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Build & Move

Philippines of the Future – A Work in Progress

This is obviously a work of fiction – for now. The Philippines of the Future is familiar, but it might seem like it’s a long way away. However, it’s free to dream. Besides, it’s always good to imagine what could be, so that we can do everything we can to get there.

I’m in a rush. I woke up later than usual – I got out of the house at 7:00 a.m. But last night’s concert at the New Clark Stadium was too good to pass up. Besides, it’s walking-distance from my apartment anyway.

I can’t bring my car because I forgot to charge it. It’s okay, I’ll just take the subway. I run to the station, and it took me quite a while to get to the platform. There were people in line in the ticket booth – as expected.

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7:15 a.m. – New Clark City Station

I need to get to Cavite by 9:00 a.m. or my boss will kill me.

Good thing the train arrived on the dot – 7:21 a.m., said the train schedule. The train is quite full, but there’s an empty seat by the window. Since I’m in for a long ride, I have time to answer emails.

In San Fernando, an old lady got on and sat beside me. I help her with luggage, stowing it on the overhead compartment. It looks like she’s going on vacation, with her sunglasses and huge straw hat. I finish answering my emails, and sort of just stare outside the window at the opposite set of tracks.

Maybe I should take up Kate’s offer to drive down to Cebu this weekend for Sinulog. She says we can use her car, if I go to her in Laguna. I check my phone to find the best route.

It seems easy enough – from Santa Rosa, we drive to Calamba. Then we get on the PNR freight train down to Legazpi City. It’s a 6-hour trip, but it should be fine because I heard the train compartments are nice. We can just leave on Friday after work. Then it’s a 2-hour drive to Masbate, and another 3-hours to Cebu City. Not too bad, and we could have breakfast in Cebu by Saturday.

8:11 a.m. – Blumentritt Station

I get off at Blumentritt Station and transfer to the green line. I get a pandesal and coffee at the station, and go down to the platform.

There’s a big line on the platform. The guard is announcing that the train will be late for a few minutes. I finish my pandesal, and I was sipping on my coffee when my phone rang. It’s Kate.

Hoy late ka na naman,” says Kate. “San ka na?

Hindi ah! Blumentrit na nga eh,” I reply. “By the way, game na ako mag Cebu sa weekend. Kotse mo ah!”

Pwede! Sakto, sabi ni Grace kung tutuloy daw tayo, sasabay siya. Uwi siyang Iloilo eh. Sakay na lang daw siya ng bus sa Cebu.”

“Sure! Wait wag na, hatid na lang natin, malapit lang naman. May time naman sa Sabado,” I tell her. I really don’t mind. This way, we can pass by Guimaras for Mangoes as well, pasalubong for my mom.

Sige sige, pagusapan natin mamaya! See you!”

8:14 a.m. – on the LRT

I get on the train as we end our conversation. It’s 8:14 a.m. I’m starting to doubt if I’m going to make it on time. Oh well, let’s see.

I see the old lady with the luggage in the same train car as I am. I wonder where she’s going?

It’s good for old people to travel. I think about my grandfather, who has only started to travel the Philippines just a few years back. He told us that back in his day, they rarely go out of the city because it would take them two hours just to get from Manila to Makati. That sounds crazy – it’s just a 15-minute drive, if you take the Skyway 3.

The Philippines is huge, and there’s so much of it to see. I guess back in the day, before the inter-island bridges, it would be hard to get around because we’re an archipelago. Not everyone can afford flights. But now, you don’t even have to drive a car. It’s so easy to just get on the trains and the buses and see the country.

8:50 a.m. – Bacoor, Cavite

I arrive in Bacoor just in time! From the station, it’s just a few minutes by walking to my office.

I walk on the sidewalk and take in the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s full of people, just trying to get where they want to be. It’s loud, it’s hot, and it’s humid – but it’s home. It’s nice now, but I wonder what the Philippines of the future would look like? Maybe we’d finally get flying cars, I don’t know.

I see a student with her backpack, just walking, with a huge smile on her face. I wonder what she’s so happy about?

READ: ‘Build, Build, Build’ Update – all lights are green

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