On the boardwalk

This beautiful Ferris wheel watched over a parade of cyclists this morning, a motley band ranging from pudgy teens on folding bikes to grizzled old soldiers kitted out in European team gear on carbon fiber racing machines. Some were clearly there to work out, but it seemed as many were there for the socializing. That much is consistent with bike clubs everywhere.

A tale of two economies

Other than some Caribbean resort vacations, this is really my first time in a developing country. I haven’t felt comfortable taking pictures of squalor, but it is all around us. At the same time, there seems to be an enormous amount of construction activity, although, like this site, it’s not clear how fast progress is being made.

Here, the guard shack presides over an open field, while the guard reads a newspaper next to a smoldering campfire. This is on one of the major arteries in the entire city, just blocks from the gleaming Mall of Asia.

When we were meeting with the international consultants sent here by the World Health Organization, they spoke candidly about the difficulties of managing their work in a country that has been devastated by floods and typhoons, government corruption, and ongoing civil strife. Many people are living in what I can only refer to as primitive conditions, and even basic sanitation and public health must be difficult to provide in such densely packed communities as we have seen.

And yet, despite everything, in the reading I did before coming here, the Philippines is held up as one of the most successful Asian economies. At times it is difficult to see how a cloud-based server to help a nascent electronic medical records infrastructure will help, but then again, it’s a step in a direction, and many steps are needed.

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