Holy Week exodus: Commuters line up for hours in terminals

MANILA, Philippines – Thousands flocked to bus terminals in Quezon City late Wednesday, March 28, as commuters headed to the provinces for Holy Week.

Transportation officials expected the influx of passengers to peak late Wednesday, it being the last working day before the holidays.

The rush to go to the provinces resulted in hours long of waiting in terminals.

Among the crowd of passengers was Cathy Legaspi who was with two of her children. By 8 pm, they had been waiting in JAC Liner terminal for a bus to Lucena, Quezon for 3 hours already.

"'Yung asawa ko ngayon 'yung nakapila. Nagsasalitan kami. Minsan ako, minsan itong 11-year-old ko, ngayon siya 'yung nandoon," she told Rappler.

(My husband is lining up for us now. We take turns. Sometimes it's me, sometime's it's my 11 year old, but now it's him there.)

FAMILY. Cathy Legaspi and her two kids wait by the side of JAC Liner terminal, away from the crowd, as her husband lines up for them.

FAMILY. Cathy Legaspi and her two kids wait by the side of JAC Liner terminal, away from the crowd, as her husband lines up for them.

In Five Star terminal, Joshua Noel Garcia, 21, was waiting in line for more than two hours for a bus to San Fernando, Pampanga by 7 pm. He said he regularly goes home to the province during Holy Week but it was his first time to come home as late as Holy Wednesday.

"First time ko umuwi this late kasi usually umuuwi ako ng Friday before the Holy Week. (It was my first time to come home this late because I usually come home Friday before the Holy Week.) I didn't expect na (that) I will be waiting this long," Garcia said.

TWO HOURS. Joshua Noel Garcia waits for a ride to San Fernando, Pampanga for more than two hours on March 28, 2018.

TWO HOURS. Joshua Noel Garcia waits for a ride to San Fernando, Pampanga for more than two hours on March 28, 2018.

A little past 7 pm, a group of 4 friends just arrived at Five Star terminal hoping to catch a bus to Alaminos, Pangasinan. Brix Dela Cruz, 23, said they were visiting their friend's hometown for a vacation.

Their friend, Myreen Rabisis, said they are hopeful they would be able to ride within 3 hours.

Erlinda Galura, 46, was among the sea of people lining up at Genesis Bus terminal. She said she had been in line for about an hour-and-a-half since 6 pm.

REGULAR. Erlinda Galura reguarly goes home to Bataan every year for the Holy Week.

REGULAR. Erlinda Galura reguarly goes home to Bataan every year for the Holy Week.

Galura regularly goes home to Bataan every Holy Week as late as Wednesday because of work.

"I used to patronize a different bus company but in the past years I started traveling with Genesis because even if the line is long, at least it is organized and there are enough buses for the influx of passengers coming home for the Holy Week," Galura told Rappler.

Early Wednesday, transportation officials made rounds in terminals to ensure passenger safety. (READ: Tips for Holy Week commuters)

Malacañang earlier said that there has been "no specific threat" monitored for the Holy Week but security preparations are already in place. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

image