Monday, July 28, 2008


This is how the Blumentritt Station now appears after hundreds of shanty-like structures along the tracks had been recently demolished and their occupants moved to a relocation site in Bulacan.

This station was walking distance from where we lived at Misericordia and Batangas Streets. As a kid, there were many times I had gone to this station to meet or send off our mother's relatives from Bicol. Incidentally, the caramelized pili brought over by my grandfather and aunts were something to look forward to.

Compared to the railway systems abroad, ours is indeed in a pitiful state. A disheartening sight, indeed, especially to those who had experienced the high-tech train systems of foreign countries, or the old but well-maintained ones as those in India. Needless to say, our trains are all in dire need of retirement and seem to crumble at a certain speed beyond that of a calesa's.

Regrettably, many lives had been disrupted when the government began demolishing the thousands of houses
along the railroad tracks -- from Caloocan to Los Baños. These structures were illegally and haphazardly built and certain parts of this railroad tracks had become nests for criminal and drug activities, difficult for local law enforcement forces to penetrate or conduct surprise raids and searches.

Nevertheless, our railway system needed to reclaim its land so as to make way for this multi-billion peso revitalization program. Hopefully, such modernized train and railway system will help reduce air pollution, ease traffic condition, and provide fast, efficient, cheap and enjoyable means of transportation to our local folks.

Related links:

PNR Train Passing Blumentritt Station - YouTube

Cardinal Rosales: "New South Rail must not destroy lives of the poor" -

Philippines to revive South Railway - BNET Business Network

Lozada readies expose on South Rail project overprice -

* * *

Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!



posted by Señor Enrique at 8:03 AM


Blogger JayAshKal said...

With our massive population and expensive gasoline, the trains and railsway ar ethe answers to our transportation problems. We need to learn from other countries about the benefits of extensive railways.

Good pictures and topic, Eric.

July 28, 2008 12:51 PM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

Kamusta na?

The demolished Blumentritt Station is a mixture of sad & relief emotions. Sad for the poor people who lived and reclaimed the railroad tracks in their "malabuhok na distansiya" shanties each time a train passed by "the long cardboard jungle." A feeling of relief that there's a future in improving our railway system.

I remember my father & I used to take a "callesa" going around the area, patiently showing and telling me what was the area of Blumentritt used to be. Like streets named after Philippine hardwood trees that stood in the area; calle Apitong, Dapdap, Ipil, Yakal, etc... Large vegetable patches by Chinese gardeners, making use the water from "Estero de San Lazaro" part of "Estero de la Reina" flowing from Pasig River.

There were a lot of Chinese living and making their living in the vicinity. The railroad tracks of Calle Antipolo was the region that was vacant during "peace time" though the Chinese General Hospital was already there. To get to the hospital one must take "Calle Blumentritt" which was called "Calle Sangleys" before!

Thanks Dad for all your info and to you Eric for letting us know what's going on in your district of Santa Cruz,
ka tony

July 28, 2008 3:59 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I rode on a PNR Train many years ago...from Sta. Mesa to Alabang to attend a field trip to Ripley's Believe it or Not show in Metropolis Mall. The train at that time was labeled with Metrotren. It wasn't a good sight looking from the window since the some of the people living in the houses "Home along da Riles" as they are called were throwing feces and garbage to the trains. Hopefully, with the reconstruction on-going, I am sure the mass rapid system would be able to catch up with the technology in Hong Kong and Singapore. I remember when I was in Madrid last year, they even had more than 10 lines. Just to share with you guys, here are the proposed stations and lines by the government.

July 28, 2008 7:52 PM  

Blogger EM said...

hmmm... i wonder why this station is not familiar to me. I spent 5 years of university in PUP and a good part of that was spent riding the train. I used to ride the station in Espana and get off at Sta. Mesa. Maybe i'm talking about a totally different train road.

Anyway, we really need to get our trains tracks and train vehichles updated. I'm glad we are finally starting it.

thanks senior

July 28, 2008 8:22 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I agree with you, Mario.

Thanks much!

July 29, 2008 9:53 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You were indeed fortunate to enjoy your Dad's many lessons, Ka Tony!

Yakal and Ipil are two that stand out the most from the streets you named. My elementary school is on Ipil.

Antipolo and Blumentritt remain to be named as such and thank God no one has thought about changing them.

Hopefully, we will someday enjoy a modernized version of our national railroad and train system.

July 29, 2008 9:57 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's right, El Cineasta, the sight of garbage on the roof of the trains made it an even uglier sight. Too much!

I, too, enjoyed taking the trains to Washington, DC when I was still living in New York. Somehow, taking the train is not to fatiguing as riding those Greyhounds.

Many thanks for the URL!

July 29, 2008 9:59 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Perhaps, EM, the train had already passed the Blumentritt Station by the time it gets at Espana Station and then on to Sta. Mesa?

I'm really excited to see the outcome of this revitalization project!

July 29, 2008 10:01 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

Since you are originally from Sta. Cruz, by Blementritt, do you remember "Calle Bugallon?" is this street still have the same name or it has been changed? Jose Torres Bugallon is one of the most colorful heroes of the revolution, but not being recognize as one.

Take care Eric,
ka tony

July 29, 2008 11:06 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Not at all familiar with Calle Bugallon in the Blumentritt/Sta. Cruz area, Ka Tony, but upon looking at my Metro Manila map, I found a T. Bugallon Street in Tondo.

If they keep on changing the old names of our streets, we will eventually lose not only a piece of our history but pride of place as well. I had no idea that Jose Torres Bugallon was a significant figure of the revolution.

Thank you!

July 30, 2008 6:15 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hello Eric,

Thanks for checking "Calle Bugallon." I know there's a street in Tondo called "T. Bugallon" parallel & near "Primero de Mayo." I'm not sure if this street in Tondo was really named in honor of JOSE TORRES BUGALLON, because Bugallon died in La Loma, Sta. Cruz!

Too bad, but "Calle Bugallon" is a small street branching off "Avenida Rizal" near Blumentritt, in your district of Sta. Cruz.

Anyway in my "BanlawKasaysayan" website I tried to write in my "PILIPINO ALMANAK" page everyday, what happened on that date in Philippine history. It was a painstaking on my part that I have to carry my laptop & my notes everywhere I go; at work, on my vacation, out of town, out of the country, seminars, so I can be on the exact day (that's why Eric, I know & understand what you are going through with you & your Senor Enrique Website).

...but anyway just a short background about JOSE TORRES BUGALLON, that I wrote & took from my BanalawKasaysayan page...

Pebrero 22, 1892 - ipinadala at pinagaral nang Kolonyal na Pamahalaang Kastila sa Pilipinas si Jose Torres Bugallon, isang "Kastilang Creole", sa Academia Militar de Toledo, Espania. Subalit sa kaniyang pagbalik sa Pilipinas na katatapos lang ng "Treaty of Paris" (nang ipagbili ng Espania ang nananatiling nitong mga islang kolonya: CUBA, PUERTO RICO, at PILIPINAS kasama ang Guam, sa halagang $20,000,000. sa America, Dec. 10, 1898) si Bugallon ay naging matalik na kaibigan ni Heneral Antonio Luna, tuloy si Bugallon ay sumapi sa Katipunan at naging "military strategist", "recruitment officer", "trainer", at ""disciplinary officer".

Dahilan sa disiplina at sa kagalingan sa larangan ng "military strategy" ang rehimento ni Heneral Luna at Bugallon ay kinatatakutan ng mga Kastila at sa bandang huli naman ng mga Gringo. Isang digmaan sa La Loma noong Pebrero 5, 1899 ng mabaril si Bugallon ng mga Gingo at naiwan siya ng kaniyang mga kasama. Nang mabatid ni Heneral Luna ang nangyari, siya ay nagtungo sa La Loma at hinanap ang kaibigang Lt. Koronel Bugallon na naghihingalo sa isang pusali. Agad binuhat ni Heneral Luna at nagmamadaling isinakay sa kabayo na patungo sa pinakamalapit na ospital. Subalit sa daan palamang ay binawian na ng buhay si Bugallon, sa kandungan ng humahagulgul na parang batang musmos ang matapang at "machong" si Heneral Antonio Luna."

Sayang Eric ang ating mga calle na pinapalitan lamang ng kung anong mga pangalan and sad to say...names of politicians, "trapo" "puro kick back" at walang kabusugan sa ..."lagay"

Thank you Eric,
ka tony

July 30, 2008 2:10 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you so much for sharing with us a piece of life of Jose Torres Bugallon. Now, I wonder, how many other significant personalities do we have that aren't talked about anymore. We need an encyclopedia.

By the way, Ka Tony, there are supposedly hundreds of crates of precious documents and objects shipped over by the gringos to Washington during the colonial period. I think there is a group actively seeking their return to the Philippines. Do you know anything about this?

July 31, 2008 7:41 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

Thanks for the reply and interest. Like you said there are a lot of significant personalities that are unknown & simply banished in our history book, not even short "eskinitas" named after them nor small public school.

Unfortunately 90% of our revolutionary generals surrendered and served under the Gringos. They were given small time government position, director of Bureau of Labor, Barrio Captain, Inspector in the Philippine Constabulary, etc... Revolutionary Generals like; Candido Tirona, Manuel Luis Quezon (who was a Major), Pio del Pilar (who even told the Gringos the where about of his best friend General Artemio Ricarte), even General LICERO GERONIMO (who killed the famous U.S.General HENRY LAWTON [yes, Plaza Lawton was named after him] who captured the famous Apache Indian Medicine man "GERONIMO"), surrendered and work for the Constabulary as a 4th class inspector!!!

Before the Commonwealth Government, there were Pilipino who in order to obtain government position under the Gringos, sold the country, though some without realizing it, but to many are just hungry & greedy for power, they were called "SAJONISTAS" or the first "Balimbing" The likes of; Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, Cayetano Arellano, Victorino Mapa and even the Jose Abad Santos, who was totally opposite his brother Pedro Abad Santos (Don Perico), who was a Marxist (his right hand man was Luis Taruc), a Peasant Leader, gave his share of wealth and gave free law consultation to the poor. Now these "Sajonistas" & Revolutionary Generals who surrendered are names we have on our streets, schools, plazas, etc... Why? because history was written by the Gringos...the victors & colonialist!

We don't have streets, schools, parks like; Macario Sakay, Simeon Ola, Felizardo, Papa Faustino, Felipe Salvador or Artemio Ricarte - the Revolutionary General who never surrender to the Spaniards & Gringos. In fact he went & stayed in Japan to ask for more help. Japan who have been helping the revolution against Spain & according to Ricarte, the reason why Japan invaded the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaya, Burma & some Pacific Islands, they were U.S. and its allies' colonies.

The successful pacification of the Philippines by the Gringos, won the "hearts & minds" "proved" they don't have economic & political interest to the Pilipinos, was used in Vietnam, Panama, Nicaragua, etc... and up to this day in Iraq.

You are right Eric, thousands of Philippine documents and items of importance, were taken to hide the truth, their crimes, their claimed of victory against Spain. A good example are the "Bells of Balagiga" These church bells represent an important victory of the Pilipinos against the Gringos in Samar. It was used to alarm the local males dress as women, going to church to attack & kill Gringo soldiers. Anyway the Gringos retaliated with their "Samar Massacre" & took the church "Bells of Balagiga" as their trophy!

Please check this ABS CBN Balita....

Thanks Eric & do take good care,
ka tony

I feel guilty that I hope I'm not monopolizing yours & other's time & space by writing long comments.

July 31, 2008 2:06 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Please do not consider your contributions as monopolizing other's time and space, Ka Lito. Your long comments contain so much significant information, and we are all the better for them. I, personally, truly appreciate your generosity.

There is much to be absorbed here, and I'll probably refer to them as we go along with our ensuing exchanges.

Again, Ka Lito, thanks so much for sharing these with all of us!

July 31, 2008 9:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lost trust in our current govt. But have to give it to them,for cleaning up this area.You see,I pass by this place everyday to work before,and it depresses me a lot, as it clearly showed how Manila is descending to complete anarchy....There is hope,kahit konti.


August 03, 2008 1:36 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I thought the government was facing a major resistance from the shanty occupants, IndioBaravo, because they've been there for quite a long time. In the end, am glad the demolition and clean-up phase of the project turned out to be uneventful and orderly.

August 03, 2008 7:48 AM  

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