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Local papers presented at the EASTS 2015 conference – University of the Philippines

There were a lot of technical papers from Philippine universities that were presented in the recently concluded 11th International Conference of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS 2015). In the interest of dissemination, I will be featuring a list of papers produced by leading universities in the Philippines that are doing studies on transportation. Following is a list of papers from University of the Philippines Diliman that were presented at the EASTS 2015 held in Cebu City last Sept. 11-13, 2015:

  1. Innovative Collection of Road and Traffic Data for Road Safety Audit (Aileen Mappala & Ricardo Sigua)
  2. Study on Safety of Railway/Highway Grade Crossings in the Philippines (Albie Clarito, Beverly May Ramos & Ricardo Sigua)
  3. Instantaneous Fuel Consumption Models of Light Duty Vehicles and a Case Study on the Fuel Consumption at Different Traffic Conditions in Metro Manila using Shepard’s Interpolation Method (Ernesto Abaya, Karl Vergel, Ricardo Sigua, Edwin Quiros & Jose Bienvenido Biona)
  4. Development of Drive Cycles and Measurement of Fuel Economies of Light Duty Vehicles in Metro Manila (Ernesto Abaya, Karl Vergel, Ricardo Sigua & Edwin Quiros)
  5. Selection of Metro Manila BRT Corridors Using Multi- Criteria Assessment (Ricardo Sigua & Cresencio Montalbo, Jr.)
  6. An Assessment of Walkability in a Medium-Sized Philippine City (Hilario Sean Palmiano, Sheila Flor Javier & Jose Regin Regidor)
  7. Traffic Noise Measurement, Perception, and Modelling in a University Campus (Hilario Sean Palmiano, John Carlo Villar & Michelle Monelle Quilatan)
  8. Assessment of Metro Manila Bus Fare Computation (Sylvia Chavez & Hilario Sean Palmiano)
  9. Estimating Road Roughness Conditions Using Ubiquitous Smartphones and Geographic Information Systems and its Application to Road Network Planning in the Philippines (Joel Cruz & Jun Castro)
  10. Fuel Economy and Public Utility Jeepneys Using 2% and 5% Coco-Metyl Ester (CME)-Diesel Blends (Edwin Quiros & Karl Vergel)
  11. Comparison of Fuel Economy of Fuel and Operating Characteristics of Diesel and Auto-LPG Jeepneys through On-Road and Vehicle Tests (Edwin Quiros, Karl Vergel, Ernesto Abaya, Ervin Santos & Jose Gabriel Mercado)
  12. Challenges of Urban Transport Development in Metro Manila: A look back at the last 40 years (Maria Sheilah Napalang & Jose Regin Regidor)
  13. An Assessment of the Public Necessity Concept for Estimating the Requirements for Public Transport Vehicle (Arnel Manresa, Karl Vergel & Jose Regin Regidor)
  14. State of Pavement Engineering in the Philippines and Implications on the Economic Life of National Roads (Maria Sheilah Napalang, Jose Regin Regidor & Nathaniel Diola)
  15. Planning Metro Manila’s Mass Transit System (Ricardo Jose, Daniel Mabazza, Jose Regin Regidor, Marco Stefan Lagman & Jonathan Villasper)
  16. Evaluation of Compliance of Dimensions and Selected Systems and Components of Customized Local Road Vehicles (CLRV) with Vehicle Regulations and Standards (Karl Vergel, Rachel Habana, Nonilo Peña, Loreto Carasi, Albert Mariño & Alorna Abao)
  17. An O-D Approach of Estimating Energy Demand and CO2 Emission for the Luzon Road Transport using Inter- Regional Passenger and Freight Flow Data (Marloe Sundo & Karl Vergel)
  18. Dignity of Travel: BRT Development in the Philippines (Cresencio Montalbo Jr & Colin Brader)
  19. Mending a Metropolis – Understanding Passenger Demand Across Metro Manila To Improve Road Transit (Nicholas Greaves & Cresencio Montalbo Jr)
  20. Accident Hotspot Mapping in Quezon City: The case of Katipunan Avenue (Jerome Ballarta, Nelson Doroy, Ishtar Padao & Cecil Villanueva)

Not included in the list are papers coming out of International Research Groups (IRG) as well as those where involvement by UP faculty were incidental to projects. Many of these papers will soon be posted on the official site of the International Scientific Committee of EASTS as part of either Proceedings or Journal of EASTS. Some may be nominated for the Asian Transport Journal (ATS), which is also published by EASTS.

Transportation research in UP Diliman is the most developed among schools doing research on these topics in the country. Papers came from a variety of disciplines and academic units including Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Urban Planning, Geography and History. These mostly were and are undertaken through the National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS), which is with UP Diliman.

Next up: De La Salle University


EASTS 2015 – Cebu City, September 11-13, 2015

The 11th International Conference of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS 2015) will be held in Cebu City this September 11-13, 2015. For information on the conference and program, check out their website here:

You can also download a brochure about EASTS here:

EASTS brochure2014-2015a

The conference is hosted by the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines (TSSP), which is the local affiliate of the EASTS. More information on the TSSP are found below:

TSSP brochure_inside TSSP brochure_cover-back

The old railway station at Hinulugang Taktak

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.

IMG10125-20150214-1335Old 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.

IMG10130-20150214-1338Trees notwithstanding, this is the view from what used to be the platform of the railway station.

IMG10132-20150214-1339An old drinking fountain that’s probably survived the passing of time and witnessed a lot about the old railway station and Hinulugang Taktak.

IMG10133-20150214-1339What’s left of the former railway station structure are the platform and columns.

IMG10134-20150214-1340Taktak 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.

IMG10135-20150214-1341The 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.

IMG10136-20150214-1341The old entrance to Hinulugang Taktak.

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.

Some thoughts on transportation heritage in the Philippines

There have been a lot of buzz about heritage conservation and especially the past few weeks about certain buildings in Manila. A lot has been written about this in newspaper columns and blogs, and there have been features on television about heritage conservation focused on buildings, mostly houses, in Negros, Cebu and Panay. Of course, the most prominent heritage project has just been recognized as a wonder of the world in the city of Vigan, Ilocos Sur. I think another area for consideration in heritage discussions is transportation. We do have a lot of historical routes consisting of roads, railways and even trails that could be preserved or enhanced and not just for commercial purposes but more importantly for the current and coming generations to remember and learn about history and heritage.

The availability and accessibility of such tools like GIS, GPS and aerial photography using drones make it possible to do studies and documentation of transport routes such as the old rail line to Antipolo, the PNR’s Main Line North, the Bataan Death March, and even Aguinaldo’s retreat to Palanan, Isabela. There are also pilgrimage routes linked to the most popular shrines in the country like those in Baclaran, Quiapo, Antipolo, Cebu, Penafrancia and Manaoag.

The PNR and Panay Railway lines are good starting topics for transport heritage studies that may lead to some form of conservation. Following are a few photos taken back in 2006 when we surveyed the alignment for what was supposed to be Phase 1 of the Northrail project. The activities were preparatory for transport surveys that would have provided data that were to be used as inputs to estimating passenger demand for the railway line.

IMG_0091Remaining structures of an old PNR bridge in Bulacan.

IMG_0103Old PNR station in Bulacan – I can’t recall if this were in Marilao or Bocaue but the red brick building reminded me of similar rebuilt and preserved buildings in Japan such as Tokyo Station and the warehouses at Aka Renga in Yokohama.

IMG_0116PNR Malolos Station back in 2006 – the building was occupied by informal settlers at the time.

A good reference for those interested in railway heritage and its conservation is a book entitled “The Colonial Iron Horse” by Arturo Corpuz and published by the University of the Philippines Press. There’s a lot of material in that book to get one started about rail history in the Philippines particularly for the island of Luzon and the two main lines of the PNR – the Main Line North and the Main Line South, which I have written about in previous posts. These could be good topics for interdisciplinary studies involving historians, sociologists, anthropologists, architects, engineers and specialist in other disciplines.

Daang Bakal and Antipolo’s attractions

I recently wrote about the old railway line that used to run between Manila and Antipolo via a route passing through the town of Cainta that used what was probably the gentlest slope at the time – through what is now Valley Golf, Victoria Valley and Fairmont Subdivisions. Here are some more photos along Daang Bakal, the old Manila Rail Road line that is now a road.

IMG08002-20140417-0940Daang Bakal is a scenic route and one can only imagine how this place looked like when it was still a railway line and the areas along it were still undeveloped.

IMG08003-20140417-0941Hinulugang Taktak has been designated as a National Park and the areas along Daang Bakal at least have been preserved. Users of this road are quite limited to residents of exclusive subdivisions with gates along the road and trips generated by the Immaculate Heart Parish near the Fairmont gate. Public transportation is provided by tricycles that have a terminal at the intersection of Daang Bakal and Taktak Road.

IMG08005-20140417-0942The temporary fence that was made out of tarpaulin material is now in tatters. There is road construction work ongoing though but mainly for the access roads connecting to Pinagmisahan. The concreted area at the right side of the road in the photo seems to be for parking rather than road widening. Traffic is low along Daang Bakal and will probably not require road widening for the foreseeable future.

IMG08004-20140417-0941The main entrance and facilities for Hinulugang Taktak are still closed and there seems to be no activity to indicate that the rehabilitation project is not moving at all.

Daang Bakal

The right of way for the old railroad line going up to Antipolo is still there and is now a regular road. Daang Bakal rises from what is now Valley Golf Subdivision (Celso Tuazon Ave. and Taktak Drive) in Cainta, Rizal through Victoria Valley Subdivision (Taktak Drive), Fairmount Hills Subdivision and Hinulugang Taktak (Daang Bakal though often referred to as Taktak Road, which is actually a different road and on the other side of the river), and until part of the Sumulong Memorial Circle in the vicinity of the Antipolo Church (Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage).  I took a few photos of Daang Bakal on our way to the Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for Palm Sunday Mass. The photos have been modified as I took it at dusk. The originals were quite dark so I adjusted the brightness. Still, I can only imagine now how this route could have looked like back in the day when the Manila Rail Road line passed through this area. It could have been one of the most scenic rides as it is still a scenic route today.

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At right in the photos is a fenced property designating the Hinulugang Taktak National Park. Hinulugang Taktak refers to the water falls that used to be one of the more popular destinations in Antipolo. There is actually a popular folk song inviting people to come to Antipolo (“Tayo na sa Antipolo at doon maligo tayo…”) to enjoy the falls. The falls have deteriorated through the years as it has been affected mainly by the settlements around it. There seems to be an effort to rehabilitate the area but it is still closed to the public. The road though is in excellent condition and has low motor traffic volumes. It is popular among cyclists as well as joggers. This Holy Week, the area should have a lot of visitors because of the Parish church in the area, which has an impressive architecture and gardens. The church is perfect for those doing Visita Iglesia or perhaps people just wanting to go to a quiet place for some meditation and prayer.

P. Casals Street and Ayala Boulevard

This is a continuation of an earlier post about Manila streets. Legarda eventually becomes Pablo Casals Street and then Ayala Boulevard after the Ayala Bridge. There are many prominent academic institutions along the road including the Technological University of the Philippines and the Philippine Normal University.

IMG06424-20130717-0937Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) has a branch along P. Casals St.

IMG06425-20130717-0937Bridge across a tributary to the Pasig River is full of shanties. This is in the San Miguel district of Manila that is near Malacanan Palace. It is between the Quiapo area and the Palace and the tributary leads to the Golden Mosque to the right.

IMG06426-20130717-0939Ayala Bridge where P. Casals Street ends and becomes Ayala Boulevard on the other side of the Pasig. I think the street lamps are quite odd and more decorative than functional. I’ve seen these at night and they look more like lanterns than street lights. At one side of the bridge (on the left in the photo) is the Isla de Balut and the Hospicio de San Jose.

IMG06427-20130717-0939Ayala Boulevard is a 4-lane, undivided road. The southwest direction (downstream) leads to Taft Avenue.

IMG06428-20130717-0939Just pas the bridge is an intersection with San Marcelino Street, which is part of a major truck route. Along San Marcelino is Adamson University and what was the old St. Theresa’s College Manila campus whose buildings have been integrated with Adamson.

IMG06429-20130717-0939There are two major institutions of higher learning along Ayala Blvd. These are the Technological University of the Philippines and the Philippine Normal University.

A bit of trivia: These institutions (TUP and PNU) together with the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) formed the pillars of professional and technical education introduced by the Americans to a post-Spanish Philippines. TUP used to be the Manila Trade School (1901) and then the Philippine School of Arts and Trades (1910) under the Americans. The PNU was Philippine Normal School during the American Period (1901) and later became the Philippine Normal College after the Second World War (1949). The PUP was the Manila Business School (1904) and later the Philippine School of Commerce (1908) during the same period. The University of the Philippines was the first state university established by the Americans in 1908. TUP was established to provide education and training in various trades (vocational school). The PUP was established to provide education and training for business/commerce. The PNU was established to provide education and training for teachers. And UP was established to provide education and training to professionals in the fields of engineering, law and medicine.

Streets of Intramuros: Solana Street

I’m posting more photos of the streets around Mapua and Lyceum. Solana Street is behind Mapua and practically runs parallel to Muralla Street. The southeast end of the street is at its junction with Victoria Street at the Manila Science High School while the northwest end is at the junction with Muralla St. and Andres Soriano, Jr. Ave. at Plaza Espana, where located are the ruins of the Maestranza and the Intendencia.

IMG05491-20130221-1241Intersection of Solana Street with Beaterio Street with an informal pedicab terminal at the corner.

IMG05508-20130221-1606Real Street (view towards the southwest) as seen from Solana Street

IMG05492-20130221-1243A newly built or renovated building is at right across from Mapua. There are many buildings hosting dormitories or rental rooms for students in the area. This is similar to buildings near institutions in the University Belt area where now stands many high-rise condominiums also catering to students.

IMG05509-20130221-1606Intersection of Solana Street with San Francisco Street (left), which leads back to Muralla Street and the Lyceum.

IMG05510-20130221-1606Intersection with Sta. Potencia Street – we caught an amusing sight of these two people who appear to be compacting the asphalt concrete transition between Solana’s lower pavement surface elevation with the Sta. Potencia’s new PCCP.

IMG05511-20130221-1607Vehicles parked along Solana Street and behind the Mapua Institute of Technology

IMG05493-20130221-1243Approaching the intersection with Victoria Street, one sees many signs of businesses geared towards the academic nature of institutions in the area (e.g., photocopying, bookbinding, computer rentals, etc.). The building on the left is Mapua’s while the ones on the right include dormitories or rental apartments on the upper floors.

Another look at traffic along Morayta, Recto and Legarda

Heading to another appointment one morning, our driver avoided Quezon Boulevard and the Quiapo area, which we learned later had serious flooding at the underpass. Our driver said we were actually waved off by a traffic enforcer from heading into Quezon Blvd. to head instead towards Morayta and Recto. And so I decided to take some new photos along our way, which took us to Morayta, Recto, Legarda, P. Casals and Ayala Blvd.

IMG06413-20130717-0931Morayta Street with the Far Eastern University (FEU) at right is part of an area that is called the University Belt because of the academic institutions located in the area including several major universities like FEU, the University of the East (UE), the University of Sto. Tomas (UST), San Sebastian College, San Beda College, Centro Escolar University and College of the Holy Spirit.

IMG06414-20130717-0931On-street parking along Morayta Street – there should be parking fees for such spaces in Manila since vehicles significantly reduce road capacities and cause congestion. These streets are public spaces and should benefit the general public and not just a few people who happen to have cars but no parking space in an area where space is very limited and therefore valuable.

IMG06415-20130717-0933Approach to intersection of Morayta with Recto Avenue.

IMG06416-20130717-0933Recto Avenue eastbound with the elevated tracks of the LRT Line 2.

IMG06417-20130717-0935Approach to the intersection of Recto with Loyola Street. San Sebastian College is just after the signalized intersection. The pedestrian crossing is for people crossing to or from the University of the East, which is on the other side of the road.

IMG06418-20130717-0935The alignment of the LRT Line 2 led to its posts dividing the eastbound lanes of Recto for the section between Loyola Street and Legarda. San Sebastian College is at right with its arcade walkways.

IMG06419-20130717-0935The divided eastbound lanes of Recto merge at the approach to the intersection with Legarda and Mendiola.

IMG06420-20130717-0935That’s Mendiola from across our turning vehicle with San Beda College on the left and a branch of Jollibee obscuring a view of Centro Escolar University at right.

IMG06421-20130717-0935Southbound lanes of Legarda in the general direction towards Arlegui Street. There are many new buildings along the street including the one on the right, which replaced what were already decrepit buildings and houses. Some of these houses probably had historical value but were demolished nonetheless after the property was sold to more enterprising people.

IMG06422-20130717-0936A peak at San Sebastian Church from Legarda and downstream along Bilibid Viejo Street. This image has been captured in many photos and drawings from the time it was completed during the last years of the Spanish period, to the American period until the present.

IMG06423-20130717-0936Legarda ends at its intersection with Nepomuceno and Concepcion Aguila Streets where the most prominent landmark is the National Teachers College. Here, Legarda becomes Nepomuceno and proceeds towards Arlegui and P. Casals.

The streets and sidewalks of Melaka

This time last year, the wife and I were on a trip to Malaysia to explore the old city of Melaka. What was once known as Malacca has been under different colonizers from the Portuguese to the Dutch and finally the British. In history we now know that when the Spanish and Portuguese divided this part of Asia between them, the Portuguese got Melaka while the Spanish got Manila. Melaka was important due to the spices that were an important part of trade in Europe at the time. I post below a part of the series on the Melaka trip that I wrote for another blog.
Walking towards the church of St. Francis Xavier from the plaza of Christ Church, the walkways reminded me a lot of similar forms back home in Manila, Cebu and Iloilo. The latter were old cities “founded” during the Spanish era just about the same time Melaka came under Portuguese rule. Much of the designs of course were not from those times but more recent, perhaps when the Philippines was under the United States and Malaysia under Britain. I can only imagine how beautiful our cities could have been if we were careful about development and making an honest effort towards heritage preservation. Similar walkways in many of our cities are now jammed with vendors, beggars and are poorly maintained (e.g., garbage and other dirt or grime everywhere). There is hope, however, as I have seen similar streets in Bacolod City that are clean and pedestrian-friendly. I will feature this in a future post. Meanwhile, the photos below were all taken in Melaka.
View towards the plaza – the red building is part of the Christ Church complex but is now home of the Melaka Post Office
The walkways reminded me of similar forms in Manila, Cebu and Iloilo, all old cities established during the Spanish Period when Melaka was under the rival Portuguese.
The pavement was tiled but well-maintained
Traffic was light so one could get a good shot of the street leading up to the plaza.
The street leading to St. Francis Xavier made me imagine how old cities in the Philippines would have looked like if those cities made an effort to preserve heritage and controlled motor vehicle access to their street.
Some buildings have been converted to restaurants and bars but they retained their nostalgic features and feel.
Melaka made sure their signposts and lamps were designed consistent with the ambiance of the heritage city
Another shot of the seemingly endless walkway beneath the buildings.
After recently going around a similar historic area in Manila and seeing how neglected it has been despite its potential for heritage tourism, I can only imagine what it would take for Manila to revitalize Intramuros to attain something that Melaka has been able to do for its old quarters. Much has been said about our apparent or perceived lack of a sense of history and this seem to extend to how we have not been able to preserve many if not much of the old districts in many of our cities. Sayang!