Tuesday, March 11, 2008


This was the scene at Plaza Lawton in front of the Manila City Hall at around 9:30 this morning. I was surprised to have found this area with what appeared to be its usual number of jeepneys and buses. There was supposed to be a nationwide transport strike, the intention of which was to paralyze the entire country.

According to ABS-CBN Online Interactive
news report, "Hundreds of thousands were stranded Tuesday morning by the strike called by major transport groups in the Philippines to protest multiple ticketing of traffic rules violations by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and local governments. They also protested the non-stop rise in oil prices."

I purposely drove around the Manila area early today to see for myself what Manila's major transport strike would be like; that is, as compared to the subway strike of New York City, which practically brought the Big Apple down to its knees.

Surprisingly, in the areas I went to this morning, I didn't find stranded commuters in droves. What I saw instead was horrendous traffic, especially along Quezon Boulevard -- from the Welcome Rotonda at the Quezon City-Manila border to the end of España. There was also heavy traffic all along Juan Luna Street in Binondo.

These congestions may be due to the many private vehicles that hit the road since the color code scheme was lifted in anticipation of this transport strike.

And although the strike was eventually called off (the specific time I don't know), I saw many jeeps and buses that plied the usual routes of Manila from the morning until noon; afterwards, many more jeepneys and buses started appearing on the streets.

Nonetheless, I'm certain there were many folks from other parts of Metro Manila who were greatly inconvenienced by this transport strike. However, for many students in Manila's university belt area, the cancellation of their classes late in the morning was a welcomed respite. The unexpected day off from school gave them a chance to enjoy the rest of the day by gallivanting around the city, as well as hitting those air-conditioned malls -- a preview to the upcoming summer vacation lurking around the corner.

One of the vehicles provided by the City of Manila to provide free rides to commuters.

A vehicle provided by the Department of Public Works and Highways for the same purpose.

One of the vehicles provided by the Philippine National Police and driven by a police officer for the benefit of stranded commuters.

One of the 30 tourist buses provided by the government agency Land Transportation Office (LTO) to provide free rides to commuters.

Rizal Avenue and Claro M. Recto Avenue (formerly Azcarraga) with the usual number of jeepneys.

Claro M. Recto Avenue and Morayta (now Nicanor Reyes) also with regular jeepney and taxi service.

Quezon Boulevard (both south- and north-bound lanes) was the only major thoroughfare in Manila that showed very few than usual jeepneys and buses.

Tricycles and pedicabs were all over the city this morning, especially on this corner of Rizal Avenue and Claro M. Recto Avenue. They are prohibited from plying the major roadways and avenues of Manila; today might have been an exception.

Plaza Cervantes in front of Binondo Church may have seemed laid back as always, but only a block away, the entire stretch of Juan Luna Street was filled with congested traffic and irate motorists.


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:25 PM


Blogger Photo Cache said...

enjoy your street scenes very much. i guess a lot of the drivers did not get the memo that they were to be on strike.

March 12, 2008 2:59 AM  

Blogger Amadeo said...


Re-adjusting an old saw: I drive around so you don't have to.

These shots and the previous ones help to re-acquaint me personally with streets and areas I used to frequent during earlier times.

Thus, at the moment I find no urge or need to drive around them again.

A good preview of jeepney-less streets. Orderly and no jams.

March 12, 2008 4:31 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever lofty purpose the transport strike was for, there are families of would-be-strikers who need to eat and now. Can't blame these drivers for not participating.....can anybody?

March 12, 2008 4:48 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

talagang photojournalist ka na ah... hehe. congrats nga pala for being the picture of the week on Picture Perfect this week... really loved the 'reflections' on that pic... :)

March 12, 2008 6:00 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many of these drivers live on a day-to-day basis, Photo Cache; hence, their families won't eat if they didn't go out to work.

The police was also vigilant in protecting these drivers from strikers who were forcing them to join the strike.

Many thanks!

March 12, 2008 6:29 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

From Luneta or Manila Hotel heading north, Amadeo, the roadway leading to Plaza Lawton is almost always snarled in traffic caused by overabundance of jeepneys.

We really need serious urban planning to solve our mass transportation needs.

March 12, 2008 6:36 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That is right, BertN. Missing a single day's work for many of these drivers means no food for their families.

But as I've mentioned, the police presence prevented violent attacks on these drivers who refused to join the strike.

March 12, 2008 6:39 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I was in such a rush to leave the house that morning that I forgot to get a copy of Manila Bulletin which I usually do, especially on Tuesday mornings because of its Picture Perfect supplement, Lino. Thank God a photography buddy texted to congratulate me in the afternoon about it. Was glad to still find a copy in a Quiapo newsstand :)

Many thanks, Lino! I will post a separate post on it. Hope my readers won't mind such shameless promotion ... hehehe.

March 12, 2008 6:43 AM  

Blogger Ebb Tide said...

What a nice ending to your post about jeepney strike! In the midst of this confusion, it's refreshing to see Binondo church and kalesa.

March 12, 2008 7:58 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks, Ebb Tide :)

March 12, 2008 8:27 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

You're my alternative internet newspaper! The mainstream media reported that there were thousands of irate and stranded commuters because of the massive transport strike. But why didn't they cover the most obvious congested areas of metro manila? Buking na they were only in Quezon city...;-)

March 12, 2008 8:42 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

This may be the reason why traditional media's contempt for bloggers has been mounting as of late, Bernadette.

It is no longer that easy for them to sensationalize the news as it happens nor conveniently manipulate the image they've chosen to accompany it.

And this is also the reason why to date, I've chosen not to install Photoshop in my laptop.

March 12, 2008 8:55 AM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

The jeepneys plying the C5 route went on strike. Commuters along that highway could only turn to taxis for their transport. Fortunately, there are a lot of taxi drivers living in that area. Even the cops and soldiers who part-time as drivers contributed.

March 18, 2008 4:59 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Commuters along C5 could have used those "Libreng Sakay" vehicles provided by various government agencies, Dave.

March 19, 2008 6:53 AM  

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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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