A couple of Thursdays ago, I was in the Ortigas CBD area to attend a conference on statistics. I hitched a ride with an old friend who was also going there and so we had some time to catch up on life and other topics we usually talked about since our college days. Being on the passenger seat also meant I had some opportunities to take photos of the traffic situation in the vicinity of the venue of our conference. Here are some photos I took of traffic in the Galleria – ADB area as we drove along ADB Avenue.
Congestion along ADB Avenue across from Robinsons. The ADB building is shown ahead of the vehicles.
Most of the vehicles turned out to be turning towards Guadix and headed for Poveda. These are traffic generated by the exclusive school where most if not all students’ mode of transport is by car. This causes much of the congestion in the area at this time of day as well as during dismissals in the noontime and afternoon.
Vehicles bound for Poveda (building is in the background) and EDSA.
View of Ortigas bound vehicles filed along Sapphire Road – this photo was taken at the bridgeway connecting Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn. The relatively uncontested road is the Robinsons’ driveway.
The photos show how dependent to cars many people working in the Ortigas CBD are. Many of them live outside of the CBD including those residing in the Rizal towns to the east of Metro Manila. The number of people using their own cars put so much strain on the major thoroughfares including and perhaps especially Ortigas Avenue, which serves as a main arterial connecting the CBD to many parts of Pasig, Quezon City (via C5) and the very progressive towns of Rizal Province such as Cainta, Taytay and Antipolo City.
It is a wonder why up to now, there is no mass transit system along Ortigas Avenue when the demand is very high and continuous to increase with the development of lands along it. SM, Robinsons and Megawide are among the major players now developing their plots of land to become high density commercial/office/residential areas. And these will surely translate into more trips generated and worse traffic congestion. Perhaps the mayors of Pasig, Cainta, Taytay and Antipolo plus the governor of Rizal can get together to discuss and agree about solutions where each LGU can contribute for the betterment of their constituents’ commutes?
Arriving in Cebu, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the airport’s Terminal 1 has a new lobby that is now open to the public. Here are photos taken during our recent trip to Cebu last month.
View of the newly opened lobby from the baggage claim area
Passengers and well-wishers (mostly people waiting to fetch arriving passengers) at the MCIA’s new lobby
This is the arrival level and one can use the escalators or the stairs to get to the departure level
Escalators at the MCIA’s new lobby
The corridor to the transport terminal is unfinished but the path is spacious enough as shown in the photo.
This is the area closer to the older exit from the arrival area of Terminal 1, which is actually closer to the transport terminal.
A preview of a much more spacious area where a driveway used to be
I made sure to take more photos of the lobby upon our departure from Cebu. Here are those photos:
Workers walking along the newly completed pathways at the ground transport interphase for the departure area of the airport’s Terminal 1.
A familiar scene: passengers saying their farewells to relatives at the airport terminal
Carts neatly placed for use by travellers
Information signs and columns are sleek and modern. These show the way to the check-in counters.
A very spacious departure level lobby
View towards the escalators to the arrival area, which is one level down from the departure area
Shakey’s seem to be one of the first to establish a branch at the newly refurbished Terminal 1.
Corridor to the terminal’s domestic flight check-in counters
Newly installed information board showing scheduled departures and their status
More about Cebu’s airport soon!
The Bandaranaike International Airport reminded me of the larger airports in the Philippines. At least that was my first impression of this main gateway for Sri Lanka upon our arrival. Here are photos I took upon our arrival at Colombo last September.
We deplaned away from the international terminal where a bus was waiting for us.
Other passengers deplaned from the rear door and another bus was waiting for them.
The bus was not airconditioned so we had our first taste of the Sri Lankan climate. Coming from a tropical country though, it was okay for us.
Passengers deplaning had to stop on the stairs as our bus was full and they had to wait for the next one.
Other aircraft on the tarmac of the airport
The air traffic control tower as seen from a distance
Upon disembarking from our buses, passengers ascend towards the immigration section
It took us a while to clear immigration as there were few officers assigned to foreigners that time. Upon clearing immigration, we walked towards the baggage reclaim area only to be greeted by this sight.
On one side were shops selling mostly liquor and cigarettes and on the other were shops selling appliances and other electronics. I didn’t expect to see so many selling items like TVs, refrigerators and washing machines. And then we thought these were quite similar to the set-up of duty free shops in Manila during the 1970s to the 1990s when many if not most arrivals were either balikbayan (vacationing from the US, Canada or Europe) or Overseas Foreign Workers who were on a break or between contracts. We observed similar situations at Bandaranaike as many Sri Lankans arriving appeared to be OFWs.
We descended towards the baggage reclaim area, which turned out to be an expansive area.
There were few passengers so that added to the feeling of space.
The airport had many conveyor belts
It took us a while to get to our conveyor belt. Along the way, I took this photo of the customs channels. The green was for travellers with nothing to declare. The red was for those with taxable items.
Passengers positioned themselves around the conveyor belt
Passengers waiting for their luggage
Upon getting our luggage, we proceeded towards the terminal exit. The way was lined with currency exchange stalls, hotels booths and tourist travel booths.
Currency exchange and tourist services
The path towards the terminal exit is lined with tourist agencies offering various services and packages.
Passengers are greeted by those picking them up (including hotel transportation) and those offering transport services to various destinations.
There were many empty stalls intended for duty free shops at the terminal. Perhaps these will be occupied once the airport complex is completed and there is an increase in flights at Bandaranaike.
Passengers waiting for their rides upon exiting the terminal
One of the driveways at the arrivals area. This was for private vehicles picking up arriving passengers. We crossed this to get to the driveway where our Uber car was waiting for us.
A friend engaging our Uber driver – it wasn’t difficult to make conversation as most Sri Lankans could speak English; one of the legacies of being under British rule for a long time.
View of the airport driveway
Familiar scene of a buddhist image – we thought this was similar to scenes in Thailand
More photos from our trip to Sri Lanka soon!
The nationwide transport strike last Monday elicited a lot of reactions from both supporters and opponents of the the initiatives to modernise the jeepney. Both sides have valid points but both, too, have weak points. Much has been discussed about the cost of acquiring new jeepneys to replace the old ones and whether you agree or not, these are really a bit steep to the typical jeepney driver-operator.
A low downpayment will certainly mean higher monthly amortisations. And most drivers/operators can only afford a low downpayment with or without the 80,000 pesos or so subsidy from the government. Even if you factor in some tax incentives, the net amount to be paid every month will still be too much for a typical driver/operator. Anyone who’s ever purchased a vehicle, new or used, through a loan should know this, and to deny it means you probably are privileged enough not to take out a loan.
Certainly there are exceptions like certain Beep operations that are supposed to be run like a company or cooperative, and where fleet management techniques allow these to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively. The latter supposedly allows the owners to recover their capital (return of investment) for the purchase of the new jitney units. The reality, however, is that not all routes are good enough for the required revenues and the better earning ones subsidize (forced?) those that are not profitable. The ‘company’ or ‘coop’ can therefore hide these unprofitable cases as the collective performance of the routes they operate along become the basis for assessment.
Snapshot inside a jeepney while waiting for it to fill with passengers
It is true that the business model (or what is passed off for one) for jeepney operations is flawed. More so if you place this in the context of transport demand for a metropolis like Metro Manila. That is why perhaps corporatization or cooperatives can probably help in terms of improving processes and practices (e.g., maintenance regimes, deployment). So perhaps this is where government should step in and be more aggressive in organising jeepney drivers and operators. I would even dare say that government should be willing to extend more financial support if significant change in public transport is to be achieved. The Office of the President, Senators and Congressmen enjoy a lot of pork and the numbers for a single year indicate that they can, if willing, purchase new jitneys for their constituencies perhaps focusing on the cities and retiring the old, dilapidated public utility vehicles. That, I think, is a more ‘intelligent’ use to these funds that are allegedly being misused by our politicians.
So, was the strike a success? I think the answer is yes it was. Government cannot deny this as it was forced to suspend classes in schools in order to address the impending shortfall of services during the strike and many LGUs were forced to provide free transport services (libreng sakay) in many forms (e.g., dump trucks, flat bed trucks, etc.). You can only say it was a failure if it was business as usual with commuters feeling minimal impact of the stoppage in jeepney operations.
I had spotted buses (or perhaps its just the same bus?) for a P2P service between Antipolo and Ortigas Center bearing what appears to be a statement for improving the quality of life of commuters. Many have been suffering and continue to suffer on their daily commutes starting from difficulties getting a ride to very long travel times. The term “dignity of travel” comes to mind, which a colleague coined many years ago to describe
P2P buses at the public transport terminal at Robinsons Place Antipolo
Whoever thought of this probably meant well; thinking about improving quality of life. The choice of words though may convey a different message as “driving” is in all caps and usually associated with a different, less appealing activity to sustainable transport advocates. I think they should have chosen “improving” instead of “driving” here.
This is somewhat similar to a much earlier post of mine showing SMRT buses in Singapore with ads promoting Uber and how it was supposed to complement public transport. That, of course, was a bit of a stretch in the city-state, which already has excellent public transport compared to elsewhere, and already complemented by very good taxi services.
Yesterday, there was a nationwide transport strike and depending on which side you are on, the reality is that we are still far from having more efficient public transport. But that’s another story and hopefully, I get to write about it in the next few days.
The trip to Sri Lanka afforded me some hours at Singapore’s Changi Airport. En route to Colombo, we made sure to go around the complex and check out one of the attractions of the top airport in the world. Changi’s Jewel is very impressive and can make you forgot you were actually inside an airport terminal. Here are some photos taken as we trekked to the Jewel via Terminal 2 and 3.
Visitors have the option of walking by themselves or using the moving walkway whenever these were available.
The automated guideway transit (AGT) system of Changi allow you to transfer from one terminal to another with the exception of Terminal 4.
I took this photo of the guideway and the AGT as reference for my lectures
Another view of the corridor connecting Terminal 3 to the Jewel
Directional sign to the Jewel
Changi’s air traffic control tower
The main attraction is this gigantic waterfall located at a man-made complex that’s designed to imitate conditions at a rainforest.
Changi AGT slow down for passengers to have a good close view of the Jewel
All the water used is recycled and one can get mesmerised by the vortex where all the water falls and seem to be sucked into.
Here’s another look at the Jewel and the airport AGT
There is a mall with shops, restaurants and cafes around the Jewel.
Another photo of the AGT guideway above the road system at Changi
Taxis queued along airport roads
A look back at the way from the Jewel
More photos of Changi soon!
The sidewalks around the University of San Jose Recoletos in Cebu City are named Paseo de Recoletos and Paseo de San Jose. Here are a few photos on Paseo de Recoletos.
Arcade-type walkway along the perimeter of the University of San Jose Recoletos. This part is the Paseo de Recoletos along Magallanes Street and across from the Freedom Park Market. The other is Paseo de San Jose but is not wholly covered. The latter is along P. Lopez Street.
The Paseo leads to the church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, which is on the second level from the ground.
View of the Paseo de Recoletos from our vehicle. Note the architectural details on the USJR building.
Another view of the Paseo de Recoletos
The main gate of the USJR is at the corner of Magallanes and P. Lopez Streets. The photo capture the view towards P. Lopez and the side of the university along this street is Paseo de San Jose.
Frontage of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish Church, which is integrated with the main building of the university, which is run by the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR).
Scenes along the Paseo de Recoletos included overloaded jeepneys, motorcycle taxis and various vendors both mobile and those who’ve set up shop across the street.
Vegetable vendor pushing a cart containing his merchandise
Scenes like these are common in many Philippine cities especially the old ones that have narrow streets and have retained much of the commerce in many areas around the city centre. It gives you a glimpse of the marketplace and commerce before the arrival of the large malls. Of course, there are what are already termed as malls around the area but these are more like large department stores than the types of SM City, Ayala Center and Robinsons Place.