MANDAUE CITY—When a foreigner checked out of his hotel in Barangay Subangdaku in Mandaue City late last year, he left a note to the hotel manager: The flyover was the dirtiest structure he had ever seen in all his travels.
Vendors were hawking products, from used clothes to food, under the flyover, which was built in 1992 to decongest city traffic, particularly at the Subangdaku junction where several industries are located. Tricycles were parked, waiting for commuters.
The comment from the foreigner was just the jolt needed by barangay officials to start a massive cleanup under the flyover. Both vendors and tricycles were removed and fences were installed to keep them away.
Barangay Chair Ernie Manatad consulted several architects for a possible beautification plan in the largest village in Mandaue, which has 33 sitios and a population of more than 30,000.
To symbolize Subangdaku’s status as the city’s most industrialized barangay, plants and decor made of scrap materials were placed under the flyover.
The village also implemented a “no segregation-no collection” policy as part of a campaign on solid waste management and recycling.
“We used to have 18 dump trucks of wastes collected every day in the barangay, but since we strengthened our campaign on segregation and recycling, we are down to nine to 12 trucks,” Manatad said.
This Yuletide season, the village officials are holding contests among residents for the best “parol” (lantern), best “belen” (crèche), best Christmas tree and best street lighting.
Suddenly, the flyover was transformed into a miniature Christmas village featuring a snowman, a 15-foot Christmas tree and belen—all made from plastic bottles, bamboo, corn and coconut husks, buri straws and other recycled materials.
Health and day care workers and tanod (watchmen) took charge of decorating the small space.
“This is to encourage participation of our residents here and for the Christmas spirit to be spread all throughout the barangay,” Manatad said.
Judging will be made after the holidays. The winners of the best Christmas tree will get P5,000 (first place), P3,000 (second) and P2,000 (third); best lantern, P3,000 (first), P2,000 (second) and P1,000 (third); and most well-lighted sitios, P20,000 (first), P15,000 (second) and P10,000 (third).
But there is no cash equivalent to the joy felt by Subangdaku officials when they see people admiring the once hated area in Mandaue.