time for a makeover
While the pandemic has kept people confined inside their homes, there’s one seemingly good thing to look forward to once going outside is safe again, at least in the city of Manila—the newly-renovated Vitas Skate Park in Tondo.
In a Facebook post, Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso has shared images of a cleaner, more colorful skate park.
“Isang makulay na skate park ang aming muling bubuksan ng libre para sa inyo sa oras na matapos ang pandemyang ating kinakaharap (We will be opening a colorful skate park for you, free of charge, once the pandemic we’re facing is over),” Moreno wrote. “Inayos natin ang mga pasilidad upang magamit ng mga Batang Maynila at nawa’y makatulong sa paghubog ng mga susunod na skateboarding champions ng Maynila at ng ating bansa (We fixed the facilities so Manila’s youth can use it. May this facility help groom the next skateboarding champions of Manila and the country).”
The space, filled with ramps and rails for skateboarders, first opened in 2016. It sits on a 1,774-square-meter lot in Tondo, considered the largest public plaza in the country. It’s also only the second of its kind in the city following Manila Skate Plaza’s construction in 2015.
Vitas Skate Park is not the only public space that’s getting a quarantine makeover, though. Moreno said all 47 plazas, parks, and playgrounds “will be rebuilt.”
“It is time to reclaim them for our children so they can have a place to rest, feel the breeze, and play,” he said. “Let’s not allow our children to grow up with their concept of an open space limited to the lobbies of malls.”
More repairs and constructions underway
Taking advantage of a Manila that’s drastically less busy than usual, Pio Morabe and the rest of his team at the city’s Public Recreation Bureau (PRB) have been busy tidying up other public spaces in the city.
Not too far from the skate park, the moss-filled pools and dirty walls at the Vitas Aquatic Center have been cleaned. There’s a promise of proper maintenance, too, so that it’s ready for use once the quarantine is lifted.
At the Jacinto Ciria Cruz Sports Complex in Pandacan, major repairs are also underway for its pool and other facilities. Even the Sarmiento Covered Court in Sta. Mesa is looking good-as-new, thanks to thorough cleaning and a new paint job.
At the iconic Manila Zoo, reconstruction has broken ground. PRB is maintaining the cleanliness of the place. It has even converted what used to be the horseback riding area into an urban garden, which provides additional food for the zoo’s animals.
The fate of the rest of such spaces remains to be seen. The same is true for the current state of the city in its battle against Covid-19. Until it is okay to share public spaces again, the sight of the refurbished Vitas Skate Park online will do for now.