Sending off Prince to the airport has been one of the most stressful tasks I’ve had this summer so far. After buying a dozen of Krispy Kreme for his pasalubong for his mother, we walked to SM Makati and took a MIA bus from EDSA thinking that we’d be able to show him the places which he would not otherwise see if he took a cab, but this turned out to be a bad decision. Not only did this make the travel time longer, it also caused Prince so much stress worrying because he has only an hour and a half left before his scheduled departure. Although we kept on reassuring him that he still has enough time left, he was not convinced. So we went off the bus before it U-turned near the entrance of SM Mall of Asia and took a taxi from Roxas Boulevard to the airport.
As if Fate was having her field day, we were caught in a heavy traffic just before we turned left to that avenue from Baclaran. Our rather fastidious guest was already starting to be restless and panicky. From the backseat of the taxi where I and a friend were seated, I was fighting hard the urge of hitting Prince with my empty can of soda so he’ll quit murmuring impatient gibberish. Good thing the cab driver was calm the whole time, and his quiet calmness miraculously got brushed on the people in the backseat.
We reached the airport on time, as predicted. Prince still has got to learn much about how to be a jetsetter, but soon he’ll learn the ropes and stop being theatrical and hysterical just because he’s not yet at the airport two hours before his flight. Happy that we saw him checking in, we hopped on a bus that took us to EDSA LRT station on Taft Avenue.
Earlier that day, we planned to joyride on an LRT to Monumento in Caloocan. We endured standing from EDSA to Monumento, passing 16 stations, in packed coaches with people who have variegated idea as to what smells good. When CK, cheap Bench colognes, Channel No. 5, smuggled imitation perfumes, natural pheromones, body odor, and sweat intermingle, one can only expect an explosive extravaganza of not very pleasant olfactory experience.
When we reached the final station, we went down the stairs, got caught in a line of people that resembled a line of those waiting to receive the holy communion, only that the line was more disorderly in a schizophrenic way. We crossed the street, found the nearest 7eleven store, and as if it was but natural, we bought a2-liter Coke and took turns in gulping its content. We cam all the way from the southernmost part of Manila to somewhere in its northernmost part, almost 40 minutes by train, only to drink Coke.
Too proud to go home with nothing to brag about but the Coke-drinking spree, we bought a ticket to Blumentritt to ride a Philippine National Railways (PNR) train to Buendia. This we already planned to undertake during my first week in Manila but has been postponed a lot of times.
Below are photos taken during the trip from Sampaloc, Manila to Pio del Pilar in Makati:
The system is archaic in a lot of sense. These two women were in-charge of the ticketing. The price depends on the destination; surprisingly the ticket price is so cheap, 10 pesos between 10 stations, which in regular public transport will easily cost one around 60 pesos, even higher if on a taxi.
There are some interesting scenes. Because the trains pass by residential areas for the poor, shanties, makeshift houses, kids playing oblivious of the dangers posed by the trains, people bathing, and yes, some people cooking right in the middle of the tracks, are normal fixtures seen in a hilarious way more than as social problematique.
Also, one very noticeable feature of these PNR trains is the predominance of the male riding population. Women are allotted one coach out of the six. And I saw no woman inside coaches general public . Furthermore, these men are not the young urban professional types like those seen in either of the LRTs or MRT. They all seemed tired from a day’s work doing manual labor.
This is the station in front the condominium of my friend where I stay in Buendia.