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Metro Manila residents must shop early and look for alternative modes of transportation as malls, supermarkets, and trains are scheduled to stop operations on certain days of the Holy Week. Filipinos will have the longest weekend this year as Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday and Easter Sunday (April 5 to 8) as well as Araw ng Kagitingan (April 9) are holidays. According to a report of Joseph Morong on State of the Nation (SONA), commuters who usually take the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and (LRT) will have to take alternative modes of transportation from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday.
Both the MRT and LRT will stop operations from April 5 (Holy Thursday) to April 8 (Easter Sunday). On Holy Wednesday, the LRT's last trip will be at 8:00 p.m. for:
- Line 1's Baclaran and Roosevelt stations, and
- Line 2's Santolan and Recto stations.
Both lines will resume operation at 5:00 a.m. on Monday, April 9, Araw ng Kagitingan.
On the other hand, the last trip for the MRT on Holy Wednesday will be:
- at 10:00 pm from North Ave. station, and
- 10:30 from Taft Ave. station.
Shopping hours On Morong's report on SONA, Steven Cua, President of the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association, said: "People are starting to buy...the big chains decided to close both on Holy Thursday and Good Friday."
Asked if his family had already done its shopping, shopper Rolando Reyes said: "We'll stay here in Manila. I will stay with my children and my wife. Meron na, we know some of the groceries will have to close."
All SM malls will be closed on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, except for SM Baguio which will remain open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on both days.
Some shops and restaurants at the SM Mall of Asia Veranda and the bay area in Pasay City will also remain open. Some malls that will be closed on Holy Thursday and Good Friday but will be open on Black Saturday include:
- Glorietta (Makati City)
- Greenbelt (Makati City)
- Market! Market! (Taguig City), and
- Trinoma (Quezon City).
Holy Week exodus
Since last month, Metro Manila police have been preparing for the yearly Holy Week exodus of Filipinos to the provinces. Police units heightened security in vital installations, banks, major thoroughfares, bus terminals, sea ports, as well as the entry and exit points to and from Metro Manila.
The Philippine National Police has been on full alert since Wednesday last week, to assist Filipinos leaving for the provinces.
The National Capital Region Police Office also inspected bus terminals in Quezon and Pasay cities, to ensure the safety and protection of commuters.
For its part, the Metro Manila Development Authority released a list of alternate routes for motorists who wish to avoid parts of Pasig City and Quiapo in Manila, because of heavy traffic caused by traditional Lenten processions. - VVP, GMA News