The same joy evoked in this calesa ride decades ago was my intention in riding the LRT from Balintawak to Monumento in EDSA. The metro train segment was launched this Holy Week 2010 as part of the 360 degree government project to close in Metro Manila loop connecting Monumento to Quiapo to EDSA via Taft and to West Avenue via EDSA. For P 15.0 I viewed in an elevated platform for the 1st time North Luzon Expressway, Caloocan, Malabon and to certain extent the skyscrapers in Roxas Boulevard at the extreme East. The joy was short lived as it was only a 5 minute ride for a 3-4 kilometer stretch. The thrill that lingered was the excitement of seeing familiar object in a new light and being one of the 1st to do so.
Much like the kalesa, the Sky Jeepney served as a moving platform for the members of the family to share stories, update each other and to recall the food and place of our parent’s hometown San Fernando Pampanga. Not just 6 but 22 were on board. Travel time was about the same as the kalesa ride but the distance covered was twenty times longer and about 60 kilometers faster. Conversation was more intense. Subjects discussed went beyond the trivia and spanned through decades of experiences.
The joy ride in a kalesa was for recreation to pass the time away. So too was the Sky Jeepney but not to pass the time away but to remember the times. In remembering the times, newer experiences were told, deeper insights were discovered, funnier stories were narrated and stronger bonds were established. That ride was not just for the food, for the place nor to celebrate an event. It was not just a ride for joy but a journey of thanksgiving and gratitude for 6 decades of solid togetherness as a family.
When passersby and motorists wave at us staring at the bus with wonder and amusement, I gamely smile back relishing the joy of that memorable ride and planning in my mind the next one.