Sunday, May 13, 2007

riding the pasig ferry

i always see it whenever i ride the mrt to work. as the train whizzes past guadalupe, i see a tiny station by the river, and i found out that that's the guadalupe station of the pasig ferry.

so one sunday afternoon, susie and i thought, "why not?" and took the train from ayala to guadalupe. we descend the stairs from the train station, and walk under the scorching sun toward the river.

we were greeted by a rather clean, tiny structure, quite a contrast from the filthy river. we pay the P25 that would take us from guadalupe to escolta. the tickets are pretty amusing: a barcode is printed on fax-type paper, and you stick it to the scanner-slash-turnstile. it makes a beeping noise, which means you can safely enter.

we were then led to a short winding "tunnel," which leads to the ferry. as we step into the floating vessel, one of the crewmembers announces, "sa likod lang po tayo, sira po ang aircon!" luckily, there weren't many people on board. we choose a couple of seats by the window, where we can take in the view as we float along.

i look around the ferry. it ain't so bad, i remember thinking to myself. it was clean, which is not something you'd expect from most modes of transportation in the country. what's more, the ferry is equipped with a large flat screen tv in front. all throughout our ride, they played air supply music videos, which suited me just fine.

after a few minutes, we were off. the ferry made a u-turn and we went past the guadalupe bridge, past the large billboard of kobe. after that, the view was mostly made up of assorted shanties.

i make it sound so horrid, but the truth is, i enjoyed the trip. it's sacrilegious to compare it to the ferry ride from kowloon to hong kong island on victoria harbour, because the pasig ferry ride is on a whole other different level.

it gives you a different view on things. the houses that you don't normally see when your bus is hurtling past edsa, the naked children who think nothing of the filth that floats beneath the dark waters, and the rusting barges that float alongside you on the river. it's not a glorious sight, but it's still a fresh perspective.

plus, the ride is so much more calming than getting shaken around as your car criss-crosses its way along edsa. true, the smell is not very desirable (what an understatement!), but you'll get used to it as you coast by shantytown after shantytown.

truth be told, i see a lot of potential in this ferry. i just hope they can do something about the pollution in the water. the ferry itself is great--it's airconditioned, it's clean, and it's quite fast. we were disembarking in escolta after about 45-50 minutes. it's a great alternative to commuting by land or rail--especially when you think about the filthy buses with drivers that seem to believe they're driving kia prides, or the number of people you have to fight off just to get precious space on the train.

as of the moment, there are only a few stations available--guadalupe, hulo, sta. ana, and escolta. but the lambingan and PUP stations are already up. i think they're just trying to further plan out the routes and the schedules.

so next time you want a different kind of adventure, just hop on the ferry. it won't give you a grand, majestic view, but it's an adventure nonetheless.

here are more pasig ferry photos.

more information:
pasig ferry
flat rate: P25.00 per person, one way

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