28 October 2010

Cleaning Up

Laborers pulling grass provide a welcome distraction to those waiting for the off-peak hourly train.

Rail upkeep is currently limited to basic cleaning and pulling grass from the rail.


Worker's bags.

24 October 2010


"DOTC-PNR. Do not delay."

When the PNR stations were revamped, practically all "skates"-- illegal improvised vehicles built to travel on "idle" tracks-- were removed. I saw one spared, though. The PNR drinking water is delivered via official skate, by two men and a tag-along child.

Stop and pull to position.

Lift a la palanquin.


Engine removal.

Kid playing with the "horn"-- which is actually powered by a bike pump.

  • To learn more about skates, read this blog made by students as a quite cute project.
  • A couple of skate shots in this collection of rail photos.
  • An article about skate eradication, with a small review ("I thought it was quite a pleasant ride until there was a train heading toward us.").

20 October 2010

Rail Tie Benches

Old railroad ties, replaced by concrete ones, are the only place to sit at PNR stations.

19 October 2010

Sta. Mesa Trainstop Greenery

Lemongrass, coconut, banana, eggplant, sili, and the train station behind.

Sta. Mesa is an interesting place. Dense, much alive, and easily accessible by the spanking-new (well, relatively) PNR train. And when you get off the train station, you see an abundance of greens planted on land that used to be informal housing.

Eggplants fruiting.

The more systematic garden located directly by the station is maintained by the local barangay officials from Barangay 629 (Zone 63) during their spare time. As I missed my train, we walked up to a small bamboo room, which doubled as their local government office. There were people playing cards, and some sitting around in their sandos, one without a shirt. There's no hurrying, and you can sit down without introducing yourself, and fit instantly in their rhythm. They are good people.

The edge of the pond, shaded by an aratiles tree and bordered by tsitsirika (periwinkle).

The garden was started by barangay kagawads and tanods when the informal settlers were removed to make way for the new train system. Usually the willing come by to water the plants and do other tasks. Nothing gets stolen, but residents do come by to ask for vegetables, or many of the medicinal herbs growing. Recently, a tilapia pond had been installed. They occassionally catch some and eat them, but they had admittedly put too many fry in, resulting in small fish. No complaints, though, just learning.

Tilapia pond with religious figures.

View from the station: lots of kamote (sweet potato), kamoteng kahoy (manioc), and lemongrass.

Best Quality Cotton Sportswear

Bar code! It's not that old.

Wooden rods as hangers.

08 October 2010

Washing Greens

Washing greens in a bucket and bunching them, in preparation for a market day.

07 October 2010

Hungry Ghost Month

Coca cola! And oranges, apples, and that orange bread thing with incense sticking out.

I was in Singapore during Hungry Ghost Month. From August into Septmeber, I saw weird breadstuffs and smelled resinous incense everywhere.

Praying in front of an elaborate feast, which includes Yakult.

A mind-blowing array of food.

Baby bottles for dead babies.

That means (I later learn) that I will routinely come across banquets laid out for invisible dead people, have whiffs of various burning matter, and, if lucky, observe raucous koh-tai presentations in tented fields among Singapore's immaculately clean, vertically dense suburbs. All these are meant to appease, pay respect to, and help the spirits out. They are, by the way, believed to be roaming the earth at this period, having stepped out of the Gates of Hell (purportedly open during Hungry Ghost Month).

A burning frenzy.

Quite a sight are the large drums placed in public places which people continually burn things in. They are always putting joss paper in, to represent money. Transforming joss paper from solid into gaseous form represents an attempt to bring the comfort of money into the spirit life. This can be a little confusing for foreigners such as my cousin, who, when she arrived in Singapore, thought that the out-of-service drums were garbage cans, and began throwing her rubbish in.

Joss paper, or false paper money, for burning. This brings good luck to spirits.

Fanning money out, in preparation for burning.

Drums for burning things, not in use at the time.

A hanging incense holder along a building hallway.

Incense in a bread thing and coffee.

More coffee and incense. Plus pineapple and banana.

Public Checkers and Grandpas

A game of checkers, on the floor of a public area. Kind of weird.

What do retired senior citizens do while everyone is at away at work? Why, play checkers, of course, for hours on end. Funny, I didn't see a single young(ish) person playing chess or checkers in public.

Watchers, who watch whole games, and those that walk by and go "good move!".

06 October 2010

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