From its waters, our ancestors were able to exploit the river's abundant resources, sustaining an infantile community and building it up to the flashy cosmopolitan that we live in. As the metropolis grew and prospered, the river declined, its banks filled with the city's urban poor greedily encroaching on its rich banks with misshapen and haphazardly done houses. Factories and manufacturing companies have taken over much of the mangroves that once lined the river. And for the past 50 or so years the river is in a somewhat comatose state or even in a vegetative state, gasping for dear air yet drowning in the city's excrement, filth, rubbish and all the synonyms associated with it.
There have been many efforts, the first was the rehabilitation of the esteros lining the river, clearing up all the garbage and illegal structures along its banks, the construction of river walks for the pleasure of the people and so much more. A few years back, when I was still in college, there was this huge effort to bring back the Pasig River Ferry system, it succeeded for a few years but it puttered out. There was no carmaggedon back then, the idea of an MRT breaking down was statistically impossible, buses still remained the same, uncouth and every bit as rude barreling down EDSA at breakneck speeds.
Just a month ago, the MMDA decided to bring back the ferry system, so far the boats are incomparable to its predecessors, open to the elements with the entire stench of the river bearing down on its riders. I tried it today and I enjoyed it, it was a different riding experience than my normal fanfare going to the Escolta weekend market. I entered inside the once-abandoned ferry station in Guadalupe, checked out the timetable and paid the Php. 50 ticket to Escolta. At the appointed hour we were moving at a fast pace, meandering along the curves of the river, passing by urban developments and the occasional shanty town dotted along the way.
The ferry provides trips to these stations at selected hours (please check the station's timetables for the schedule of the trips).