Yesterday (2023-04-06), I had an amazing walk at Maahas Road. It was my first time to walk the road. I remember passing by about a month before the pandemic. rem tanauan, Claire Madarang, Lea Ignacio, and I (the Balitbitan Kids) just came from a visit to Dr. Irma, the jolly-go-lucky homeopath. I guess it was my birthday. We wanted to try the food at IRRI and so we went there via a tricycle.
We passed by Maahas Road but it never crossed my mind to walk it until two days ago (or yesterday?) when I noticed the path/road parallel Pili Drive. I wanted to check it out because it seemed to enter the rice farms. And so, I plotted my route. I will start walking at the eskinitas of Batong Malake, exit to Lopez Ave., then walk on the side of the highway until I reach the 7-eleven that would signal me to enter.
I began at Onyx St. then Pulog St. where the road has been newly concretized a few months ago. On the corner of Topaz St., a new basketball court has replaced what I remember was a garden and a garage. I was briefly tempted to walk through it but decided to pass by Garnet St. instead.
At the end of Garnet St., I noticed how light strikes the side of a long apartment complex. I struggled to capture the building’s windows, which looked like two lonely eyes. I continued walking at Mt. Kitanlad St., then Ruby St. There, I saw the light once more, which now strikes a closed storefront of a garita. Then, at the corner of Isarog St., I took a photo of a gate. Few people walked the eskinitas of Batong Malake right now. As expected, perhaps 75 percent of the population has gone home to the province. After the holy week, students at UP will have an extra week for reading break, extending their vacation.
At Isarog St., I empathize with the sign maker who wrote the large letters on the wall around a house. Perhaps, noticing that the box he drew was too small, he opted to cut words: “Pakiusap hwag tapunan basura canal.” This is just my theory, though. Another theory is perhaps, the writer wrote pakiusap then decided to draw the border then realized he drew it too small so he had to cut letters. But the grimmest theory is that all of this was intentional. This is how the maker of this sign knows how to write the words.
I continued walking to Jade St., Taal St., Diamond St., then El Danda St., before exiting at Lopez Ave. At Lopez Ave., several churchgoers are crossing the street to San Antonio de Padua Parish Church. Meanwhile, the street is almost empty. A few tricycle drivers are waiting for passengers outside Robinson’s Mall. I checked. Robinson’s is open until 7:00 pm, but several stores are closed and very few people are doing their groceries.
Along the Manila-South Road, passengers are waiting for buses to take them home for the holidays. Across the road, I saw several jeeps filled with passengers. But these were not stations. So I thought the jeeps were hired to take passengers home for the holidays. I took a photo of a colorful door and a walker with a large bag, who walked passed me. Later, I would see him sitting with a few bystanders drinking. Perhaps, he is a local. Was he just walking from work? Or did he came from a far and is only home for the holidays? Perhaps the bus dropped him on Olivarez.
I passed by the railroad. A trolley stood by while another approached it. Across the road are murals of Leni and Kiko, reminder of things fought for and lost about a year ago. But also things that are here and will always be here, like this Itlugan store.
(Enter around here: seed - no place stay the same)
A few motorcycles and a tricycle exited from the road where the 7-eleven stood beside. I entered the road. Looked at my map. Maahas road.
This road is about cars. Car repair shops abound here and there. There is even a second-hand car seller. As usual, there are no side walks. I treaded carefully and crossed the street to the left so I could see vehicles approaching in front. I was starting to get tired of all the metal works so seeing a woodyard was surprisingly pleasurable. And hey, the dance school!
One of the things I’ve experienced several times in walking especially during long walks is that people do the same things almost simultaneously at different parts of a place or at different places. I see patterns in people’s behaviors and somehow this makes me feel how people really are connected.
In two different compounds a but far from each other on Maahas Road, two different families—groups of children—were doing the same thing: playing soaked in their inflatable pools.
At the end of Maahas Road is IPB Road, the road that separates IRRI from the rest of UPLB. Parallel the IPB Road is a railroad. Around 7:00 pm, you will hear the train approaching. This afternoon, there might not be a train coming. It’s Maundy Thursday. When there is no train, the tracks are filled with people and trolleys, which reminded me of Lopez, Quezon (cf. walking lopez 1).
I peek inside the fences of IRRI and see the mountains from afar. I crossed the road to where a few joggers and walkers are resting. A dog approached a woman at her seat, its owner following behind it. The shitzu had no leash. It was free.
The woman left with her husband on a motorcycle. The dog and its owner, a man was left there on the seat. The owner sat and checked his phone, while the dog walked freely away from him. Cars and motorcycles were moving continuously jus a few meters away. Noticing that the dog has walked too far, the man reached for a blue toy in his bag and pressed it making a sound. The dog ignored it at first but his master was persistent. “Come here or I’ll put you on a leash!” I heard him say. The dog eventually came back. The master picked him up and put him on his lap while he continued swiping his phone. “No, stay put!” I heard him say as I jumped over the concrete barrier where we all sat to continue my walk to the dirt road.
- Create a location note for Maahas Road