The Blank Wall

Pasig River: A Glimpse of What Happened To Manila

By John Roy Abenaza |

Photo by John Roy Abenaza

Photo by John Roy Abenaza

History told us that great civilizations had started on riverbanks wherein great amount of progress, transportation and communication transpired. But it seems the improvement cannot be perceived in the Philippines’ well-known river.

The Pasig Ferry System which was revived recently offers a ride from Plaza Mexico in Intramuros to Guadalupe in Makati and to Pinagbuhatan in Pasig. The ride will take you on a trip to what life is like to those who are living beside the river.

Photo by John Roy Abenaza

Photo by John Roy Abenaza

Arriving at the Plaza Mexico station, it is very noticeable that few, almost none, ride the ferry. The reasons why almost limited people use this transportation came to me as the trip went on.

Photo by John Roy Abenaza

Photo by John Roy Abenaza

Unlike other ferry systems in the world, the surroundings of the Pasig River is filled with various unsettling sights including naked children swimming in the murky water, people dumping their wastes and families cooking right under the bridge.

From the vicinity of Malacanang Palace going to Guadalupe station, it became more obvious how the life of people regress.

Numbers of neglected buildings, some of which were in a bad state, were also on the riverbanks showing how much the government took the maintenance of the river for granted.

It seems unfair that oil depots look better than residential areas around the Pasig River.

The other problem with the ferry system comes whenever it rains. The stench of the river comes out and gives people an unpleasant experience.

Pasig Ferry also stops the service whenever it rains, something that does not happen to other land transportation modes.

Photo by John Roy Abenaza

Photo by John Roy Abenaza

The problem with stench was supposedly solved by the predecessors of the ferry system where they used air-conditioned boats. Those boats, which I still prefer than the new ones, are currently parked few miles from the Malacanang.

If the things I’ve noted weren’t there, the Pasig Ferry System will probably appeal to the public more.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority should have also thought to make the surroundings of Pasig River more attractive. In this way, we can see a progressive city and not the other way around.

j5

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