Traffic > Appraisal

A well-traveled Pinoy couple is very impressed with the streets of Manila

The gentleman, once president of Lexus Manila, grew up in Santa Ana

Does your city have buildings that look like this? PHOTO FROM DANNY M. ISLA

We Filipinos are used to politicians who overpromise and underdeliver. And so it’s always refreshing to see a mayor who probably underpromised and is now overdelivering—at least judging by the improvements in his long-rotten city. I’m talking, of course, about Yorme Francisco Domagoso, more popularly known as Isko Moreno, and his suddenly bright and tidy territory of Manila. Yes, I’m aware he has a brilliant PR team behind him, but no, they have nothing to do with this piece.

The pictures you see here were brought to my attention by erstwhile Lexus Manila president Danny M. Isla. You see, since officially retiring from the automotive industry two years ago, the young-looking former car salesman has been shuttling back and forth with wife Joy between the Philippines and New Zealand, where all three of their children (and their families) are now based. Which is to say this couple has been around and seen some of the best cities in the world (thanks to the many trip incentives that came their way due to his corporate achievements). Which, in turn, is to say that they don’t easily drool at the sight of a beautiful place.

This two have toured the world, and yet they love what they see in Manila City today. PHOTOS FROM DANNY M. ISLA

But here are their photos, taken recently when they decided to take a leisurely stroll in Manila and revisit its landmarks, including the once-bedraggled Jones Bridge.

“I can’t remember the last time we went there,” shared Danny, who, by the way, grew up in Santa Ana. “It was many, many years ago already. We never dared walk along Jones Bridge or on the filthy streets of Manila. The transformation is simply amazing.”

People can now freely and safely walk at night. PHOTOS FROM DANNY M. ISLA

They captured images of clean sidewalks, where people can be clearly seen safely and happily walking. Some of the historic buildings in the city now also look like they have been refurbished. Backlit signs even boast “free calls, free Internet, free (gadget) charging.” As a result, pedestrians can’t help but take selfies—which is organic (and cost-free) promotion for the city if you think about it. Yep, they no longer have fear of snatchers making off with their smartphones.

It is indeed a new Manila City. Will this last? PHOTOS FROM DANNY M. ISLA

This is not a politically motivated article. I don’t give a shit if Yorme’s career as a public official prospers or not. I just want to show everyone what government executives can accomplish if they really want to serve their constituents. In other words, this is exactly what you should be demanding from your city or municipality mayor. Anything less and you’re getting screwed as usual.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.