Friday, April 25, 2008

Lost in Makati-land

My visa sponsorship finally came in Wednesday. I've been busy putting together my papers to send off to Australia - and I finally got to do it yesterday afternoon. Looks like I may make my deadline after all.

But that's not really what this post is about.

This morning, as part of my visa requirements, I had to go into the heart of the Makati central business district to get a medical exam done. Not being a bona fide Makati yuppie, I haven't really had any chance to wander the CBD. Apart from my occasional visits to the malls, Makati is a foreign to me as another country.

After today, I have come to realize that it is as confusing to me as Wonderland must have been to Alice.

Murphy was certainly working overtime on me today. For one thing, my alarm didn't go off, and I left the house late - which considerably complicated my plans. I couldn't get an FX that would go directly to Ayala Avenue, where I could get off across the street from the clinic. After almost an hour of waiting along Ortigas for a ride, I hoofed it back home to get my car and drive to Makati - smack at the height of rush hour traffic.

Being of a practical bent, I wasn't about to take the car directly into the heart of the CBD, where parking rates were atrocious. I chose to park the car at Glorietta, the biggest mall complex there, and was planning on taking a bus or a cab to the clinic instead.

Easier said than done, given the confusing maze of underpasses and lack of pedestrian crossings along Ayala Avenue.

I emerged from the parking complex in front of Rustan's and found the underpass that let me cross the road to the side where I mean to catch the bus. At the stop, I was refused a ride by the driver, who told me it was only an unloading zone. I needed to walk further down Ayala to get to the loading zone.

Obedient commuter that I am, I followed his instructions and walked a couple of blocks to the intersection of Ayala and Makati Avenue. I could see the bus stop in the distance, a few meters away - only to have my way barred by a fence that screamed, "No pedestrian crossing!"

What the fudge? How was I supposed to get to the other side?

Incensed, I walked back the way I came, looking for an underpass that would possibly allow me to emerge on the other side once more... but I couldn't find any until I came to the first underpass I used. Left with no other choice, I crossed back to my starting point and walked the same couple of blocks back towards Makati Avenue until I finally came to another underpass that finally led me to the loading zone.

What should have been a simple walk a couple of blocks long in a straight line turned out to be one confusing zig-zagging among the underpasses. Anyone who plans to go around Makati on foot should arm himself with a map of the underpass network rather than a street map!

I appreciate the efforts of Makati to keep their pedestrians safe and maybe to improve the traffic situation, but is it too much to ask them to make the underpasses less confusing and allow pedestrians to cross at street level on intersections not provided with an underpass?

It was an incredibly confusing and tiring day overall. And that's not even taking into consideration how I had to take two and a half liters of fluid in the span of 30 minutes for my medical exam... but that's another story!

It's a good thing I have the prospect of another new summer travel adventure to brighten my day. Tomorrow... destination: Anawangin!


Manggy said...

Ah, I haven't recently walked Makati. I didn't know it was so complicated (although I really only go to Ayala Center/ Rockwell). If you need any help navigating those buildings, give me a call! Haha :) Damn alarm!! :P

I'm glad your plans are rolling along as expected!

dr_clairebear said...

i can usually navigate the basic streets from ayala, but now that they have all these confusing underpasses, i end up hopelessly lost.

it's kind of like playing super mario bros. and going into a warp zone...
you go down the stairs into the underpass then go up the escalator to a place you're not sure you know anymore.

Anonymous said...

you should've told me you're going to makati. i would've given you tips on where to park, where to get off, which underpass/overpass to take, etc. :)

the loading/unloading zones are really annoying.

as for long walks, be ready for a good pair of walking shoes. i've stashed away my heels because it's impractical to wear them given the long walks i do everyday.

Joey said...

I've very bad with directions, and especially bad with Makati. I do not really like going there because I always get confused! That's whether I just walk or I drive.

Anonymous said...

I haven't walked in Makati in a long, long time. And I'm sure I'll also get lost if you ask me walk around Salcedo or Legaspi village.

dr_clairebear said...

i just talked to my friend who works in makati - she says it's actually easy to figure things out if you work there every day. i still say they should have a map - at least of the underpass system in the underpasses themselves!