My First Ferry Ride in Pasig River
I had a meeting yesterday morning at Escolta, Manila (the former business center of the Philippines) and I took jeepneys and LRT-2 train in going there. After having free lunch courtesy of my businessman-friend at a high-end Chinese restaurant, he urged me to take the Pasig ferry service whose starting terminal is right at the back of his office. I easily gave way even if the other end of the route is still far from my way home so I could experience it for the first time.
I had just a few minutes waiting time at the terminal before we boarded the ferry boat for its 1:00 PM voyage. I forgot to count the number of seats inside it but the boat is neither big nor small as you can see in the picture. It is fully air-conditioned but not too cool even if it is only one-third full of passengers. The temperature on the deck is alright for me and most of the passengers but I saw the only two (2) white foreigners among us who keep moving around to get to sit at the coolest space in the deck.
I also did not count how many terminals there are along the route but I should say all important points in the four (4) Metro-Manila cities that Pasig River traverses have loading and unloading piers. Pretty good coverage of target commuters but not enough passengers for the early afternoon voyage that I took.
I was standing all the way in order to get a full glimpse of the scenery along both banks of Pasig River when the ferry’s security guard with long firearm told me to sit down when the ferry boat passes by the Malacañang Palace (the residence and office of the President of Philippines) area. He told me that passengers are not allowed to look at the area for security reasons. I wonder how they tell that policy to foreigners riding the boat and at this instance I look around and noticed that I was the only one standing among the passengers. Maybe they already know what I do not know. I should have thanked the guard for telling me the rule.
The whole ride took a little more than an hour and I should say it was smooth all the way except for that security breach incident involving me. My advice to those who had not experienced the Pasig ferry service, take it at the first opportunity. The fare is very reasonable at PhP36.00 for an hour ride on an air-conditioned boat along the historic Pasig River. By the way, I embark at Escolta, Manila and disembark at Bambang, Pasig City.
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