Big Hair, Big Secrets, Big Dreams
Celine is an architecture graduate currently in the post-graduate-fresh-employee-state.
Self-proclaimed and frustrated:
She has big hair because it's full of secrets.
Pinoy Commuter Bits: 5 Tips to Manila Commute Survival
Moving to the city can be a culture shock for most people, I, on the other hand, have been living in Manila for about five years now and just came to realize that whether you work, study or just live here is an emotional and physical challenge.
As a daily commuter, I have tried all the means to get to work, as I’m sure many of us have and still are. Here are some tips to get by the stressful commute experience:
1. Be Punctual.
As we all know city traffic is crazy, especially here in the Philippines, that is why being punctual will get you a long way, you can never really predict the traffic. Estimate the travel time from your home to your school, or workplace, always set a time-allowance, say, you need to get to work by 8 a.m and you have a 1 and a half hour travel time, don’t leave at exactly 6:30 a.m., consider that there are also other commuters waiting to ride that fx, bus, jeep, or train, try leaving at least 15 minutes early, this will save you from that horrible line at the train station, standing in the bus, and that long wait for an available seat at the fx. Also this will increase your being on time, and avoid experiencing that Manila rush hour.
2. Patience, you’ll need it. A lot.
Hot-headed drivers, rude passengers, reckless pedestrians, the list goes on, and you may not encounter them all at once, but you will in the long run. When I first started commuting, I was really frustrated with this passenger that wouldn’t make way for those going out of the vehicle, and the other one that wouldn’t even hand my fare to the driver, considering that she was the nearest one him, there’s also those pedestrians that would unload wherever and whenever and of course, those noisy drivers, that’ll keep rambling, cursing and honking their horns like it’ll lessen the traffic. Don’t let these ruin your day, breathe in, breathe out, and just bear with it.
3. Always be armed. With umbrellas, rain boots, pepper sprays and ninja skills.
You’ve probably noticed that the weather’s getting more unpredictable, one thing it’s bright and sunny when you go to school or work then later in the afternoon, rain is pouring mad. Always! Always! Bring your umbrella, and if it’s not too much for you, it’s also handy to have a pair of rain boots ready especially those living in flood prone areas and since it’s basic knowledge that flash floods occur here in Manila, who knows when you’ll have to brave those waters. Pepper sprays are also a good investment for female commuters since you’ll can never tell who or what you’ll encounter if you’re going home late but it’s still best to avoid commuting at late hours, and lastly for the ninja skills, yes, ninja skills, we probably know how it goes down at the train station, for those who don’t, it involves a lot of pushing, shoving and getting squished by your fellow commuters, so be physically prepared to make your way inside and out of that train, but don’t cut lines, because that’s rude and irritating.
4. Coins are your friends.
I personally hated coins before, because it makes my wallet so heavy and it’s such a hassle to keep and bring, but now, I cannot live without coins, mainly because drivers will always prefer getting loose change, paying them a huge amount of paper money especially in the morning will just annoy them. Sometimes the driver would even rip you off because they don’t haveenough barya for your change, this usually happens during cab rides.
5. Use your best judgement.
Lastly, think of the best way that’ll get you home to and fro safely, weigh your options, ask yourself, which is the safest way for you when you commute? what is the best time to leave after school or work? is it better to ride the bus or the train? if there are heavy rains, will you risk going out? is there a possibility of being stranded? Is it Friday, will it be difficult to catch a ride home? Never forget that your safety is still the most important thing to consider, don’t put yourself in danger, always be practical and use your best judgement.
Maybe if the government would just put more effort and attention to the transportation problems we have, someday commuting in the Philippines will be a breath of fresh air. I will always be a firm believer that transportation is big factor to achieve progress.
For those who have yet to experience the struggles of the city rush, I hope these tips will help you in the future and make your commuting bearable! Stay safe!