The bridge was damaged a couple of weeks a go when a portion of the concrete slab fell off of the bridge. A hole was now on the Northbound side of the bridge and needed repair immediately. However, April 5 was San Vicente’s Barrio Fiesta and the 8th Sabuaga Festival was on the 16th! The repairs were thus scheduled on the 17th of April 2017.
The closure has now created for itself one headache for the townspeople: the traffic jam.
Sto. Tomas and Minalin-bound jeepneys pass by the bridge, including trucks and trailers which carry most of the goods of businesses in the two towns: poultry, table eggs, caskets, and fish. Having all of these pass through one carriageway will definitely cause traffic.
LGU Sto. Tomas, Pampanga has already put in place alternate routes and posted them on Facebook but posts on social media seem to indicate how important the bridge really is in providing easy and fast transportation to the towns of Minalin and Sto. Tomas.
Mayor John Sambo also recommends the San Bartolome-Culcul Road going to Apalit/Malolos as an alternate route for those people who need not pass by San Matias. As for myself, going home this weekend, we just might do this to help ease the traffic in Sto. Nino Sapa.
So our patience will be tested. Mayor Sambo requested that this be accomplished in 45 days. 40 days are left. Hopefully if we monitor the progress well, it will be done sooner than later.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a fan of maps. I make some at times. And here’s another one I found online: 2015 Road Condition Atlas of DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways).
And from their assessment, Sto. Tomas has some bad roads that need improving. Furthermore, with the recent damage to the bridge connecting Sapa and San Vicente, perhaps we could change and get an updated version showing good road conditions in our town.
Well, this is a big map and it covers the entire 1st District (DPWH-wise) of Pampanga. Shown in Yellow and Orange are some of the sections that need improvement in our town. Since it’s already 2017, I hope they have already plans to improve the said road sections.
Check out other road conditions on the DPWH Atlas online.
Having reviewed the history of the Town of Sto. Tomas, Pampanga, I got curious where the former parish priests are now. So when I started, I had to search from the beginning: the establishment of the church in Poblacion. Though started by secular priests, the first parish priest was Augustinian Friar Guillermo Gomez Masnou. After spending time to Google him, I was dumbfounded when I found out how he had a mistress: Patricia Mercado of Sto. Tomas! Not only did he father a child, he fathered six of them. Yes, six!
Perhaps to hide this from the townspeople, or because of exactly this reason, Fray Guillermo moved to Angeles City and had a house built for Patricia Mercado to stay in. This is now know as Bale Herencia at the corner of Sto. Rosario and Lacan Dula Streets, which is now declared one of eight Important Cultural Properties by the National Museum of the Philippines in Angeles.
Now, I lived in Angeles City for four years and always passed by this old building. I knew it was historically significant to Angeles but I never knew until now that it had this connection to our little town. Perhaps to the older generation, it might be known but to the young ones, it is best we share this with them.
In the four years I stayed in Angeles, I felt that I was a simple farmtown boy making it in the big city. Little did I know that people from Sto. Tomas, Pampanga had such an impact to Angeles City’s history. Maybe we could do the same again, albeit in a more positive way.
I told myself previously not to involve myself with these things again since more and more people are now on social media and electricity and internet connection has greatly improved in reliability during these times. However, perhaps for posterity’s sake, I’m posting some facebook posts I’ve seen so far regarding the status of the Sto. Tomas-Minalin Tail Dike.
Most recently and of great note, in my opinion is this one from Renzelle Rueda showcasing how the Bayanihan spirit remains alive despite the trying times in our beloved Balen Santo Tomas.
Stay strong Cabalen!
I just think because the LGU has a personally-managed page and doesn’t have a professional social media manager employed, posts aren’t as techy or social media-friendly. They tend to be long-winded and more narrative than straight to the point. Of course, even on a national level, some government agencies’ social media accounts are no different. Only exception, perhaps, is MMDA who use social media wisely. They even get to produce viral content!
So, in order to lend a helping hand by making constructive criticisms, I posted this on Facebook: A one-image template that could be used to disseminate information important to the citizens:
- Class suspension – very important to parents specially in the morning.
- Dike status – I opted to put a color status next to it so you are immediately informed what the status is, though the color status/warning level is non-existent at the moment. As long as the LGU says it’s “Normal” (whatever that means), I’d put green as a safe color. I would love to have warning color levels though, depending on the water level of the dike.
- Flooded areas/roads – to note whether roads are passable and share the status of the depth of waters in areas affected by flooding.
It didn’t get much attention but it doesn’t really matter. My only objective is to create positive and constructive suggestions that will help instead of hinder spreading of information.