Young advocates aim to make cycling more than just a temporary lockdown solution, but they continue to face bureaucratic and cultural challenges in pushing for this greener mode of mobility
MANILA, Philippines – Alyssa Belda, a 23-year-old interior design fresh graduate, is part of a new generation finding freedom in cycling and mobility after relying on cars and other emissions-heavy vehicles for years.
Though she started cycling only in 2021, she was already concerned about the limited urban transport as early as when she was 12. Her advocacy for improved transport options eventually led her to join the Move as One Coalition, where she uses her design background to champion “green spaces and [keep] our heritage intact.”
Belada is not alone in this newfound call for greener transport options. Many turned to cycling when the COVID-19 pandemic forced governments to restrict public transit, ushering in the importation of 2.1 million bikes to the Philippines in 2020. In 2022, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey found that around 4.5 million people aged 18 to 44 comprised the biking population in the country.
Keisha Mayuga, an environmental planner and cycling advocate long before the pandemic, has observed an increase in the number of young people cycling due to awareness of the transport sector’s contribution to climate change and the cost of owning cars.
“It used to be that having a car acted as a symbol for ‘making’ it in life. But now, we’re seeing a trend where more young people don’t want to own a […]