I haven't been to Divisoria since eons ago, but me and the wife just had to go there this morning to buy a PSP imitation which we promised as a Christmas gift to my 5 year old tyke. I had an inkling there would be a crushing crowd, but it was either that or World War 3. So off we went very early in the morning. We took the MRT to Recto.
Our target was the 168 shopping mall. I expected the area to be crowded but I guess I am at a loss for a more intense word to describe the jampacked atmosphere. On the way to 168 we had to inch our way on the sidewalk, if it could be called a sidewalk. Every imaginable inch of space was occuppied by vendors of all sorts of imaginable items, from the corner of Abad Santos all the way through the tail-end of CM Recto. After we arrived at the mall after a seeming interminable struggle just to walk towards it, the crowd became thankfully thinner. I made a mental note that the walk back could be far worse, so we decided to be quick about it. On the way back, my wife had to buy a pair of slippers since her sandals were busted due to a number of times it was stepped upon.
The entire area on the CM Recto portion and the side streets was an accident waiting to happen. I dreaded the idea that a sparked stampede could be deadly disastrous on a massive scale. To compound the danger, there were small stalls scattered randomly selling all sorts of fireworks while passersby close around had lighted cigarettes - even some vendors themselves were smoking nonchalantly. All the signs of danger were in that place, and I wonder why the Manila authorities allowed such a situation where there was absolutely no control. The place was total haywire. Come to think of it, I did not even see any police around. Yan ang napapala ng last-minute shopping. Fortunately, we're back home in one piece (except for the busted sandals), with the prized 'PSP'. I will never ever do this thing again. Promise.