LOOK: Manila’s empty roads during lockdown

Written by CNN Philippines Life Staff

Metro Manila is one of the most populated city centers in the world. From the moment the city wakes up, the density swells and swells until it creates a huge flow of people in and out of schools, business districts, and other places of trade. But it doesn’t stop once all the students and employees go to bed. The Philippine capital has become a 24-hour city, due in part to the thriving outsourcing business. Convenience stores, fast-food joints, and even drug stores are open all day, acting like beacons to weary workers of the night as they break for food. And when the night shift goes home, the larger part of the city wakes and starts again — a never-ending cycle of people, cars, and noise that goes on all year long.

But with the novel coronavirus outbreak, this cycle has come to a grinding halt. People are told to stay indoors. Work has stopped. So to see its roads, particularly EDSA, emptied of cars at any time of day is a scene out of a post-apocalyptic movie. But this is exactly what photojournalist Jake Verzosa captures in these glimpses of Manila’s main thoroughfares. Verzosa has managed to snap photos during early morning and late afternoon — the hours of the day when the rush hour crowd starts to pour in. He says, “There were a lot of checkpoints upon entering a city or barangay. Clear blue skies, no smog, closed stores, very few people walking and on bicycles. It’s very eerie, especially in the morning. It’s kind of strange considering how densely populated Metro Manila is.”

The photos are taken from footbridges or flyovers which, for Verzosa, is the best vantage point to capture the city that’s usually in a constant state of flux. In the photos, usually crowded areas such as MRT stations, Ayala Center, or the major roads in and out of the city are stripped off of cars and pedestrians.

See the photos here.

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