The Pasig River Ferry: A Different Commuting Experience
Ever since the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) reopened the Pasig River ferry service to the public last April, I have heard some mixed reactions about the service – some were good and some were bad.
Negatives aside, I was still curious to experience what commuting via the Pasig River ferry was like. Fortunately, as I was in the vicinity of Guadalupe one afternoon, I decided to take the Pasig River ferry all the way to Intramuros and get the feel of the service for myself.
The fare itself costs about P50, (from Guadalupe to Plaza Mexico in Intramuros) riding in a tugboat type of fleet. The trip itself took about almost an hour – kinda lengthy compared to the trains and other land-based vehicles that we have (that is, if there is no heavy traffic). However, the journey itself is a relatively smooth one.
Contrary to what has been negatively perceived, the Pasig River itself does not have a filthy smell, though the stench can be picked up at some isolated parts of the river. On that note, the ride will not make any stench stick to your clothes if you are worried about that. You won’t be able to avoid seeing pieces of litter floating around the river, though, not to mention some washed up trash on parts of the shore. Admittedly, the cleanup of the river still has a long way to go.
However, not all of Pasig River is that littered. The part of the river in the San Miguel in Manila is notable for being free from trash, not only because there are no polluting industries or dwellers in that area, but also because of the presence of Malacañang, the country’s seat of power (unfortunately, you are forbidden to take a photo of it).
View of Mandaluyong with the Estrella Bridge and Acqua Residences in the background
A grand house located in San Miguel, Manila near Malacañang
A boat station in Mandaluyong that takes passengers across the river to Makati
The riverside community in Punta, Sta. Ana
Restrictions aside, there are various sights along the way provides interesting views of the metropolis from a different perspective, , whether they are the towering structures of Rockwell and Acqua, the riverside communities like in Punta and Santa Ana, the vibrant campus of PUP in Sta. Mesa, the oil depots at Pandacan, the grand houses along San Miguel near Malacañang, or the bustle of downtown Manila.
Surprisingly, there are some parts of the Pasig River shore that have remained largely untouched by development, as well, giving an idea of the river’s former beauty.
Overall, it was a pleasant experience to be reacquainted with the Pasig River thanks to the ferry service. Hopefully, it will not only help make more people become aware and appreciate water-based transport again, but also help accelerate the ongoing efforts to revive the Pasig River to its former glory.
The Pasig River Ferry runs from 6 AM to 5 PM on weekdays. Check the nearest ferry station for the ferry schedules. For any queries about the ferry service, the MMDA is also just a tweet away.