The Antipolo City Government recently re-opened the Hinulugang Taktak park to the general public. The National Park and its famous waterfalls have seen better days and is part of Antipolo lore, immortalized in songs and stories about the pilgrimage city. It has been rehabilitated with various initiatives the past few years and with the water again flowing strongly compared to the trickles of dirty water over a decade ago.
Somewhat lost in the promotion of Hinulugang Taktak is a piece of transport history. I am referring to the old railway station located near the gate to the national park. The most convenient and probably most comfortable way to Antipolo and its two main attractions, the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage and Hinulugang Taktak, many decades ago was by railway. Roads and road transport was not as good as today’s. There were no highways like Ortigas or Sumulong. There were no aircon buses, no jeepneys (yet) and cars and motorcycles were not affordable to most people.
Old sign? There is no formal historical marker for the former railway station at Hinulugang Taktak. I think the National Historical Commission of the Philippines should recognize this as a local if not national heritage site.
Trees notwithstanding, this is the view from what used to be the platform of the railway station.
An old drinking fountain that’s probably survived the passing of time and witnessed a lot about the old railway station and Hinulugang Taktak.
What’s left of the former railway station structure are the platform and columns.
Taktak Road was the old Daang Bakal or railroad. Much have changed since the glory days of rail with a line that connected Antipolo with Manila.
The view from the old entrance to Hinulugang Taktak in what also looked like the old railway station’s ticket office gives people (passengers?) a glimpse of the waterfalls.
Someone asked me before if I thought it was possible for old railway lines to be revived. I replied honestly that I thought it was possible but immensely difficult. For one, a lot has changed in the lands on and along which the old railways used to be. The old Daang Bakal, for one, now passes through private residential subdivisions and industries and is now comprised of busy roads. While nothing is impossible, to rehabilitate the old railways will be a great challenge in the financial and social sense. It would be nice to see realized but requires so much from so many people, agencies and local governments who need to commit to such a project. And it requires leadership and a talent for convincing people that it is the right thing to do and that it needs to be done.