UP Running Loop
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Run the Academic Oval
Metro Manila a city conducive to running? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Blame the Jeepneys and motorized tricycles spewing fumes; blame the busses and cars whose drivers perpetually replicate the victim-abuser power archetype; blame the oligarchical political and land-owning elite with little true respect for the common man... The outcome of all of these is a city of no pedestrian infrastructure or public open space, and of poor air quality. Enter UP Diliman and its open street Sundays. The 2.2km tree-lined boulevard at the heart of this University of the Philippines campus draws thousands of runners, cyclists, walkers, skateboarders, dog-owners and families encompassing all of the preceding categories every Sunday morning to take advantage of the peace, tranquility and resultant sense of prosperity that is the outcome of diverting vehicular traffic elsewhere. And unlike the mall-centric culture that vies with Catholicism for the soul of Filipinos, there is little commercialism here, barring a few itinerant street vendors and a small group of pavement kiosks selling water and sodas. Old, nurturing trees instead embrace across the road, dispensing shade and the medicine of greenery. Just do it: go run.
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