MANILA — Some travelers have started returning home, including those in Metro Manila, on Black Saturday, cutting short their Holy Week break so they could catch some rest and prepare for work when the holidays end next week, they said.
Jorence Dorog said she wrapped up her 3-day vacation in Nueva Ecija because her work will resume on Easter Sunday.
“Kasambahay kami. Noong nagbakasyon amo namin, nagbakasyon rin kami,” Dorog told ABS-CBN News upon her arrival at a bus station in Quezon City.
Mona Bacay said that while she wants to enjoy more her vacation, she needs to return to work.
“Kung puwede nga hindi na kami umuwi. Kaso kailangan dahil may trabaho,” she said. “Kailangan makabalik kaagad.”
Meanwhile, Peachy Villanueva, who hails from Tarlac, said her family is preparing to return to their home province Saturday evening so they could rest before her children returns to school on Tuesday.
But before their trip, they intend to visit malls in Metro Manila. “Magmo-mall, food trip,” she said.
Several malls in the capital were scheduled to resume operations on Saturday after closing on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
“Magpapahinga na kami sa Tarlac [mamaya] kasi Tuesday back to school na nga, so rest day na talaga ‘yon,” said Villanueva.
While Dorog, Bacay and Villanueva have starting going home, many others are lining up at bus stations along EDSA in Quezon City for various reasons: to attend wakes, ride connecting buses, and take advantage of the long holiday.
Bus management reminded passengers to avoid bringing appliances and bulky electronics, fearing this would be destroyed in transit. They said they could bring luggage not exceeding 25 kilos.
Pets are allowed as long as they are in cages and wearing diapers. Those who fail to comply would not be allowed to board the bus.
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) earlier said they are on “heightened alert” until Monday for the Holy Week and summer vacation travels, which means all its traffic enforcers would be deployed in major thoroughfares.
LTO chief Jay Art Tugade said his agency would conduct surprise inspections in terminals, assist motorists in need, and inspect public utility vehicles during this period.
SITUATION AT PITX
Meanwhile, fewer passengers going to the provinces have been observed at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange or PITX on Saturday.
The PITX management said it anticipates an influx of passengers on Sunday or Monday morning, as travelers from the provinces are expected to return especially those who will return to work on Tuesday.
Ticketing clerks for buses bound for the provinces said there were minimal travelers since Friday, with the seating capacity of some buses that left the terminal Saturday not fully filled.
Some Bicol-bound buses were only 50 percent occupied, they said.
They noted that most of the travelers on Saturday are those who were avoiding the traffic rush, particularly last Wednesday through Thursday. These are the workers from Metro Manila who are taking advantage of the long vacation since Monday remains a holiday for Araw ng Kagitingan.
STAY IN NCR
There were still a lot of people though who stayed in Metro Manila instead of going home or traveling to provinces this Holy Week.
Some 3,400 individuals spent their Black Saturday morning at the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach, which is open until 6 p.m.
Others trooped to Luneta Park, which is open to the public until 10 p.m. The park has received some 4,300 visitors as of 11 a.m.
Manila Zoo, on the other hand, is open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.