MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. This seems to be the stance of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada as his administration tries to find a solution to the growing slum problem in his city.
Slum areas abound in the city, and while they are a testament to the reality of Manila’s overcrowding and poverty, they are also an inevitable eye sore that have put a dent on the government’s efforts to promote tourism.
So, Estrada is proposing to convert all slum areas into colorful murals, an idea that he is copying from a mural project in La Trinidad, the capital of Benguet province.
The La Trinidad mural involves the painting of houses located at Stonehill above the Balili river. A total of 170 houses have been colorized to simulate giant flowers with multicolored petals. It has been a work of volunteers, including residents on the hill.
The La Trinidad mural approximates that of the famed favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In announcing his plan, Estrada said that the city government will provide free paint to slum residents who will color their abode with carefully coordinated designs by professional artists.
The Adobo Chronicles learned that some slum areas will look like hills blooming with sunflowers while others will look like extensions of Manila Bay, where even the polluted water of the Pasig River will be painted blue to simulate the ocean. There will no longer be a need to “hide” Manila’s street children during international events since they will look like happy kids playing at white sand beaches which will also be part of the mural.
Estrada hopes that once the city-wide project is completed, Manila will once again become a favorite destination of tourists and be chosen as the site for many international gatherings including the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant, the World Cup, the Olympics and perhaps even the Cannes Film Festival.