Olongapo-Castillejos Road: Castillejos
The name of the town Castillejos translates to “little castle.” Such names are part of our Spanish or Castillan legacy, being under Spain for more than 300 years until 1898. Following are photos showing segments of the Olongapo-Castillejos Road within the Municipality of Castillejos.
Double yellow – the twin solid lines emphasize the “no overtaking” rule for both directions of flow. Often disregarded in the Philippines, crossing over a double yellow will result in an apprehension and a ticket when driving in the US or Canada.
Single yellow on a straight section? – the single yellow line also means “no overtaking”
Obstacle course – among the things people should expect or anticipate when traveling along Philippine roads are various checkpoints that tend to slow down traffic. Some are operated by the PNP or the Army as part of their security measures. There are also those by the DENR to check the transport of restricted items such as logs, corals, exotic animals, etc. Also, there are those set-up to slow down traffic due to the presence of schools or pedestrian crossings like the one shown in the photo.
Turning – typical curve along the highway with the paved shoulders allowing for more maneuver space and improving sight distance
Town center – the poblacion or center of Castillejos is typical of most if not all old towns in the country with the Municipal Hall, Parish Church, local school and market are located together, and usually around or near a plaza.
Tricycles galore – three-wheeled taxis everywhere around the market area. The location of the market along the national highway means local traffic during market days will surely impeded traffic flow.
Marketplace traffic – it is common for travelers to encounter congestion due to the presence of a town’s market along national roads. There are enforcers like the one in green in the photo but they are usually helpless and reduced to managing for the maneuvers of parked vehicles or helping people to cross the road.
Opposite congestion – after passing the market area, we were relieved that we could proceed with much less congestion. Traffic along the other direction would have to contend with the congestion.
Usable shoulders – we were pleased to see that the shoulders were paved and in excellent condition. Such cases allow for walking and cycling off the carriageway such as the example shown by the cyclist on the right. Tricycles would also be able to pull to the side to avoid impeding general traffic. A concern though would always be parked vehicles on the shoulders.
Minimal encroachments – we were also pleased to observe that there were few properties encroaching upon the RROW along the highway, especially in populated or built-up areas like the one shown in the photo above. Such is not the case with many other towns where stores, shops and houses practically dominate shoulder space and even take up parts of the carriageway.
Free flow – these tricycles seem to be racing and could actually pick up speed even with passengers in the cab, probably due to the straight level road and the excellent pavement as shown in the photo. The shoulders are paved and should be sufficient for tricycles to use in order to not impede the flow of other vehicles.
Unimpeded flow – the photo above shows further proof of minimal encroachments on the RROW and especially along the shoulders, which are paved and usable.
Light traffic – traffic was quite light along the highway the time that we traveled.
Bridge ahead – the roadside barriers and the signs already visible from a distance inform motorists of the bridge ahead. We didn’t see any advance temporary signage for the construction site that would have been ideal to advise motorists about the work site.
Detour – the sign speaks for itself but seems to have been placed quite late into the approach to the bridge construction site.
Blocks – signs block the way towards the bridge under construction along the highway while a jeepney emerges from the temporary diversion road.
Sight distance? – while there is sufficient sight distance along the diversion road, there are cones along the middle of the road to discourage overtaking.
Gravel surface – the temporary diversion road was well-graded and wasn’t that rough unlike many other roads built for such purpose.
Steel structure – steel girders laid across the river and on top of the columns in the middle.
End support – a backhoe was working on material to reinforce the embankment at the northern approach to the bridge.
End of the road – the diversion road, that is, at the other end of the bridge.
Boundary – arch symbolizing the gateway to the next town of San Marcelino.