Monday, November 25, 2013

"RAKET" Transporting people to the other side of the river

"Transporting the people to the other side of the river"

-my pagnapagna- 

There are many ways getting to the other side of the river without the trouble of getting wet. One is by using bridges, but when these bridges are nowhere to be found, there is the alternative of using boats and rafts.

The river at Vintar, Ilocos Norte
My journey directed me to one part of the river at Vintar, Ilocos Norte just near the town center where they use rafts called as "raket" (others call it "balsa"). These "rakets" are made up of bamboo poles placed side by side and bonded together with the same material. The empty chambers between nodes of the bamboo makes the raft float carrying all the loads on top of it.

On my first visit, i went there just to observe. Passing time while the sun rises in the east. They were transporting people from one side to the other including motorcycles and tricycles.

waiting for other passengers at the southern side

There are other barangays at the other side of the river. Some of these are the barangays of Salsalamagui and Abkir.

On the second day of my visit to that part of the river, at around six o'clock in the morning, i met "Randy Taguicana" who operates one of the "rakets"

Sitting on the "raket" with "Randy"

He is 42 years of age, married with 2 children and resides in Barangay Salsalamagui at the other side of the river. "Randy" told me that they start operating as early as 4 o'clock in the morning and stop at around 9 o'clock in the evening. They generate an average of 300 pesos a day income from the fares given by the passengers. 
The fares are:
  • people - 10 pesos per person
  • motorcycles - 15 pesos per unit
  • tricycles - 20 pesos per unit
He added that there is student discount given as they only pay 5 pesos but no senior citizens' discount.

Generally, two persons are needed to man the "raket"

One "raket" has a capacity of :
for people only - 20 persons  
for motorcycles only - 6 units
for tricycles only - 3 units

Long thinner bamboo poles are used to maneuver the "raket" 
by shoving the pole at the river bed and pushing it away.
While one nears the other side of the river, another departs.

Only 3 "rakets" were operating on this part of the river at that time. They operate during the months of June until December, depending upon how deep the river will be. 
Come summer, the river will be manageable and needs no raft to cross it. "Randy" would be back to his main work as a farmer.

-end of pagnapagna-

Subject  : Vintar River
Location : Municipality of Vintar
                Province of Ilocos Norte

How to get there:
From Manila, ride a bus going to Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. 
At Laoag City, take a tricycle ride going to the jeep terminal bound for Vintar located at M.H.del Pilar street corner Don E. Ruiz or just hire the tricycle going to Vintar for around 90 pesos (varies). The jeep fare going to Vintar will cost around 16 pesos.
At downtown Vintar, walk your way towards north where the river is located.

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