Today, I rode the Philippine National Railways for the first time. I’ve always seen those railroad tracks. I’ve seen them since I was a little girl though I’ve never actually seen a train pass by. I always thought that it was an age-old track that is no longer in use and probably part of our history. I knew that it connected several places in Luzon in the past. What I did not know, is that it has been in existence and that the government has revived its operation in 2009.
Though the carriage itself is new, travelling by the old commuter lines was still quite surreal. Upon researching, I found out that it was first opened back in 1892 when the Philippines was still under Spanish rule. The cornerstone was in Tutuban station, which was my destination today. In Tutuban, I saw the old carriages. Too bad, I did not know there was a museum being housed there as well. If I knew, I would have checked it out and find out more about its long history.
The train ride was quite interesting. I saw the stark contrast between our Philippine slums and those of the upper class. It was not as fast as the MRT or LRT. It took us an hour from Alabang to Tutuban station. If it were as fast as the MRT station, should take about half the time. Thankfully, it was rehabilitated so that the new carriage is now air conditioned. I heard stories in the past wherein people living in the slums usually throw stones, water or even feces on the unaware passengers. When I first heard my Mom talked about taking that train, I was aghast because of the stories I heard. Now, however, the windows are closed due to the air conditioning and I never saw anyone throw anything at the windows at all. It is even possible that some of those stories were just tall tales.
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