Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Eight Most Dangerous Places in Metro Manila

“Is it safe?”  I bet you can recall the immortal line from that classic movie starring Dustin Hoffman in the paranoid thriller— Marathon Man.
     Well, it’s the very question every resident of Metro Manila asks himself whenever he goes out of the confines of his home for a walk, a jog, a run or a jog that turned into a run due to three mysterious men with bloodshot eyes following you in the wee hours of the morning with their arms tucked beneath their shirts like each was a sweater of sorts...  Their flip-flops---"flip-flopping"---erstwhile sounding off the alarm bells in your mind. (And they’re not even wearing shoes, for crying out loud!  How can you think they were just jogging, too?)  Na-ah...
     Yep, that’s how it is in Metro Manila, the proverbial land flowing with milk and honey of the country we all call home and have loved since birth.  As we all know (or not, well, many of us don’t) Metro Manila is made up of sixteen varied cities which include the cities of Manila, Marikina, Mandaluyong, Quezon, Pasig, Paranaque, Caloocan, Makati, Taguig, Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, Pasay, Pateros, Navotas, Malabon, Valenzuela and the Municipality of San Juan.  Yep, San Juan is still a municipality, much like Novaliches (half of which belongs to QC and the remaining half to Caloocan ) but that’s another story.
     With all of these cities come a huge number of residents all vying for a place under the freakin’ tropical-hot Manila sun, so it’s no wonder that chaos and bedlam lie in the midst of its cities’ underbellies.
     And let’s not forget the statistics!  We all love statistics, don’t we?  According to estimates, 97% of the total GDP in our beloved country is being managed by a mere 15% of the total Pinoy population! (Yep, you got that right! 1 and 5... 15!  Fifteen... f-i-f-t-e-e-n!  It’s 15% okay?!)  And guess where most of them live...  In Metro Manila, of course!
     So, I suppose if you don’t belong to that 15% and you live in Metro Manila, where do you think you belong?  Yep, that’s what I also thought.  Well, anyways, on with the show!
     Now that we’ve established a huge gap in terms of income generation between the residents of the metro, let’s now turn to what we’ve all been waiting for and what our title has been suggesting all along since you started reading this material.  For your reading pleasure, here are The Eight Most Dangerous Places in Metro Manila!  (Pretend it was Ryan Seacrest’s voice you heard.  Seriously…)

8   Mother Ignacia St. (near Timog Ave. ) tied with Project 6, Q.C.
     Number eight on our list are these two areas both in Quezon City which are notorious for thefts and break-ins.  Robberies and hold-ups occur on a monthly basis in Mother Ignacia St. (remember to not leave anything valuable in your car most especially if it’s not tinted), while break-ins by the dishonourable Akyat-bahay Gang dominate the nightscape of Project 6.

7 EDSA Underpass (Beneath Shaw Blvd.) tied with C5-Bicutan-Pateros Intersection
     Close at number 7 are two main thoroughfares regularly featured in the news.  The EDSA Underpass-Shaw Blvd. regularly dishes out motor-vehicle-related “accidents” due to drivers suddenly swerving in order to avoid road ruts and potholes while the C5-Bicutan-Pateros Intersection is regrettably known for being the place where people get run down on a regular basis.  A word of advice to the pedestrians in that area:  PLEASE USE THE OVER-PASS.

6 MRT3 and LRT1
     If you go to work somewhere in Ortigas, Makati or those places in between these business districts, then you know WTF I’m talking about.  Yep, it’s the unusually usual “grind” whenever you take LRT1 and the one, the only, MRT3!  How it should be the usual way of going to work is beyond comprehension!  “It’s just deplorable and utterly horrible!” as one friend of mine put it.  Going to and from work in that manner can leave you feeling like a piece of pork in a can of beans.  So not alone and yet so isolated from the rest of the bunch.  Better watch out though, you’re friendly neighborhood pickpocket is waiting in the wings, ready to pounce on you like vultures hungry for rancid meat… or beans.
     You don’t need statistics with this one.  Take it from yours truly… I take both these trains to and from work, unfortunately.

5 Commonwealth Avenue
     If you’re a resident of Fairview , Lagro or the faaaaaaar-side of Novaliches (Yep, it’s that far!) then you’re familiar with the goings on along the winding stretch of Commonwealth Avenue.  It’s manageable enough during daytime.  What, those freakin’ bus drivers with their uncourteous attitude and reckless style of driving bother you?  Don’t mind their swervings and sudden stops and starts, they’re just trying to make a living.  You have to get on the program and realize that they just can’t help it...  They’re high on gas fumes!  What the heck do they care about you and me?  For you to think they even care, well, deserves applause... and much thought.
     And then it gets dark.  Hello!  The party’s just started!  Watch out for pedestrians playing patintero with your auto once you get past the COA office all the way to the Commonwealth Market and LITEX area.  It begs repeating:  DEAR PEDESTRIANS:  PLEASE USE THE OVER-PASS.
     In its bid to stop the mayhem along the metro’s “killer highway”, your former President Macapagal-Arroyo and former MMDA Chairman Oscar Inocentes led the ribbon cutting and opening of four foot bridges along the widest highway in the country just last April.  Get this, it cost us taxpayers almost P63 M!  For four footbridges?  What in tarnation!  Those freakin’ footbridges better be worth every peso!

4 EDSA-Cubao-Aurora Blvd Intersection
     This area is what you would call the “pickpockets galore central” of Metro Manila.  Anything worth snatching---from wallets to bags to jewellery to watches to shoes to even slippers---and most of what’s worth grabbing will be snatched and grabbed from you.   I don’t have to say anything more.  Still...
     Just grab a copy of your favorite newspaper (better yet, a popular tabloid) and you’re sure to find a story or two about Cubao, albeit not a positive one.  Besides, what more proof do you need?  I’m betting an arm and a leg that you or a friend has already experienced Cubao in all its rawness and severity.  Hey, where’s my wallet? Nooo!

3 Agham Road in Quezon City
     This area is filled with pickpockets known to swoop down on the hapless students of the very prominent science school found along this road.  If you’re one of those students, better be careful while walking down this street.  If your kid is going to this school, better take precautions, before it’s too late.  Always remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
     By the way, if you are to visit the motorcyclephilippines.com forum section, you will see that even motorcycle drivers are wary of passing through this stretch of road.  Posts and feedbacks range from warnings of what to expect and avoid to the usual offerings of cautionary tales of the modus operandi of illegal settlers to unsuspecting motorists and passersby.

2 Quiapo
     The whole area of Quiapo is a place teeming with hoodlums and hooligans just waiting to pounce on you whether you’re in a jeepney, an fx or in your own car for that matter.  Just imagine walking along its sidewalks.  The whole stretch of Recto Ave. from Divisoria to Rizal Ave. all the way to the University Belt up to the dark corners of Legarda St. near the gates of a known university facing the Legarda/R.Magsaysay flyover is a veritable no man’s land as early as 7 o’clock in the evening.

     Meanwhile, the Quezon Bridge is also a black hole for anyone’s personal belongings once you meet up with a two-man scissor-knives team ready to either slash your bag or your neck depending on whether you turn out to be an easy victim or not.
     An article which appeared in the September 6, 2005 edition of The Philippine Star reported that during that time, unsolved killings in Quiapo reached dramatic proportions prompting residents of the area to call Quiapo a “no man’s land”.  Speaking of which, I haven’t gone to Quiapo for quite some time now.  Has it really been that long?  OMG!  I actually miss the place!

1 Navotas
     The street leading to the harbour is a dumping ground for dead bodies.  There’s a new “harvest” almost every two weeks in that area, or so they say.
     But is it all true or just the stuff of urban legends?  For although it’s a well know fact that Navotas  is notorious for being known as a depository of “salvage” victims, it appears nothing much has been said or done by the police or the local authorities for that matter.  You know what’s happening and yet it seems people don’t care anymore it’s not even in the news.
     Well, one did make it to the news because of its utter gruesomeness and the case has been controversial ever since.  June 2009 saw the recovery of (allegedly) Ruby Rose Barrameda’s concrete-covered remains inside a drum which was also encased within a steel box which was then again filled with another round of concrete for good measure.  A few days after, The Philippine Daily Inquirer came out with a story—Kin of 5 other victims come out—in which relatives of murder victims narrated how their own loved ones were found much like the same way as Barrameda’s.
     It makes you wonder how such a thing can even happen right in the heart of that city.  And to think we're the only Christian Nation in the whole of Asia.  Tsk-tsk to that.
     So unfortunately, there you have it---the nooks and crannies of the metro one and all should avoid be it night or be it day.  As much as possible, do stay away from these areas.  If it can’t be avoided, well, you’ve been warned.  As they say in Filipino---"Buntot mo, hila mo".

P.S.  "May the Force be with you."


  1. Interesting article mate. Thanks. I visited the Phillipines recently and had a great time. I was only in Manila for a short time, but it felt a lot edgier than Jakarta where I live right now.

  2. Thanks for the info. Now, I know which area to avoid.