Friday, December 09, 2005


Bumper to bumper traffic on Quezon Boulevard heading towards Quiapo Church. Notice the sparse traffic on the opposite direction.

BESIDES developing deep vein thrombosis, busted bladder and high blood pressure, traffic jams have been known to cause momentary lapse of reason to impatient motorists. I had once witnessed right on this boulevard a driver rammed his jeepney onto the back of a Honda Civic. Either the driver suddenly fell asleep at the wheel or he was disgusted by the Honda’s driver having cut him off earlier. It wasn’t pretty.

Quezon Boulevard would get extremely congested, especially during Fridays when most people head over to attend mass at Quiapo Church. These pictures were taken around 2:00 p.m. on a regular workday; not quite the rush hour yet, but notice the build up. However, if you drive a private vehicle, there are ways to circumvent the grim prospect of getting stuck in one; that is, if you knew of alternate routes or as more commonly known as short cuts.

Prior to my driving around Metro Manila, I consulted with the masters—the cab drivers. I took a lot of cabs to and from my residence and would ask every one for driving tips in and around the city. Believe me they all love to share their knowledge. One of the many wonderful things about our local folks is that they would immediately reciprocate the respect you afford them.

So for the most part, their universal advice is, when driving in Metro Manila, always yield to public utility vehicles—the jeepneys, cabs, and FXs, because they’re all hustling for a fare. The more you yield, the less the agitation you’ll experience from them. Remember, especially with the jeepneys, theirs are made of galvanized steel; your car’s body is merely a grade above the can of sardines. As for the traffic cops, everything is negotiable, especially if you demonstrate even just a tad of humility. Again, the operative word here is humility. Finally, traffic jams eventually move and dissipate so, just find ways to assuage the stress of waiting. What I do is sing along with my Beatle CDs!

RECENTLY, a cousin from Los Angeles remarked rather condescendingly about Manila’s pollution and traffic jams. Luckily I discovered this CNN report; although dated it seemed a perfect retort.

According to the article, traffic jams in the United States are “costing Americans $68 billion each year in wasted time and fuel.”

It goes on to say, “Based on the analysis of 75 U.S. cities, the annual Urban Mobility Report from the Texas Transportation Institute finds the average rush-hour driver -- not just commuters, but all drivers -- wastes about 62 hours in traffic each year. That's not total travel time, that's just the extra time spent going slow or going nowhere because of traffic congestion."

And here’s the stinger, “By several measures, the report found Los Angeles had the worst traffic. The report stated that the average Los Angeles rush-hour driver wasted 136 hours a year in slow or stopped traffic.”


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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:04 AM


Blogger manzkee said...

kausap ko kahapon si bro na bagong dating dyan sa Pinas galing Isarel, bukod sa traffic ang napag-usapan namin eh mainit pa daw. Wow!

December 09, 2005 10:29 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Actually, medyo malamig ang simoy ng hangin ngayon dito sa Metro Manila lalo na sa tuwing umaga, pero hindi nga kasing lamig tulad ng Israel o Amerika. :)

December 09, 2005 10:49 AM  

Blogger Abaniko said...

but that's the worst traffic in the US. that translates into mere 22 minutes daily. if we have that situation in pinas, our commuters will be kissing the grounds for such miracle.

December 09, 2005 6:38 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

HI Niko,

I wasn't so much pitting L.A. traffic against Metro Manila's as L.A. against the whole of America.

But considering America's infrastructure is much better designed and maintained, as well as boasting 4- or even 5-lane expressways, there shouldn't be that much of a build up even on rush hours. But then again, it's mostly the sheer volume of vehicles hitting the roadways at once.

As for Metro Manila, other than building skyways, there isn't much option to alleviate this problem. Unless, of course, we completely do without the jeepneys and FXs, and more on commuter trains and buses.

Just a thought.

December 09, 2005 8:07 PM  

Anonymous milkphish said...

manila traffic isn't as bad as it was before.

what is so unusual is the absence of the noisy car horns. I noticed that it stopped when january 1st of this year hit. i was there last december-january and march of this year.

i enjoy driving in manila . . . maybe because i just enjoy watching the people, listening to the sounds of everyday life . . . maybe because i'm just vacationing and really have nowhere in particular to go to.

i've been stuck in that quezon boulevard traffic numerous times on the way to quiapo to drop off my mom and tita for their discounted shopping sprees . . . i really didn't mind it at all.

fellow drivers are more courteous now. a few years back, i couldn't drive a car that wasn't heavily tinted because the male chauvinist drivers always gave me a hard time . . . it seems that they didn't like women drivers . . . maybe because i stopped at all the red lights and obeyed traffic rules . . .

December 10, 2005 3:09 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

My next door neighbor had her car heavily tinted for similar reason. I agree with you, Milkphish, that Manila driving isn't all that bad; however, for commuters on a public utility vehicle with a set route it can be hellish because of build-ups. Unlike with private cars that are able to take short cuts.

Nonetheless, like you, I enjoy driving around the city -- checking out various neighborhoods, people and all :)

December 10, 2005 6:01 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Tsk,tsk... Senor Enrique. You should not enjoy the sights of the city INSIDE your car but instead you should walk or bike. I thought I knew Manila when I was driving till I discovered that it was the wrong way to discover a city.
If you walk or bike you are actualy a part of the street life. You are not watching anymore but participating! From mere passive spectator you become an actor. Much more fun !
And yes, pawis na pawis walking in the streets! :-)

December 10, 2005 7:10 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Oh, Sidney, you are indeed a wise man. I ought to do as you suggested and start around Ongpin, Quiapo and Sta. Cruz areas. Will do it once the kids are off from school so they can keep me company. I know they'll resent the pawis and regard it as "minus pogi points!" I'll tell 'em, "Blame your Tito Sidney!"

I also plan to take one of Carlos' walking tours after the holidays and bring my camera!

Thanks, Sidney!

December 10, 2005 7:47 AM  

Blogger silentmode_v2 said...

traffic is part of city life. without it, there's nothing to tell stories, take pictures while stuck, or just observing the passengers beside you.

if the travelling distance is short. i prefer walking...even if it is 10km. :)

December 10, 2005 3:02 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

It certainly is, Silentmode. Actually, I noticed most young men prefer traffic jams -- they get to stay longer with their girlfriends even if it's only a jeepney they're on :)

And if you enjoy walking, Manhattan is a city waiting for you, jepaperts! You'll enjoy it over there as well.

December 10, 2005 4:55 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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