Solving transport woes with our own roadmap

In recent years, transport problems of all kinds have hounded the Philippines from far north to far south.

IRAIA thoughts
IRAIA thoughts

“You’re exaggerating, as usual,” says my acerbic friend Kabsat Kandu. “What transport problem in the far north are you talking about, tell me? Flights to Batanes are going on regularly.”

Well, maybe the Manila-Basco flights are okay. That’s because the picturesque Batanes islands have become a favorite tourist destination of those who can afford it. But what if you’re a Cagayan Valley DepEd official wanting to visit public schools in Babuyan islands? What are your options? Have you tried crossing over from Claveria to Calayan, across the treacherous Babuyan Channel? Continue reading “Solving transport woes with our own roadmap”

Something about German trains

At first it is intimidating, for a foreigner who isn’t very familiar with a big city’s urban railway system. Much more if a Third World visitor takes on the complex Berlin system with its U-Bahn and S-bahn overlying the tram and bus, and the industrial-strength Deutsche Bahn comprising the much bigger train network that crisscrosses all of Germany and beyond.

But once you get hold of a map and a day-ticket, then all your fears evaporate. After some fiddling with euro coins and perhaps a quick help from someone who understands Deutsche sprache better than you, getting that ticket machine to belch out your precious day-ticket also becomes an easy piece a’cake.


When lower and slower are better

IRAIA thoughts
IRAIA thoughts

Some of my friends and colleagues were curious why I chose to take the six-hour train ride from Amsterdam to Berlin (and the same ride on my way back) instead of Easyjet, which is cheaper and faster.

This became the topic of conversation during a Berlin dinner with Tanja, Susanne, and other Misereor friends. At first I explained my choice with practical reasons such as train seats being more spacious and comfy, and the Hauptbanhof being a short walking distance from my hotel. Then I ended with a cryptic “It’s a philosophical question, actually.” They seemed to pick up my line of argument quickly enough, and I promised them a blog piece on the topic when I have time. Which is now.

Continue reading “When lower and slower are better”