manila traffic survival guide

Manila Traffic: A 6-Step Survival Guide

For as long as I can remember, traffic congestions have always been part and parcel of life in Manila. Everyone has their ideas of what can be done to alleviate this problem, but unfortunately, the solution of our traffic dilemma requires a team effort from every single road user in the metro. Until we can get all the obnoxious drivers, who treat the roads as their personal playground, the disappearance of citywide traffic will remain a dream more than a reality. The best we can do for now is adjust our schedules accordingly and adapt to the stressful ordeal with some of the suggestions listed in this 6-step survival guide to Manila traffic.

1Put on a playlist of all the hottest bangers.

head banger

The rush-hour Manila traffic will make you want to bang your head on the wheel, so you might as well put on a head-banging playlist to complete the experience. There is no better way to deal with a three-hour long traffic jam than to unleash your frustration through the power of your vocal chords rocking out to your favorite tunes in your mini concert.

2Update your socials.

i made this for you

While Instagram remains a focal point around which much of our social media lives revolve, the stagnant environment of an 8 a.m. traffic jam probably isn’t the place to capture artsy shots that will propel you to #instafame. It is, however, the perfect setting to engage in Snapchat and vent your frustration at your phone’s front camera. If social media rants are not your thing, you can always record your sold-out concert (see step 1), snap a shot of your favorite half-naked matinee idol (see step 3), or record a prayer for all your fellow office workers stuck in Manila traffic. Plus, thank goodness for the feeling of solidarity you get in watching 10-second clips of other people experiencing the same mid-traffic crisis that you’re dealing with. Just don’t lose it if they finally reach their destination and suddenly your car-mageddon chronicles become the least of their worries.

3Billboards Top 124376598

manila traffic hello old friend

That’s an estimate of how many billboards there are along the highways of Manila. Forgot to download that playlist and your phone battery is dying? Fear not, because there are thousands of ads to be read while in traffic and hundreds more taut and toned bodies to gawk at (have you seen that ad of Derek Ramsay and Anne Curtis along EDSA?) along the highway. Go old school and read those billboards like how you read the back of a shampoo bottle while you’re on the throne, long before smartphones and tablets were invented.

4Let your mind run wild, young padawan!

we belong to nobody

There is no better time to ponder on the real meaning of life than in the middle of a noisy traffic jam, for real! If you are a true-blue commuter, the cacophony of angry honks has probably become nothing more than white noise to you as you have learned to tune out all that aural rubbish over the years. Get in touch with your inner Socrates and philosophize with your carpool crew about the likelihood of a parallel universe, preferably one that has never heard of Manila traffic. And if you are not the designated driver, read beyond 140 characters by having opening a real book. Enjoy a pleasant stream of thoughts, and who knows, your imagination and ideas might just produce something worthy of a presentation at the next boardroom meeting!

55. Have a tea party!

I may sound a bit like the Mad Hatter right now, but the idea isn’t completely bonkers. Go one step ahead of packing the usual chips and bottles of water for a journey, and get a bag of hot pandesal as well as a flask of coffee or tea from home. You’re all set for a less MSG-filled snack break in the car. If you’re the type who regularly buys donuts by the dozen, it would be wise to invest in at least one box of tissues and perhaps a small stack of paper plates to keep in the car. You’re all set to satisfy your cravings during rush hours of Manila traffic.

6Groove the blues away with a dancing traffic enforcer.

If you’re fortunate enough to spot a dancing traffic enforcer while you’re on the road, then you’re in for a show. Bring out your camera phones because their snazzy routines make the perfect additions to your Snapchat story. If the traffic is as stagnant as a midsummer puddle, then by all means, get out of your “whip” and let them watch you nae-nae! Yaaasss, work it all the way!

With all these tips and suggestions in mind, hopefully, the experience of being caught in a traffic jam becomes even the slightest bit more tolerable for you. Share your worst traffic experiences in the comment section below and feel free to give your own suggestions as to how to survive the dreaded Manila traffic. Have a Philihappy day, guys!

surviving manila traffic

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I'm Basil, a UK-based university student in the final year of my degree course in International Relations and History. I love writing, traveling, socializing, meeting new peop...
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