Facing Manila Traffic with Poise

The traffic situation in mega Manila has gone terribly worse in the last few years. In fact, when we think about Manila, the first thing that comes to mind is traffic. The daily road situation in major thoroughfares such as EDSA and C5 is being likened to a zombie apocalypse or a ‘carmageddon’ if viewed from a vantage point.

In August last year, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced that the traffic situation is expected to get worse in the next 15 years. With very little improvement in transport infrastructure and urban planning, I doubt that we will see clearer roads anytime soon.

So, instead of adding to an infinite list of complaints, let’s just talk about how we can face Manila traffic with poise and arrive at work looking more human and less zombie.

Forget About Rush Hour

Follow the #manilatraffic trend every day, and you’ll see that there’s no longer such a thing as a rush hour. In Metro Manila, every hour of every day is a rush hour; except maybe at one to five in the morning, but only a small percentage of the population benefits from that.

To face Manila traffic with poise, you must have the tolerance of a Buddhist monk. Discipline and patience are two important traits you must develop. If you live in “Farview” and work in Makati, you need to wake up at least four hours before your shift. Don’t wait for traffic update maps to turn orange or yellow or green because that’s not going to happen.

Choose the Best Route

Commuters don’t have much of an option with this one because there really is no best route anymore. Even if we have the option to take the train, many of us still need to take another mode of transport to get to our final destination. In fact, many of us take two or more different modes on our daily commute to work. Try different routes until you find which one suits you best. You will later find out that an additional hour of sleep or extra time to eat can make a big difference to your well-being.

Reload Your Beep Smart Card

There are two types of lines in our MRT and LRT stations. One is for the ticket booth and the other is for entering the platform. As much as possible, reload your stored value card, so you don’t have to endure queuing just to buy a ticket. Every commuter understands the value of 30 to 45 minutes. Don’t waste precious time for something you can literally avoid.

Expect the Worst and Never Hope for the Best

There are hopeless days when we think to the skies and wish the universe to be nice to us for just one day. To simply hope for traffic situation to ease today is a crime. Though it’s nice to still remain optimistic in spite of everything else, hoping for the best will only cause frustration when things don’t go your way.

What I’m trying to say is, expect the MRT to breakdown, expect the bus to overheat, expect to stand for hours and most importantly, expect to arrive late every day. This way, nothing can disappoint you anymore.

GIF c/o Giphy

GIF c/o Giphy

Make Decisions Quickly

When things go wrong, which most likely will, make decisions quickly and wisely. Say, if the MRT breaks down two stations before your destination, don’t linger and wait for it to get fixed. Take the next best option you think will not cause any more delays. Notify your supervisor right away, so they will expect it if you turn in late. They should understand by now that traffic in Manila is beyond your control.

To be honest, the best advice I can give you is this: smile. Smile, even if deep down you want to scream and rage. Smile when you walk into the office, even if a quarter of your day has already been wasted. The only way to face Manila traffic with poise is to come into terms with reality and keep a tinge of hope that the next administration will do something to ease this nightmare. Or, do the best Filipino thing to do, make a good laugh out of it.

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