Part 9 of 20
[PAGE 16] Starting from the pueblo of San Simon is another road (calzada) called San Carlos, which also becomes impassable during the rainy season, up to Mexico, San Fernando and Bacolor. From this capital, the highway (camino real) passes by the pueblos of Betis, Guagua, Sesmoan, Lubao, Santa Rita, Porac, Culiat, Mabalacat, Bamban, Capas and Patling.
From the pueblo of Arayat, there is a road, a paved highway, that runs along the Rio Grande to Candava, Cabiao, San Isidro and Gapan; but the one that runs to San Miguel de Mayumo from Cabiao is not yet finished; neither is the one from Apalit to San Fernando. In this last one, there is a need to build an expensive bamboo bridge to cross a small lake which is rarely without water even during the dry season. There is also a road from San Fernando to Santo Tomas and Minalin.
One can travel by carriage to the mission of Mabalacat , which is at the foot of the Zambales Mountains and is two hours on horseback away from Magalang, passing by San Fernando and Coliat; and also from Bamban and Capas. The first one, that is, Mabalacat, is one hour away, but one has to be sure of finding proportionate bridges over the rivulets (riachuelos) which one has to cross; although there is always the possibility of finding the travel difficult because of fissures and potholes along the way.
It is not at all possible to travel by wheeled vehicles to the mission or small poblacion of Patling. The same is true from the pueblos of this province to that of Bataan or Balanga, Zambales and Nueva Ecija, because it is mountainous, and so the only resort is to travel on foot or on horseback. All these roads and foot paths need repair, especially the bridges, to facilitate communication and travel, because they are so neglected.
Immediate attention and improvement needs to be given especially to the road that [page 17] leads to Pangasinan; as well as those going to the northern provinces, Ilocos and Cagayan. There is a constant flow of people, very many people, along these roads. And, during the rainy season, they become impassable, and so the travellers and traders are obliged to make a detour here and there, to go back and forth repeatedly through dense forests where, aside from the dangers inherent to those places, they meet obstacles that greatly delay their movement.
The bridges in San Fernando and Santa Ana have posts and wooden floors, both of good quality. Their excellent roofs are made of cane, rattan, and nipa. [These bridges] are strong and permanent. Actually, the currents of the rivers over which they lie are not very strong.
[The bridges] in the poblaciones of Apalit, San Simon, San Luis, Arayat, and Cabiao are destroyed during the season of rain and floods, because they are over the Rio Grande; and it is not possible for them to remain intact, given the deep floods and strong currents mentioned earlier. But after that period of rains, new ones are placed to be used during the dry season. But in the rivers of Gapan and San Miguel de Mayumo, there are fords all the time and the only worst thing that can hinder one’s movement is an occasional short spurt of strong current brought by the flood.
What is certain is that all the pueblos have continuous contact with one another, because of the good roads, and that, during the dry season, the carriages can travel very well, and transportation is easy and convenient.