These Art Installations All Over Manila Are Actually Bike Racks

The four pieces were inspired by the city's history and culture.

Manila Bike Racks

(SPOT.ph) Whether car-owners like it or not, biking advocates are demanding that Metro Manila be more bike-friendly especially after the pandemic restricted everyone's mobility. Public transportation now has limited capacity, pushing urban dwellers to ride a bike to work or do their errands. Local government units are also slowly adding bike lanes and racks are being set-up along the streets. Take for example Manila, which launched four new bike racks in different spots in the city through a partnership with insurance company Allianz PNB Life on May 28. And they're not like your usual racks made of pipes, but rather art installations that also reflect Manila's history and culture.

Manila Bike Racks: Alon
"Alon" was inspired by Manila Bay's waters and beautiful sunset.
PHOTO BY Kenneth G. Yu (Used with permission for SPOT.ph)

"The Allianz Ride Safe campaign is a result of the pandemic's effect on limiting our regular public transport. Because of COVID, we couldn't take jeeps and buses or even cabs the way we used to. People suddenly rediscovered bikes as a means of getting around. This ties in very much with Allianz's strong focus on sustainability, as well as health, since we are a life and health insurance company. Our purpose is to 'secure our customers' future,' and that includes doing our best to take care of the future of our world. Biking is healthy, as it leads to daily exercise, and it is also sustainable because of its low carbon footprint. Thus, Allianz Ride Safe aims to promote this culture of cycling among Pinoys so that we can get regular, daily exercise, as well as leave a lower carbon footprint since we will not be using vehicles that release emissions," explained Allianz PNB Life's Digital Brand Management Director Kenneth Yu in an online exchange with SPOT.ph.

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Manila Bike Racks: Tabak
"Tabak," which is located at the Bonifacio Shrine, is reflective of the Katipuneros' bravery.
PHOTO BY Kenneth G. Yu (Used with permission for SPOT.ph)
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Manila Bike Racks: Maya
The "Maya" bike rack at Liwasang Bonifacio was inspired by the little bird that once flew in abundance over the city’s parks and churches.
PHOTO BY Kenneth G. Yu (Used with permission for SPOT.ph)
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After a successful partnership with San Juan where they donated bollards for bike lanes and solar-powered bike pitstops, Allianz PNB Life reached out to the City of Manila. With more Manileños riding bikes, there is an increased need for racks where they can securely park their wheels.

"We didn't just want to donate the regular bike racks that looked like pipes. Just like the San Juan bike pitstop with the F1 design, we wanted to do something eye-catching as well as useful. Given the rich history of Manila, we asked talented designer Mark Wesley Pahate to design these racks to be both functional and artistic," Yu added. Pahate is also a Manileño himself.

Manila Bike Racks: Kalesa
"Kalesa" takes after the horse-drawn carriages that can still be seen in Intramuros.
PHOTO BY Kenneth G. Yu (Used with permission for SPOT.ph)

The result was a collection of four art-installations-slash-bike-racks all over Manila City: the wing-like "Maya," which was inspired by the small, brown bird we're all familiar with, is located at Liwasang Bonifacio in Lawton; "Kalesa," which is aptly placed in Intramuros; "Tabak" or sword at the Bonifacio Shrine in Ermita; and "Alon" or wave at Rajah Sulayman Park along Roxas Boulevard near Manila Bay. The pieces "match the places where they are set, they reflect some aspect of the city's history or location, but they still serve the function of being bike racks," according to Yu.

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"As someone who grew up in Manila and continues to live and serve its residents today, it makes me proud that Allianz PNB Life has chosen our city to bring its sustainability campaign and take inspiration from our beautiful and historic sites," said Manila Mayor Isko Moreno during the launch.

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