Off the southbound lane of Parañaque’s Coastal Road is a small fishing village that makes it means via the polluted waters of Manila Bay.
I have passed through this strip of coast countless times, plying my way to and from Manila years back.
And every time, I make it a point to sit near the window, the sea within sight. I wanted to see the bay as my bus speeds along the highway.
I was particularly drawn to a part where the mangroves blocking the bay suddenly gives way to a small fish port; then a stretch of Manila bay speeds by, interspersed with shanties and small boats. The urban symphony peaks with a wooden bridgeway leading to a shack in the middle of the shallow cove.
The view then gradually descends into the long highway to the south.
The scenery especially during late afternoons were quite dramatic, litters and shanties notwithstanding. A perfect stretch for a road trip playlist.
Canon Philippines announced that this year’s annual Canon Photomarathon would be held at SMX, right beside the Mall of Asia. The proximity of this location to Parañaque’s coastal road was just too good to pass up.
The day of the Photomarathon came. I decided that this would be the day that I would finally photograph that stretch of road that connects the southern cities of the metro.
Armed with my point and shoot camera and a photo buddy, we walked and hitched ‘til we were eventually dropped off at the small fish port.
Other participants of the event were also there but they were flocking towards the incoming boats from the bay. I on the other hand have another goal in mind; to photograph that wooden bridgeway that I had been seeing over and over again for years back.
To the left of the port we went marching.
The place looked a bit unsafe; especially with expensive cameras dangling all around our necks. But it was the middle of the day and there’s quite a few folks passing through the place. We went ahead, extra caution in mind.
We chatted with some of the local fisher folks in the area. They’re quite friendly. We had some photos ops with the kids running around the bank and was even offered a boat ride (for a fee) to the nearby mangroves. For a closer view of the white birds lazily flocking around the area, the boatmen explained.
Eventually we arrived at the mysterious causeway.
Some kids were happily lounging around its rickety wooden path, just hanging out and probably telling tall tales of the previous days.
It was almost perfect. Only thing missing was the drama of the late afternoon, the cast of the sun’s orange glow against the reflective water of the bay.
I can almost hear the squawks of the birds and the comforting sound of the speeding vehicles off the road as twilight approaches. But that may be for another time.
After some minutes, I have my photographs of the place.
Dozen and dozens of mornings, afternoons and evenings have fleeted along this stretch of Manila Bay with me inside the comfort of a passenger bus. And for the first time after all those long years, I had actually walked along its littered pathways, capturing my memories of Parañaque’s Coastal Road as I went along.