Allianz PNB Life and Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso today inaugurated bike racks designed to evoke memories of growing up in Manila.
Crafted to encourage a culture of cycling among Filipinos and to stir local tourism, each bike rack was creatively designed to reflect the place for which it will be installed.
“Kakaiba ang proyektong ito. Dahil sa bukod sa ito’y kapaki-pakinabang, ito ay may mga disenyo na may kabuluhang kultural, maaaring maging tampulan ng atensyon ng ating mga bisita, lalo na ng mga turista (This project is different, Not only is it helpful; its design has a cultural significance that can gain the attention of visitors, especially tourists),” Domagoso said.
The bike rack art installations were launched during the country’s commemoration of the “Araw ng Watawat” (Flag Day) at the Kartilya ng Katipunan, where one of the bike racks is located.
The event also marked the beginning of the celebration of the 450th Founding Anniversary of the City of Manila.
Domagoso, along with Manila City Vice Mayor Maria Sheilah “Honey” Lacuna-Pangan, MD, FPDS; Alexander Grenz, President and Chief Executive Officer, Allianz PNB Life; and Gino Riola, Chief Marketing Officer, Allianz PNB Life led the launch and celebration.
They were joined by Laura Oexle, German Embassy Deputy Head of Mission; Bernie Punsalan, Group Head for Luzon, Philippine National Bank; Carlos Leytte, Region Head, North Metro Manila, PNB; Atty. Guiller Asido, Administrator, Intramuros Administration; Charlie Duñgo, Director, Department of Tourism, Culture, and Arts of Manila; Engr. Armando Andres, Director of the Department of Engineering and Public Works; Giovanni Evangelista, Director of the Parks and Development Office; and Kenneth Amurao, Director of the Department of Public Services.
Councilor Joel Chua, Majority Floor Leader of the City Council of Manila, led the opening prayer, followed by the raising of the flag by the Manila Police District. After the singing of the national anthem, Vice Mayor Lacuna led the patriotic oath.
Simultaneous inaugurations were also held in other locations of the bike racks. Kenneth Yu, Digital Brand Management Head, Allianz PNB Life, led the launch at the Rajah Sulayman Park, Roxas Boulevard of the Alon bike rack. He was joined by Amurao and Evangelista.
Bernadette Jalandoni-Pantoja, Bancassurance Distribution Partner Head, Allianz PNB Life, and Asido cut the ribbon at Plaza Roma, Intramuros for the Kalesa bike rack, while Carol Bernas, VP and Head for PNB Bancassurance, Allianz PNB Life, and Andres were at the Liwasang Bonifacio, Ermita for the Maya bike rack.
“I’m very proud that we’re able launch it here today, and I’m even more honored that we also have the opportunity to add art to this beautiful city and help bring it back to the old glory. Again, big thank you to the city of Manila. A big thank you also to all the frontliners, to the employees of the city who all work hard during the pandemic, who went beyond and above to support the communities,” Grenz said.
Apart from the bike rack installations, Allianz PNB Life also donated personal and health insurance to 500 city hall employees and frontliners of Manila. These included personnel under the Office of the Mayor who are directly on the frontlines taking care of the districts. They received accidental death, dismemberment, and disability benefits and a coverage of up to PhP 100,000.
Inspiration Behind the Bike Rack Designs
The bike racks and art installation in Manila were designed by Mark Wesley Pahate — a Manileño himself. Pahate was born and raised in Tondo and finished Advertising Arts at the University of Santo Tomas in España, Manila. An advocate of street art, Pahate was an associate creative director at McCann World Group and Harrison Communications prior to starting his own boutique agency, Eggshell.
Tabak bike rack at the Kartilya ng Katipunan commemorates the bravery of the Katipuneros. It was placed strategically near the monument of hero Andres Bonifacio holding a tabak.
The Maya bike rack, meanwhile, is inspired by the little bird that once flew in abundance over the city’s parks and churches. At Rajah Sulayman Park, where one can see Manila Bay from across Roxas Boulevard, the Alon bike rack will stand as a remembrance of the city’s historic bay and beautiful sunset.
The Kalesa bike rack at Plaza Roma in front of the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros is a reminder of how the horse-drawn carriage used to rule the streets during earlier times.
“Biking is one of the most sustainable means of transportation. It’s a small action to address big challenges. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions, it’s healthy for body and soul. It reduces traffic congestion and it reduces the risk of exposure the virus. But of course, it has to be safe. So, the installation of bike racks is an excellent way to encourage more people to ride their bikes while increasing their safety. Installing this bike rack here in this historical and cultural place is a great way to bring this to the people, to entice people to come here to experience the rich culture of Manila and also a small piece of German history here,” Oexle said.
Allianz PNB Life launched its Ride Safe campaign in 2020 with the objective of promoting the use of the bicycle as a sustainable solution to the mobility problem brought about by the pandemic.
Hailed as one of the world’s most sustainable insurers, Allianz PNB Life has advocated for healthier and more sustainable alternatives of transport. “We are very proud to be one of the most sustainable insurance companies in the world and we have a clear sustainability program in our DNA. Also, here locally, we had a lot of campaigns in the past. But then the pandemic came. For a lot of tragedies, there are also opportunities. We saw cyclists coming out. Bicycling became the new means of transportation, even better and sustainable. Sustainable mobility is environmentally friendly, and we’re very happy to see when we saw public transport coming back, we still see and I guess we’ll see even more bicyclists every day,” Grenz said.