Yesterday, I was invited by my dear friend, Devy, to eat at her apartment for lunch. As we walked towards her apartment, we came across this brick-and-wood structure that I always fancy. The structure was once a train station of the Railroad System of the Philippine National Railways in the town of Meycauayan.
The railroad system in the Philippines was conceptualized by a royal decree issued by the king of Spain, King Alfonso XII in 1875 but the laying of the cornerstone of the first train station in Tutuban happened only two years later in 1877. The train system was one of its kind in the archipelago that time. Serving the Filipino populace from Manila to Dagupan, and back and forth, the train system has been a very important part of their lives and a very important means transportation. Know to all, the train system has two lines, North Main Line (the Manila-Dagupan line), and the South Main Line (Manila-Albay line). Along the route, structures were built, such as pictured above, to serve both as stations and as homes for the station masters.
The railroad did not survived the ravages of the Second World War. A large portion of it went nonoperational after the war. It took several years for the then Manila Railroad Company for its reconstruction and rehabilitation. Natural calamities also affected its operation. The frequent flooding in the 70's caused the company to limit their trips and forced other stations to stop their operation. Efforts were done by the Marcos administration to rehabilitated the train system. By the time of President Aquino, the North Line operation went to a full stop.
With only the South Main Line fully operational, the Arroyo administration is now pushing for the revival of the railways despite of the fact that the project, as Filipinos say it, is a "suntok sa buan" (I can sense some light now though. ^_^). As of today, the construction of Malolos and Guiguinto stations have been started.
Meycauayan Train Station
Because of the halted operation of the PNR's train system, many train stations, or should i say all of them went neglected. In Meycauayan for example, several families once lived inside the abandoned train station. The time we went past the train station, I can still see some people who made this as their home-sweet-home. The once glorious structure went in disgrace as many squatted around its area.
Because of the abundance of adobe (volcanic tuff) in the town, which many house owner prefer to use for house-building, this particular station is the only Spanish era brick-and wood structure built in Meycauayan. The destruction of this station is not impossible. The old brick-and-wood station of Guiguinto is now facing an impending danger as the construction of modern train station will paved the way for it to be demolished.
I am still keeping my fingers crossed that this station will be rehabilitated. If not, I'll be the first one to cry. ^_^