just around the river bend

The Pasig River is right behind our office, separating us and our community (I live on this same street) from the Pandacan oil depot.

I am glad not to be cramped in between tall buildings or decaying apartment houses. There’s something to be said for cool breezes, wide-open spaces, and elbow room.

Aesthetically, the view disappoints. The water is a drab gray; the oil tanks look industrial and boring. Once one of them caught fire – late at night – and we watched the conflagration safely from across the water, the blue, red, and yellow flames leaping up against the dark sky, the thick smoke swirling and made visible by the fire’s glare. (It was put out quickly and no one was hurt.)

What the river lacks in beauty, it makes up for with action. At regular times throughout the day, tugs and ferries pass. This is the new ferry that is such a boon to travelers going to and from Manila.

The tugs are amusing. See this little one? You’d think that was all there was, but noooo…


It’s towing this huge heavy barge right behind it.


Not only that, it turns out the parade is even longer than you’d expect.


The little tug was hauling two large barges and another little tug.

After a heavy rain, this is what comes down the river – masses of water plants meandering along the current.


You’ll never know what’ll come down the river of life (portentous cough *ehem*). Maybe it’s a challenge that you feel inadequate or ill-equipped to face. But like the little tug, sometimes all you can do is put your back into it and pull those barges, until the point arrives in your journey when you can let go. That point always comes. No problem lasts forever.

At other times, when there’s nothing going on, only the clumps of vegetation passing by, you’re bored. Those are the calms in between the storms. Cherish and enjoy those moments of peace, for they don’t last either.

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