Dear Women: Manila is a Tough City
by Anne Marielle Eugenio, June 10, 2020 3:58pm
Art by Ahl Mirambel
Back in high school, I’ve always dreamed of studying at a university in Manila. I’m aware it’s different from the small town I grew up in, but I never really knew how difficult it is to go to Manila every day for my classes. There’s the traffic, the added pressure of being late for class, and the mental torture of school works.
It isn’t much different for women working in the city. And I know you can relate to what I will write.
Metro Manila can be the “kid” our parents warned us about. It will take you to exciting places and adventures, but keep in mind there are risks and unexpected circumstances that will arise when you take the journey. We couldn’t agree more.
First off, the traffic in the Metro sucks. Commuting is a hassle, and if you’re a woman, it’s extra challenging. If we take public transportation, we have to adjust our hands to protect our bodies so men can’t “accidentally” brush their body parts to ours. We need to have a keen eye on our bags and keep a steady balance when it’s a “standing ovation” inside the vehicle.
It’s a different level when we travel during our period and have dysmenorrhea. Can you imagine going through a three-hour bus ride while clutching your abdomen in pain the whole time? And if you are pregnant and still commuting, I salute you. I hope that person sitting on the first row of the bus will stop pretending to sleep and give you the seat.
Commuting isn’t the only problem here. Fellow women, I know you’ve been catcalled once or twice while passing by a group of men—either in broad daylight or dark alleys. Sometimes, even in the workplace. Manila is filled with boys who harass girls for fun. For them, it’s just a fleeting gesture, but for us, it’s another moment of “bakit hindi ako lumaban?”
We should also take note of how we dress; clothes should be comfortable without showing too much skin or we’ll be subject to objectification (although we are not really to blame). Wear flat shoes or sandals, because there will be a lot of walking (or running). Always bring an umbrella—the weather’s unpredictable.
Metro Manila is filled with opportunities but those chances won’t come if you are not brave enough to take them. It’s glamorous, but it’s also a “big, bad city”, as some would call it. But you’re still here and I know you are finding out that Manila is tough—tough to live in and tough to love.
But as women, we’re strong enough to face whatever it’s going to throw at us. Hang in there. We’ll make it through.