Green Loop “experiment”

POINTILLISMS - Mike Acebedo Lopez (The Freeman) - October 4, 2014 - 12:00am

It was, for all intents and purposes, an experiment. And like any experiment, things can go awry, or worse, explode, in the process of discovery or proving (or disproving) a hypothesis; and that's essentially how we learn if something's going to work or not, or if we can make improvements to the existing prototype to make it an actual workable or viable model. So, after it was tried and tested last Sunday, all opinions for or against the Green Loop Experiment (as it's aptly called) must now be duly noted.

The most compelling arguments against it: 1) The monstrous traffic it's caused in some bottleneck areas; 2) The fumes from vehicles stuck in traffic produce more pollution than what the road sharing mechanism in favor of bikes and pedestrians is supposed to prevent. 

But the proponents of the Green Loop are pragmatic and reasonable enough to be cognizant of this. Some of them feel the four main thoroughfares (Osmeña Boulevard., Escario Street, Gorordo and General Maxilom Avenue) are unrealistic and impractical, and the proposal is, learning from the experience, to limit the road sharing to the Osmeña Boulevard  and Fuente area.

Let's tweak it a bit, but let's not shoot the idea down. I was there and it was especially nice to see motorists share the streets and accommodate pedestrians, bikers, and others, all fellow taxpayers.  It was inspiring to see Cebuanos dancing, exercising, hula-hooping, children playing, people skating,  drawing street art, walking their pets of all shapes and sizes, playing various musical instruments, all having a grand time enjoying each other's company on a Sunday. Not in the mall but out in our streets. (I miss a bygone, pre-mall era when Cebuano families drove to nearby Mactan on Sundays to spend time at the beach.) The atmosphere at the Green Loop was festive and sublime. Communal spirit is alive and well.

Even if it's a small portion and only on Sundays (or the third Sunday of every month, for instance), in the long run, it should educate Cebuanos on biking and walking and prepare us for when bicycle lanes do happen here. The idea is so very First World (Singapore, beginning October 4 until next year, will close portions of Orchard Road every first Saturday of the month for "Pedestrian Night").

It sure does suck when you're stuck in traffic, but imagine if you were on the other side of things. And you could still experience it if we make this a regular thing. Besides, if there's a schedule, you'd know what areas to avoid. Also, take Christmas and Sinulog, for example, both cause unimaginable traffic, monstrous gridlocks each time, but do we do away with these two celebrations? No. We understand that it happens as a result, and that it's what we have to contend with to be able to celebrate with our fellow Cebuanos things we hold dear. 

Apart from educating and shifting mindsets, the sense of community one gets out of being there is so remarkable the Green Loop (or its derivatives) ought to be considered.  Let's immerse ourselves and spend time with each other, create memories, and celebrate life and community through this simple but stirring way.


Farewell, Tia Pusit!

I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tia Pusit, an iconic Filipino comedienne who's brought joy and laughter to at least three generations of Filipinos.

Myrna Villanueva in real life, she is pretty much a part of Philippine pop culture, and my childhood too. A staple in Tagalog sitcoms throughout the '80s and '90s, she and her sister Nova Villa have become my favorites.

One time when I was still a panelist on The Bottomline with Boy Abunda, I decided to claim some checks that have piled up at the ABS-CBN cashier since, too early for call time, I had nearly an hour to kill. Whilst queuing, I was distracted from tinkering with my phone when someone started to nudge me from behind. It was Tia Pusit and she was also claiming her professional fees. Note that we've never met before.

"Ui, pinapanuod ko kayo parati... paborito kita kasi gusto ko yung mga opinyon mo, madalas pareho tayo. Minsan magkaiba pero ganon naman talaga, diba? Ui, ang ganda ng kutis mo... anong sekreto mo?" (I always watch you… you are my favorite because I like your opinions, we often share the same views. Sometimes we differ, but that's how things are, right? Hey, you have nice skin…what's your secret?)

And there I was  — in the middle of a long line of comedians, stuntmen, bit players, game show winners and other non-celebrity commentators like me — starstruck. Starstruck because I had just received an awesome compliment from someone I used to only watch on television. And she appreciated what we did, what I did, never mind that I would come out a mere 3 minutes, cumulatively, each Saturday.

That she was so simple, down to earth, and sweet and kind and gentle, all these didn't go unnoticed, to be sure.

We would become friends on Facebook shortly after, and in the next four or so years, would greet each other on our respective birthdays; I would 'like' some of her posts, she would 'like' some of mine.

But all that's over. It was in April this year that I started noticing "get well soon" posts tagging her so I knew she was sick, but I had no idea it was that bad. Now she's gone.

I can't like new posts from her anymore, nor could she, mine.

And that's because Tia Pusit has left us for an infinitely better place, a happy place for a happy person who loved making other people happy.

Maraming salamat sa lahat ng tawa at saya, Tia Pusit. And for going out of your way to make a stranger like me feel good about himself many, many Wednesdays ago.

You will be sorely missed. Rest in perpetual peace! +



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