Monday, January 19, 2009

My First Ride on the MRT

I had a meeting at Taipan this morning. Since its a car coding day, the driver just dropped me off. After a meeting, I walked to SM Mega Mall for lunch at El Pollo Loco. I haven't eaten there for quite some time since I rarely go to Mega Mall. It has always been one of my favorite fast foods.

After lunch, I decided to take the MRT to Makati. The MRT station is connected to the Shangri-La Mall. So I had to take a short walk from Mega to Shangrila. If you're walking along EDSA, you don't have to go into Shangri-La itself because there is a stair accessible from the street going into the station.

The elevation of the MRT tracks on Shaw is quite high. In fact, the long staircase going up is divided into 5 sections. The first section is a mere 10 steps or so. Then after that, its 4 sections of 20 steps each. That gives you a total of about 90 steps to reach the station platform! My hamstrings got a good workout climbing the steps.

The fee was quite modest -- only Php11 from Shaw to Ayala. I did not have to wait long for a train to arrive also. The train is well-ventilated. Although the airconditioning is not that cold compared to trains in other countries, it was pretty decent. There are good air blowers inside the train to circulate the air.

There were 3 stops before Ayala (Boni, Guadalupe, Buendia). One thing I noticed was the stations do not have markings on what the next step will be. There are also no indications inside the train showing which station you are in, and what is the next step. So you pretty much have to listen carefully to the audio announcements. Foreigners who are not used to Manila will probably have a hard time navigating our MRT system.

It was a relatively short ride to Ayala. Upon disembarking, everybody had to queue on 2 working turnstiles because the lady operator was fixing the other one. This led to a very long queue -- again, quite substandard by foreign comparison. The stations are also not airconditioned. :P

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