Planning to Visit Manila? Bike Around the City and Stop by These Art Installations That Double as Bike Racks

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WHILE the current pandemic has put on hold many people’s travel plans, take heart in knowing that Manila has something that is both unique and familiar in store for you when you get back.

Through the initiative of the city government led by Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and leading insurance company Allianz PNB Life, four new sculptural bike racks were installed in its key areas that evoke memories in growing up in Manila. The bike racks, which are likewise art installations, are part of the latter’s Ride Safe Campaign that advocates for sustainable mobility.

The designer behind the bike racks is Manila-born artist Mark Wesley Pahate, who took inspiration from the city’s history, texture, diversity, and energy. The four bike racks were creatively crafted to reflect the environment for which they were placed — “Tabak” at the Kartilya ng Katipunan, “Maya” at the Liwasang Bonifacio, “Alon” at Rajah Sulayman Park, and “Kalesa” at Plaza Roma in Intramuros.

“The kalesas we saw more often before, the Mayas around our churches and school grounds, our school lessons telling us about the son of Tondo, Andres Bonifacio, and of course, Manila Bay sunsets and breakwaters of Roxas Boulevard. Growing up, those were some fond memories that we have been given an opportunity to be reminded of,”  shared Pahate, who finished high school at San Beda University and took up Fine Arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He now runs his own boutique agency, Eggshell Worldwide Communications.

“We’ve given those memories renewed purpose,” he said, adding that, “We hope to elicit a few more fond recollections from Manileños who visit them.”

Asked about combining form and function for projects such as the bike racks, he pointed out that, as designers, they have been instilled with the discipline to make function more pleasing.

“Addressing the function is the requirement, but the art makes it more enjoyable for people who would interact with it. So both get equal consideration unless the client points us to a more specific direction in terms of priority,” he said.

He noted that sustainability has become a popular advocacy for many companies because people have recognized its urgency, and creative agencies can help in getting the public’s attention and support for their projects.

“There are many ways to help. Many pieces to this puzzle. Find yours. Creatives can also help with that. Finding your own way to help is the first big step,” he said.

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