As it is already the Holy Week, I thought it would be good to write about transport and traffic around one of the busiest churches in the Philippines – Quiapo Church. This is surely a popular stop for the Visita Iglesia, which is a tradition for many during the Holy Week. People visit as many churches (usually the target is seven) as they can where they are supposed to pray the novena appropriate for the season.
A side view of the church from Quezon Boulevard, which is the main access road for the church. Most public transport pass along this boulevard that connects to other major roads. It’s a good thing that the City of Manila has been stricter in enforcing against on-street parking here.
In front of the church is Plaza Miranda, where many political rallies are held including one fateful rally in the early 1970s that eventually led to the declaration of martial law, is a bustling area with many vendors selling all kinds of items, religious and otherwise, including those that are claimed to be medicinal. Note though that vehicles are allowed to park on-street and this means people would have to hail jeepneys in the middle of the street.
This is traffic along Quezon Boulevard as seen from the descent from the Quezon Bridge (Quiapo church is seen at the left). I took this around 4PM on a Wednesday so it was not surprising to have heavy traffic on both sides of the boulevard. I’ve been told, however, that for most of the day during weekdays, traffic is as heavy as this.
Traffic in Quiapo is not as heavy on Sundays (It’s also quite as bad on Saturdays.) and holidays. During the Visita Iglesia period of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, however, there will likely be heavy traffic in the area as a lot of people bring their own vehicles for the Visita Iglesia as well as for their “church tours”. I used the term “church tours” because I’ve observed that many don’t really come to pray (e.g., Stations of the Cross or novenas) but to take photos (i.e., selfies or ‘groupfies’) and eat & drink about. In Metro Manila, there are several churches popular for this tradition. These include Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Christ the King, Sto. Domingo and Our Lady of Lourdes in Quezon City, and the Manila Cathedral, San Sebastian, St. Jude, Malate and Binondo Churches in Manila. That is not an exhaustive list as there are many churches (old and new) spread around Metro Manila including those in other cities like Malabon, Marikina and Las Pinas. And then there are also the churches in the provinces surrounding Metro Manila, which I will try to write about soon…
Tacloban City has what is called a new transport terminal located to the northwest of downtown and across from the new Robinsons mall in the area. Here are a few photos of the terminal taken earlier this year.
Vendors selling mostly food items including local delicacies
The City Treasurer’s Office has a makeshift post at the terminal to collect fees from transport operators including buses and vans using the terminal.
The terminal hosts an Extension Office of the City Treasurer and also has a K-9 unit to help keep the terminal safe and secure. The dogs work regularly to sniff out illegal substances that may be carried by people using the terminal.
Passengers wait for their buses or vans at the terminal.
The waiting area is not air-conditioned but is relatively cool and is clean.
Another view of the passengers’ waiting lounge
Passengers may purchase bus tickets at the terminal prior to boarding a bus.
The same goes with vans including those called mega taxis
View of the front of the terminal
A view of the terminal from the transport parking lot
A view of the terminal from mall across from it. Note the sign at the left side of the photo? The office of the city’s traffic management and enforcement unit (TOMECO) is located at the second floor of the terminal.
Tacloban hopes to continue development of the terminal area that will eventually be expanded to have an even larger lounge for passengers, a hotel and more commercial spaces aside from berths for public transportation.