It was a typical rainy March 7, 2017, Tuesday, but more special for it was my Papang’s 50th birthday. I expected to arrive at our hometown in Brgy. Ma. Cristina, Balo-i, Lanao del Norte by 8 or 9 in the evening, however, got delayed for 3 hours more.
After my 4 PM shift from work, I immediately looked for a Patag-Apovel jeepney bound for Westbound Terminal. Upon arriving at the terminal, I saw passengers lined up. The line was too long that it even reached the terminal entrance. Then I heard a man saying that it has been hours since the last bus arrived, adding that a bridge in Opol collapsed. I became worried that time, thinking that I might not be able to make it at home earlier than what I expected. I even thought of going back home in Iponan instead but I’ve already decided to go home and not to miss the special birthday celebration of my father which my family and I have planned for a week. At last, a bus arrived exactly at 5:10 PM of which accommodated the passengers who lined up ahead of me which meant that I have to wait for the next bus to arrive. So I waited for more minutes, and finally, that was quarter to 6 PM, another bus arrived and luckily, I’m one of its passengers.
I didn’t realize how worse the traffic situation was in the Iligan-Cagayan de Oro National Highway until we were stuck somewhere in the Opol-Bulua Bus Station Diversion Road. My family even started calling me asking my current whereabouts that time, specifically at 6:12 PM. I can still remember the SALT movie that was played on the screen which ran for hours until it ended but still, were stuck on the same road where our bus was at. We moved a bit but maybe only a couple of meters only. And since it was an unexpected “long” ride and that I wasn’t able to bring something to munch and kill time, I decided to just take some naps.
Then it was 8:21 PM when my sister called me for an update. That time, our bus hasn’t reached the end of the diversion road yet. Frustrating, right? So I convinced myself to distract myself by watching the movie that was being played that time which was the X-Men Origins: Wolverine even if I’ve already watched it in a bus ride I had before. I had no other choice though plus my phone has already drained half of its battery.
Unconsciously, I fell asleep for more than an hour and as I checked on my phone which said 9:49 PM, we were already in El Salvador with the bus running continuously. Meaning, we already passed the traffic congestion in Opol. Felt relieved that time, however, I failed to see what was really happening in the area. But since it was an evening ride, I also thought that it would be difficult for me to really see outside. Nevertheless, what was running on my mind that time was the idea of arriving home.
I arrived in Iligan City by 11:11 PM. And then I rode a multicab to the city proper and boarded a habal-habal to our hometown.
For the record, my 3-hour ride going to my hometown got doubled. But who’s to blame?
The traffic on the Iligan-CDO Highway, specifically near Igpit and Opol, began to build up since the widening project was started but got worsened when the riprap in one of the two-way lanes of the bridge in Opol recently collapsed due to continuous rains, leaving motorists to only pass through the other lane. To think that it is part of the National Highway, it is already given that there will always be a big number of vehicles to pass through the highway.
I can go home at any other day but my concern is for those who commute everyday to go to school or office for work, and those who have their flights in Laguindingan Airport. We just hope that this won’t last for more days and that the local government and the DPWH will do something to speed up the works in the said widening projects.