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The Maginhawa Experience: In Da Ghetto

Packing tape and a clear folder cover a bullet hole on my sister's window.

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about Maginhawa Street.  Since then, the strip has grown to become a destination for food lovers, hipsters and artists.  In fact, the popularity of Maginhawa Street is now spilling onto its side streets with places like Leona’s Art Restaurant, Moon Leaf Tea Shop and Chef Tatung’s choosing the quieter option of “off-Maginhawa”.

I’m very happy to see my neighbourhood flourishing and growing into a place where people can walk around to enjoy art and culture.  I do, however, have concerns.

In the Philippines, we have an extremely localised branch of government called “Barangay” meaning village, district or ward.  I’m afraid that the barangays around Maginhawa Street (Sikatuna Village, Teachers Village East, Teachers Village West and UP Village) are ill-equipped to handle the fast growing number of visitors.

These barangay officials are no longer handling the loose residential areas they once were.  These villages are now very commercial.  I think the barangay needs to realise that the more a place becomes populated and commercial, the higher the threat will be to personal safety.

It’s sad but people I know have been victim to mugging, side mirrors being stolen, car windows being broken into, homes being robbed and cars being stolen.

Now, I don’t know if they’ve actually discussed this matter at their local government meetings.  I just wanted to say something about this today because my sister stayed in my room last night because she was too terrified to stay in her own bedroom after a stray bullet had broken her window.