Walking wasn't my thing, but I did a lot of walking even when I was an elementary kid. when going to church alone for supplementary lessons, I only walked from my home. The distance was more than a kilometer but less than two. When going to the nearest mall (Victoria Plaza), I would only walk from our house, too. Now that I think about it, I may have enjoyed walking ever since then.
Now that I am in college, I do a lot of walking. In our university, the colleges are at least 900m apart so we have to commute fast especially when the successive classes are held in the different colleges. When we have time, like when going home, we often walk from our home college to our boarding house.
I can say for certain that I really enjoy my walking trips, even if I do them alone. When I walk alone, nobody can interrupt me and my thoughts. I am focused on my inner thoughts. I can contemplate a lot of things--my future, my decisions I'm about to take, what I do when I get home, my inspiration for my next sketch, and other random stuff. The heat won't stop me from walking even if my sweat drops are forming on my skin and start rolling down my face, back, and arms
But my walks with friends are even more enjoyable especially when we talk while walking. We don't notice the flow of time and realize that we reach our destination at the apparent blink of an eye. To quote, "Isn't the theory of relativity romantic?"
Either alone or with my friends, I love walking. I love walking so much that I want to officially make it a lifestyle. However, disregarding the fact that the country is hot all year round, the city I'm living in is not totally friendly to people who constantly walk. Why? Let me state the reasons:
- There aren't enough sidewalks safe and wide enough for a large group of citizens to walk on. I don't know the situation in other cities, but in Davao, there really are few sidewalks which are well separated from the lanes of the roads. These are along Matina near Matina Town Square, Roxas Avenue, some portion of Quirino Avenue, and some portion of J. P. Laurel Avenue. In other words, these are only found in places bustling with people. How about in China Town (Uyanguren) which is also crowded? Unfortunately, that lively area is very narrow that even jeeps have to compete with the people walking along the main road. And that points to the second reason.
- Outer lanes of roads are becoming parking spaces for gargantuan vehicles. Aside from clogging the road for vehicles, they also make walking people to walk along the outer lanes. Why do cars park on these areas? It's apparently because buildings had to be built VERY NEAR the roads. Maybe it saves the building owners from the payment of securing land area which may be used as an extra space for an adequate parking lot. Tsk tsk tsk. The government should have implemented stricter rules regarding the building of establishments.
- There are too many private cars and public utility vehicles. The people themselves don't like walking. We rely too much on the availability of the complete route system in the city, allowing citizens to reach any destination from any place. Adding to this reason numbers 1 and 2, people are less willing to transport by walking. This mindset of the people is the core enemy of the culture of walking I am embracing.
I really have many hopes and dreams for the improvement of the roads within the city. I want a walk-friendly city where I can take my time walking without worrying too much if I would get hit by a passing vehicle. I want to walk a lot more and ride a lot less. It wouldn't only be economical, but also a healthy way of transportation if the starting point and the destination are just about 1 to 2 kilometers away.