Looking forward to Manila’s new subway

I covered the groundbreaking ceremony of the Metro Manila Subway Project which President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. led last Monday.

It was great to learn that once the subway system is completed, estimated in 2028, it will only take 45 minutes to travel between Valenzuela City and Bicutan, and reduce travel time from Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from 90 minutes to 35 minutes.

I also learned about the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge which will be built on Manila Bay to reduce travel time from Bataan to Cavite from five hours to 40 minutes.

Since I came to the Philippines in 2019, I always find it a shame that people have to spend so much time on the road traveling within Metro Manila or from Manila to destinations such as Tagaytay, Subic or Baguio.

As far as I am concerned, it will undoubtedly save people a ton of time and energy to travel if a railway system is built and imagine what people can do with the time saved. People can spend more quality time with their family, learning new skills, produce more goods and services, go shopping or eat in restaurants, a.k.a. generate more economic activities.

I heard several times from my Filipino friends who visited Taiwan that they were impressed by the convenience of the transportation system including the railways, high speed rail and metros in Taipei and Kaohsiung.

The commercial run of the first railway in Taiwan was in October 1891, just one year before the Ferrocarril de Manila a Dagupan opened in November 1892 in the Philippines, but there are historical reasons why Taiwan could complete its railway network around the island in 1991. Except that the area of Taiwan is only 1/3 of Luzon, one of the reasons was that in the Japanese colonial era, numerous railways were constructed to transport refined sugar and other agricultural products or resources to Japan.

Since I was a little girl, I have always enjoyed taking train trips with my mother to visit my grandparents because it’s hassle-free, cheap and fast and the trains are clean, comfortable and safe. Nowadays, many Taiwanese would travel around the island for three to four days by train to visit various destinations, and it only costs NT$1,500, equivalent to 2,800 pesos to take unlimited rides by train in three days.

Some Taiwanese take the train for short trips for another reason: collecting train tickets. Some of the most popular choices are Yongkang to Bao’an station in Tainan City and Zhuifen to Chenggong station in Taichung City. With the ticket of Yongkang to Bao’an, it basically means eternal peace and good health. On the other hand, the ticket of Zhuifen to Chenggong is to wish for students preparing for entrance exams to get high scores.

For Filipino tourists who only visit Taipei City and New Taipei City, Taipei Metro is the best choice for them because it reaches some of the most popular destinations such as Taipei 101, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei Zoo, Shi-men Ting, Shilin Night Market and Tamsui.

During the weekend, many families would take the MRT to go to the Taipei Zoo to see giant pandas, penguins, koalas, anteaters, etc. After visiting the animals, tourists can take the Maokong Gondola to the Zhinan Temple and Maokong.

Maokong is a perfect attraction for travelers to taste Taiwanese tea and enjoy the night view of Taipei, but please be reminded that don’t bring your girlfriend or boyfriend with you to visit the Zhinan Temple because rumor has it that unmarried couples will break up soon if they visit the temple together.

Imagine that once the MMSP is completed, it will be much more convenient to travel between Quezon City, Ortigas and BGC, people will have more fun during the weekend and the economy will be more prosperous. And I hope that there will be more railways and subways to be built to benefit everybody.

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