03 November 2011

The Streets of Lipa City


The first thing that somebody who has not been to Lipa City for the longest time will notice is that the streets have become so congested. Alas, there is always a price to pay for progress; and vehicular traffic is always one of these. The road layout has not really changed; and it is impossible to get lost if one was born and raised in the city.

Therein, though, lays the problem. Short of razing the city to the ground and redesigning the whole place – which will never happen, anyway – the roads, if anything, will even become more congested. Unless the era of the mass rail transit finally makes a very belated entry into this city that I call home...

This was not always the case, of course. I am old enough to remember when the short trip from the Base – where I grew up – cost no more than 10 centavos and could not have been longer than 10 minutes. The streets were laid out as they are now – narrow two-lane roads paved with a mixture of gravel and asphalt.

I can still remember when there were horse-drawn calesas in the city and tricycles were only just beginning to make an entry. As a young boy, I would visit classmates’ homes and the best way to get around the place was – naturally – on foot. The poblacion was never really large to begin with; and in the old days, I even used to wonder why it was ever made a city.

Whatever its shortcomings are in the present, I have always loved this city and will never stop doing so. The climate all-year round is unbelievably agreeable and, if the fancy ever hits me to go cosmopolitan, the big cities are just an hour away. Not that this happens frequently because the big malls have even set up shop in the neighbourhood.

I just belatedly realized that there might be those among this site’s readers who have either never been here at all or who have not been to the city for sometime. So I dug up the pictures that I just nonchalantly snap whenever I walk the city’s streets to make up this post. Who knows? There may be more in the future.

PICTORIAL

The Tambô flyover; and this is not even a city infrastructure. Along with others within the city boundaries, it is part of the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road or the STAR and motorists who have no business in Lipa simply drive from or onto Batangas City. This flyover is about 500 yards past the Tambô Elementary School.



The stretch of J.P. Laurel National Highway just in front of De La Salle Lipa has been widened and is now a 4-lane stretch of road. This picture was taken early one morning; and although it is naturally deserted in the following picture, traffic here can be particularly niggly during rush hour.


Uptown along B. Morada. This stretch of the road is now one-way for west-bound traffic. Those driving to the poblacion from Paninsingin now need to take a detour via the sideroad leading to where the old sabungan used to be. I include a picture of the Lipa City Cultural Center, a two thousand or so seater arena where the city hosts sporting and cultural events.



The old city hall site, now redeveloped into what is known as the Lipa City National High School.


At the poblacion now, near the monumento area, where the roads to Lodlod and Mataas-na-Lupa fork from the city's main avenue.




The next few pictures will show the city’s busy main avenue. The road has been widened as much as it could possibly be; but by and large it has remained the same. That is, give or take a few new establishments which have leased properties along the road.






The side roads are a lot quieter; albeit those that are part of the jeepney routes naturally do not fall under this category. Here and there, one still encounters old houses, a certifiable throwback to a much simpler era that passed down memory lane a long time ago.




Just like the Cathedral of St. Sebastian at the top of this post, one of the city’s unmistakable icons is the Carmelite Church and Monastery in Antipolo del Norte, which continues to attract pilgrims to this very day. I include among the pictures the exact place where the Blessed Mother’s apparition was supposed to have taken place in the 1940’s.




If you are ever in the vicinity, drive on just a few hundred rounds down the road to this establishment to sample Lipa’s very own version of goto which is distinct from that type known elsewhere in that it is cooked sans the rice grains. Yes, this is a quirk of the Lipeño similar to his preference for pancit lomi please, please without the vegetables.


And as an afterthought, and only because I used to hang around here when I was a little boy, there used to be a Catholic school building here once operated by the Maryknoll Sisters. We used to simply call the place “Annex,” the main building being right beside the cathedral. By the way, younger readers will instantly recognize the place as Plaza Independencia.



If you are feeling cheated that your neighbourhood is not among the pictures, well... You can always invite me..




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