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Mango Mix: Free happiness at Freedom Wall

by Tessa Distor on Wed 20 Aug, 2014

The thing about Filipinos is that, always, they can dig out happiness even buried deep down by unfortunate events.

If they cannot dig it, they create it: just like how they turned a miserable, abandoned, vacant lot into a colorful haven for people ready to express their creativity.

The Freedom Wall Skate Park in Intramuros, Manila is an unassuming tourist spot. It unintentionally became an entry to tour itineraries when it started to showcase walls aesthetically vandalized. These vandalisms are not the typical air-brushed slogans intended to destroy a property. In fact, they can be perceived as a compilation of artworks produced by professional artists, fine arts students, or people who find pleasure in drawing and/or painting.

As the name suggests, this park in Anda corner Arzobispo streets is free from any rules. Artists can paint the walls however they wish. The only thing that puts boundary to their freedom is their respect for each other’s works. A wall freshly painted usually lasts for a week or two, enough for artists to have their works be displayed and documented before another overlaps it with his/her own vandal.

Because of the atmosphere the vibrant artworks provide, it has become a favorite venue for people to express themselves in other different ways. Skaters, dancers, models, and photographers find the place a perfect hangout for their own business.

Surprisingly, no matter how crowded the park becomes, all can freely do their own stuff. Skaters circle the place without interrupting anyone; dancers perform and models do a pose as if no one else is around; photographers click their shutters to get a shot of the people who really do not mind that they are being photographed. Freedom, indeed.

Maybe it’s because of the designed walls, or the sight that the people are stranger to each other but are altogether having fun, or the fact that respect still exists even when it is not being demanded, or just the freedom the lot can give; but one thing is for sure, the place is a happy place.

The Freedom Wall only proves that Filipinos can find, even create, happiness out of nothing, sometimes even out of misery.

Photo credit to Arliza Tomada

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Mango Mix is a weekly column of Mango Tours in the Asian Journal. The column celebrates Filipino culture--from must-see travel destinations and advice, social events, culinary delights, arts, and everything interestingly mixing under the Philippine sun.