Morning,While sitting on the computer today, determined to add something to this blog, it came to my realisation that today is an anniversary.
No not a wedding anniversary, not a real historic railway anniversary, sadly also not the anniversary of my lost virginity either, but it is 12 months to the day that I was on Alabang station watching my beloved PNR.
It was the first opportunity presented since my arrival in the Philippines for the 2007 trip and what a trip it was. For railway type activity it turned out to be the best yet. Quite amazing when one considers the hard negotiating I had to do with the wife just for two days there.
Still, this gunzel has more than one way of getting to a railway line and this special art was utilized on many a day while being dragged from shop to shop, province to province.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of being back in the Philippines and finally getting lineside. Sure I photograph trains in Australia on a regular basis, but this is something completely different.
The trains, the people, the way of life, its all different.
Apart from the trains themselves, I was able to finally meet some fascinating railfans who live there. Both Harvey and Karel are lucky enough to call the Philippines home and I met both these guys at Tutuban/Tayuman during a day inspecting the yard and riding the train to Alabang.
I was subsequently able to meet up with Harvey two more times, once for a party at the in-laws house, then later at the Caloocan railway workshops where the first real idea of a preservation society began.
On all occasions, long term SIG member and good friend from Australia, Bill, was in attendance. It was so great to see a familiar face from home.
Sadly the trip ended much faster than we realised it would. But it had enabled me to expand my railway views to include Iloilo, Roxas City, Calamba and Legaspi (Legazpi if you wish).
In the twelve months since much has happened.
The initial idea of a railway preservation society has turned into an official group. Probably not entirely the way that I had hoped, but the main thing is that it exists and they must all be given the support to carry on and bring a museum to reality.
The railways there are certainly in a major state of change, it will likely be a far different system when I, hopefully, arrive back in Manila in 2009.
Well one hopes so, things have been slowing down and corruption allegations have delayed things at every turn. These projects are certainly never straight forward back in my 'second country'.
Today, despite major efforts by one person to destroy my character and my drive, my interest in the railways of the Philippines remains incredibly strong. Indeed my interest in all things Philippines is far greater than that of here in Australia.
Lets hope the future is bright for railway services in the Philippines and I can reminice about many trips in the future.
Thanks again to Bill, Harv, Karel, Nick, Cisa and all the gang down at Pagsanjan!
PHOTOS: ALL TAKEN ON THE 6TH OF FEBRUARY 2007!
1) Joy ride train in a mall at Alabang. Only Pinay train driver we saw in the whole country :-)
2) 5001 departs Alabang with another passenger service bound for Tutuban.
3) Pinays, the world's most maganda train passengers.
4) Jeepney! What would the Philippines be without them. This one is seen at Pedro Gil.