My Very First Experience in Riding the PNR Train

Father used to tell me stories of his experience in riding the PNR train from his hometown in Bicol to Manila. In those stories, he fondly called the train as “Bicol Express” because it is the fastest mode of transport to Metro Manila from Bicol during his time. He told me that riding the train was so convenient that there were beds made available for sleepy passengers.

Sadly, like other pre-Cory infrastructure, the rail system of the Philippine National Railway (PNR) suffered a decay to which it couldn’t get out of. The PNR of today only serves trips from Tutuban to Alabang. The PNR rail in Laguna, Quezon, in Bicol are now used by railroad kariton or occupied by squatters.

PNR Train
(Source: Wikipedia)

I finally had the chance to ride the PNR train when I had an appointment in Kalentong (Mandaluyong). I decided to take the PNR train from Buendia to Paco Station just for the experience.

PNR Buendia Station

I paid 10 pesos for a train ride to Paco Station. It’s quite cheap. Very much like riding a jeepney.

PNR Commuter Ticket

I guess PNR’s recent request for a fare hike is justified. They need more funds to improve the train system. Let’s just hope that the additional fare will truly improve PNR trains and don’t become like the MRT where the service is terrible.

PNR Buendia Platform

There were few people in PNR-Buendia that time. I guess because it was not rush hour.

The PNR trains arrive in 30 minute interval. Thus I had to wait for a long time for the train. There is no bench or chair on the platform so I just sat on the floor like the others.

To keep the memory of my first ride to PNR train, I made sure to take a video of it.

Unlike the LRT and MRT trains that run on electricity, the PNR trains run on diesel or other fossil fuel. Another difference is that PNR trains have a sort of chicken wire or grill at the windows to protect the train and passengers from the projectiles. People living in homes along the riles are notorious for throwing refuse and even human excrement at PNR trains. This is disgusting but PNR had difficulties in stopping this practice. 

PNR railroad near the Paco train ststion
PNR rail near the Paco Station.

So how was my first PNR train ride? It is not that thrilling. PNR train is crowded like the MRT and LRT. The trip lasted for a few minutes and I reached Paco quickly.

The railway is the most efficient system in delivering people and goods between provinces. Sadly, the government couldn’t see that fact and continue to ignore the overhaul of the PNR. How I wish that the Bicol Express of old and the train system to the North be restored. How I wish that I will be able to have train ride with Little Ahab to Bicolandia.

Oh well, hindi naman masama ang mangarap.

Little Ahab’s Very First Stay in the Hospital

Failed Dextrose Insertion
The rainy season is suddenly upon us and it brought a company: the vicious cough and cold. The three of us (me, Lei, and Mother-in-Law) home suffered from these two illnesses. Sadly, our little boy was not spared. He got the cold from My Beloved Wife Lei.

Little Ahab’s pediatrician told us to give him Salbutamol, Allerkid and anti-biotic. We did this for a week and everything is going fine until one night when our son didn’t stop crying. The culprit is the phlegm that Little Ahab has difficulty of coughing out.

We are so worried with what’s happening to our son. We managed to calm him after an hour of his crying and coughing.

The pediatrician advised us to confine our son to a hospital for observation. She also said that we had to nebulize him to remove the phlegm.

We brought Little Ahab to a hospital in Cabuyao. We chose to stay in a private room so as to keep our boy away from other patients who may have contagious illness. This is despite the fact that this is a more expensive option. We just want to give the best to our son.

Our stay in the hospital was boring and fine. Boring because there’s not much to do in the hospital. Buti na lang at may Internet or else I’ll die of utter boredom. It was also fine because Little Ahab is a quite active during his hospital stay. He kept on jumping and playing even if he’s tied to a dextrose.

Our baby is very active to the point that his blood squirted to the tube connecting his arm to the dextrose. The nurses had no other choice but to replace the dextrose and reinject the tube.

Injecting the dextrose to a baby is quite difficult. The nurses couldn’t find Little Ahab’s vein. They injected the left arm, then the right arm, and then the left foot to no avail.

Our baby cried so much that Lei almost want to berate the nurses for their failure.
We told the nurses to stop injecting the dextrose since we didn’t want our son to suffer again.

Because of the dextrose incident, Little Ahab’s pedia told us that we could go home but we had to continue the medication. So, I bought our own nebulizer machine so we can continue Little Ahab’s nebulize session.

Little Ahab is OK now. The cough and phlegm are now gone. And we hope that that dextrose episode will not happen again.

Now I know how difficult it is to have a son who is ill. Our son only have mild pneumonia but that is enough to make me ask God to transfer my son’s suffering to me.

Now I know how my Mama and Papa felt when I was ill. Now I appreciate my parents more for their love and care that they give me, especially during the times when I was ill.

Another Divisoria Adventure: My Search for Little Ahab’s Baptismal Souvenir

Divisoria, Philippines’ mecca of cheap things, is our most frequented place during our wedding preparations. This is where we got Lei’s wedding gown and my suits, and our wedding invitation cards. Divisoria was our “go to” place for all of our wedding needs.


Three particular areas: Tabora Street, Ylaya Street, and Yangco Market; are the wedding center of Divisoria. These places are also known for souvenir/gift items related to birthdays, baptism, and other milestones. So, for Little Ahab’s christening, I went to Divisoria again to search for the supplier for baptismal souvenirs.

Wedding Souvenirs in Divisoria
Lei checking out some souvenir items at Tabora.

There’s a lot of souvenir items to choose from like glass figurines, tumblers, plates, pillows – all of them customized. We chose the customized mug because it can be used aside from being a souvenir for Little Ahab’s christening. We didn’t want to give away things that will just collect dust and then thrown away.

Personalized Baptismal Souvenirs in Divisoria

There are plenty shops along Tabora and in Yangco Market so I asked around for the best deal. The first shop offered customized mugs for 60 pesos apiece, which I found too expensive. The second shop offered it for 25 pesos, which is too cheap and suspicious. I might get low quality mugs that will surely disappoint us.

The last shop offered 45 pesos per customized mug that went down to 40 pesos after a little haggling. 40 pesos is reasonable price so I decided to order customized mugs from them.

Personalized Mugs and tumblers in Divisoria

I was told that I have to order at least 20 customized mugs. For the design of the mug, they told me that they can do the layout (for a additional fee of 50 pesos) or that I make my own and then give it them. I chose the latter option since I want to save some pesos and, also, I can have full control in making the design.

The supplier promised to give the customized mugs the day after I placed my order.

Well the supplier made good on their promise. They delivered all of the 25 customized mugs that we ordered the next day after I placed my order. My Beloved Wife Lei was pleased with the quality of the print so that’s a plus point for that supplier.

I’m proud to say that we designed the mug ourselves. Thus, we saved 50 pesos.

Little Ahab’s supplier of his souvenir mugs is Ken @ Amie. Their shop is located beside the former Divisoria Mall and in front of George Enterprises along Tabora Street, Divisoria. Contact them at mobile phone numbers: 0921-7639970 and 0977-2126400.

Divisoria Souvenir Shop

Tips when Ordering Souvenirs in Divisoria:

1. Take time to ask around for the best deal. Prices of the customized mugs (or other souvenir) vary per shop. Thus, it’s better to canvass first before deciding where to order your souvenirs.

2. Don’t make price as your only deciding factor. You should also check on the quality of the prints and the speed of delivery. Sometimes cheap price = cheap quality.

3. Always ask for receipt when making a payment. This will serve as your proof when something is wrong with your souvenirs.

4. Finally, check the items that you ordered before you make a full payment. You have the leverage over the supplier/vendor as long as your money is still in your hands.

Our Christening Party Experience at Max’s Restaurant

My Beloved Wife Lei always give the best to our Little Ahab. Be it clothes, feeding bottle, milk – Lei do not settle on “pwede na” but choose high quality even if it’s expensive. So, for the Christening party of our baby Lei chose the special option. She chose Max’s.

Max's Restaurant
(Source: Max's Restaurant)

We booked a christening party at Max’s merely two weeks prior to Little Ahab’s baptismal day. Good thing that the restaurant was not fully booked yet so we easily reserved a hall (or venue). Max’s supervisors (or managers) were very helpful from inquiry to booking to change of date to Little Ahab’s christening party. They are always attentive to our needs and also the the needs of our guests.

Max’s has only two themes for the christening party, which are the Noah’s Ark and the Blessed Baby. We chose the latter option.

Max's Restaurant preparing for the christening party of Little Ahab

For the menu, Max’s supervisor gave us these three options:

We chose Menu 1 not only because it is the most affordable option but also because it is more “senior citizen friendly”. We selected the Premium package for 30 persons, which cost about 14,769 pesos. This package has a cake and a guest book. We also received “free” invitation cards, sweet cookies as souvenirs, and a gift for Little Ahab.

Max's Restaurant cake for binyag (christening, baptism)
Little Ahab's christening cake from Max's Restaurant.

The best freebie that we got is the “NInong ko si Max” deal which entitled us for 2 Max’s regular fried chicken every year until Little Ahab turns seven years old. This means that we can get free fried chicken for Little Ahab’s birthday and Christmas.

Ninong ko si Max promo from Max's Restaurant
(Source: Max's Restaurant)

Little Ahab’s christening party came out great even though it was simple. We didn’t had any program or gimmick. We, together with the godparents and guests, went to Max’s just to eat. We simply enjoyed Max’s excellent dishes.


Planning a wedding (instead of baptism)? Read my post, Checking Out Max’s Restaurant's Wedding Celebration.

Do you have questions about our christening party experience at Max's Restaurant? Place your questions and comments at the comment section below or you may send a private message to my Facebook page.