While doing recon for a project in Tarlac, we inspected several areas where local roads were being used as alternate routes to national highways. Many of the local roads where categorized under Provincial or City Roads but were usually and obviously lower in quality when compared with their national counterparts. In many cases, the asphalt or cement concrete surface has been badly weathered and motorists won’t be able to avoid one pothole after the other.
The following photos were taken along the east dike road of the Tarlac River. The dike is not so conspicuous when seen from the main road during summers. This is in part due to the river usually having little water flowing due to the lahar that accumulated there from Mt. Pinatubo’s destructive eruptions in 1991. It’s a different case during the wet season when the river can overflow due to the amount of rainfall usually brought about by typhoons.
Dirt road from the town of Gerona, Tarlac
Trucks hauling sand from the riverbed a few hundred meters from our location
Dirt road access to the riverbed where sand for construction is extracted
A preview of the dike road on the eastern flank of the Tarlac River
Mad rush? – a truck overtakes another to get to the sand quarry site first
Truck counter-flowing at the tree that serves as a median island of sorts. It’s likely the truck driver made the decision to bypass what looked like a stalled tricycle beneath the shady tree.
Typical light traffic to the sand quarry
Two-way traffic along the dirt road with the tree serving as a sentinel of sorts.
Local roads in a community along the westbound extension of the Gerona-Guimba Road (west of Gerona town proper from the junction with McArthur Highway) – the photo shows the extension as seen from a diversion road that leads travelers north towards the bridge to the town of Camiling from Paniqui.
Concrete roads are used as solar driers for palay and other items (e.g., coconut husks, barbecue sticks, tingting, etc.) can occupy much of the road in areas where there is very low traffic during the mid-day.
In such cases as above, motorists have no choice but to drive over the palay.
Local roads are paved and conditions are excellent but have practically no shoulders all throughout their lengths.
These used to be dirt roads but the local governments, likely with the assistance of the local congressman, seem committed to having them concreted.
Some sections are a bit narrow and could fit two tricycles passing each other but could be a challenge with larger vehicles. Such widths though are good enough for such low traffic volume roads.
Both sides of the road are inhabited and have been planted with flowering plants (e.g., bougainvillas, santan, gumamela, etc.). Bananas are quite easy to grow and bear fruits almost immediately and productively.
End of the paved part of the dike road – from this point, its a dirt road until just before the junction with the Paniqui-Camiling Road.
The face of the dike is visible on the right side in the photo. I like this photo and the previous one because they show the vastness of the Tarlac River that have been covered with lahar.
I got curious about the cultivation along the riverbed and our driver told us these were onions that were able to grow on the thin soil.
Another look at the onion plantations along the Tarlac Riverbed
The Paniqui-Camiling Road at the north end of the dike road