Thursday, July 30, 2015


I just like to share about my first train ride in Belgium alone.

I would like to share about it because I hope it helps others and I just had a laugh about it.

Actually, there were only two other people in the train.

I was about to go out of the train. For other trains, there are usually so many people and I felt the train door opens automatically. Then, I go together with the rest of the pack.

This time, I was the only one going out. I stare at the door and wait for the door to open.... and it does not!
There were instructions but of course, all the words were in Dutch! (so this is how it feels to be illiterate!)

So I went back to the train coach and asked help from the person there and asked which button to push!

It should be the GREEN button!!! (I was actually confused earlier!)

Now looking at the picture, I can see that GREEN means OPEN.
While the YELLOW button means CLOSE as per the diagram.
But at that time, I did not see that! So there was just a tinge of panic since I heard the door closes in a few minutes and I guess that blinded me!

Well, seems like a simple problem but I actually was also amused! 

So, I just wanted to share you this story!

Can you relate ?


My visiting fellowship was at the Universitaire Gasthuisberg Leuven, Belgium but I was booked in Brussels so I have to go through Leuven Station daily... a stark contrast from Vilvoorde Station.

From Wikipedia: 
Leuven is the main railway station in the Belgian city of Leuven, in Flemish Brabant. The station is operated by the national railway company NMBS and is located on railway line 36.
In 2007 it was the fifth busiest station in Belgium, only preceded by the three main Brussels stations and Gent-Sint-Pieters railway station.
The station recently underwent extensive and costly renovations lasting several years. The station square houses a major bus terminal as well as extensive bicycle parking and car parking. The station includes a tunnel which passes underneath the station for pedestrians as well as an overhead bridge with elevators. The station is fully accessible for wheelchairs.


If in case, it is already 10 p.m., the station closes and these were my learnings:
1) Go out of the station office since they close the doors. I wanted to go in to buy a ticket through the counter and I later found out, there were a few people who just got out of the station ticket office since they were locked in there for a while.
2) You can only get a ticket through the ticket machine. Since it needed their credit card plus I wasn't sure of it was in Dutch, then that was definitely a problem. Fortunately, there was a young lady who obliged to get my money and she would be the one to get the thicket from the machine.

From the Rail Station, I had to ride the bus to UZ Leuven.
The bus station is just beside the rail station.
The bus station 

The buses as they pass by UZ Leuven

The bus schedules at UZ Leuven: I usually take the Bus 600 and Bus 316 to Leuven Station

Inside the bus

The view of UZ Leuven from the bus just before entering the Hospital Complex. 
Leuven Station is a safe and modern rail station.

Leuven is a beautiful and historical place!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I was at the Vilvoorde Station in Belgium as I intended to visit the Karmelietten Zusters (Carmelite Sisters).

The main Vilvoorde Rail station is beautiful and opened on May 5, 1835 on Lines 25 and 27. The train services are operated bu National Railway Company of Belgium (NMBS)

I was saddened by the present status of the Vilvoorde Railroad Station, but you can see the glory and the beauty from a distant past.

From Wikipedia on Station Vilvoorde, this is what I gathered although, I had to translate the text from Dutch to English.

Vilvoorde station is a railway station along railway line 25 and 27 (Brussels-Antwerp) in the city of Vilvoorde. It is a station on the very first public railway on the European continent. The station building is at street level and the platforms are in height. The station building was built in 1882 and is built in neo-Flemish renaissance style. Since 1975 it is a protected monument. Currently (2014) is the drive capable of far-reaching decline. In particular the passage and the platforms are poorly maintained: the paint exfoliates, the cast iron parts show rust and the tiling is damaged. Originally there was a renovation scheduled for the summer of 2014. 

However, the SNCB had to postpone this project; If reason were the cuts by the Government-Michel argued. [2] Mayor Hans Bonte contemplating legal steps to enforce a renovation. [3]
rusty cast iron parts

exfoliated paint, damaged tiling and rusty iron
According to a friend, Dr. Van Steen who is also from Vilvoorde,  the station is part of a larger Brussels rail project which includes Vilvoorde which is just adjacent to Brussels. Renovation is not done while waiting for the project to come into being, thus, further postponement of the project resulted to continuing decay of the station.

Although, the station looks bleak, I was happy that even if I went home near midnight, the place was still safe. 

I do hope that Vilvoorde Station would regain its beauty and character in the near future.


I am now in Manila and I am now advised for the #MMShakeDrill tomorrow July 30, 2015. We see the advisory on TV, online and also in the different establishments here.

There is a Memorandum Circular No. 79 s. 2015 from Malacanang Palace for the participation of government agencies and instrumentalities for a Synchronized Metro-Wide Earthquake Drill.

So I would like to share here the FAQs which I got from the MMDA website for the Metro Manila Shake Drill, which could enlighten us more about the Mega-wide Earthquake Drill.

This is a very noble endeavour and its deployment throughout Metro Manila is very commendable.
And they also have these detailed EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS GUIDE PAMPHLETS for further learning:

Tomorrow we would see the implementation of the Metro Manila Shake Drill and I am excited to see how it goes.

Please go over their website to learn more: