Since the 1970s, in the Philippines, increasing rural to urban migration and a lack of income-generating employment have led to new forms of livelihood characterized by complex intersections of formal/informal and legal/illegal work and public space use. This paper uses Baguio City’s new Harrison Road Night Market to argue that both street vendors and city officials are complicit in reconfiguring informality and legality as urban organizing logics—unmapping and remapping urban public space and livelihoods to their mutual advantages—increased rental income for the city and viable jobs for vendors. To this end, street vendors use everyday and insurgent public space activism to secure their right to street-based work. Simultaneously, the municipal government,
variably tolerates, regularizes, or penalizes street trade as it gauges its potential to enrich city coffers. Such political-economic manoeuvering by both parties, moreover, also reveals insights about the intersection of different forms of power—that between vendors and the city, between vendor associations, and among vendors themselves. By successfully securing government permission to establish a “legal” used clothing night street market on Harrison Road, a main city artery, Baguio City’s previously marginalized street vendors visibly assert their legitimacy and rights to livelihood in arenas of power from which they have been largely excluded.