Ellen Tordesillas

How to keep your sanity when stuck in Metro Manila traffic

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Surviving traffic in Metro Manila is a test of patience, an exercise in anger management.


Here are some tips I’d like to share with my fellow sufferers:

1. Text and call.

It’s the time to send text messages or make calls that you should have done earlier but were not able to do because you were attending to some other things.

After an hour,you would have accomplished a lot. Time not wasted.

2. Count your blessings. Think of worse situations that you and your friends had been in and survived.

Last July 4, my colleagues in VERA Files treated Mikha Flores, who covered Comelec for us last election and was joining Businessworld.

I left Las Pinas before 5 p.m. and got to Baclaran about 6 p.m. I took a taxi hoping to be at Greenhills, where we were treating Mikha, in an hour.

That was not to be so because from EDSA Magallanes, vehicles were crawling. It took me more than two hours to travel the estimated eight- kilometer distance.

During that agonizing trip, I told myself, the perwisyo that I was going through was nothing compared to the ordeal experienced by my friend, Angie Miranda, Fitness First personal trainer, last June 13, when thousands got stranded after a heavy downpour turned Metro Manila streets into a lake.

From MOA, it took Angie more than one hour to get to the Laguna bus terminal in Pasay, a distance that would usually take about 20 minutes on a normal day with a flowing traffic. At the terminal, Angie said there was a long queue for the buses that were not coming, probably stuck in the traffic.

Angie said she was able to board in the fourth bus. She was standing all the way to Laguna throughout the trip that took almost two hours.

I had no reason to complain, I told myself in the middle of the gridlock. I’m in an air-conditioned taxi, getting the day’s news via TV Patrol, with the taxi driver giving his pro-US views on the plan of the government to allow access to American troops to the country’s military facilities.

3. Pray the rosary.

By the time I completed the whole Sorrowful Mystery, traffic after Guadalupe somewhat eased up. I don’t know if it was God’s answer to my prayers. I got to Greenhills past 8 pm. Dinner was good.

If you have your own tips on surviving Metro Manila traffic, please share.

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