Whoever said that traffic in Manila “isn’t fatal” is either a big fucking liar or a big fucking moron.
Scratch that, I’m going to bet on the latter. You need to be a special kind of idiot not to see the situation right in front of you.
Unfortunately, it seems that insane traffic isn’t limited to the rush hours of the morning and evening anymore. It seems to be happening everywhere regardless of the time. Is it the trucks? The fact there are way too many cars? Or could it be we don’t have enough traffic enforcers to keep the naughty, reckless, and impatient drivers (who are fast becoming the symbol of what Filipino roads are like) in check? You know what, you tell me. It’s starting to look like whatever the new “solutions” the powers-that-be come up with to deal with this, we end up actually making it worse.
My family and I left for the airport at around 10:00 in the morning. My auntie, who finally came home after spending 5 years continuously abroad, had a flight for Vancouver, Canada at 3:00 in the afternoon, while my dad’s flight for Muscat, Oman was at 7:00 in the evening. Usually, we don’t encounter heavy traffic around this time when going to the airport, because hey, it’s 10 in the morning! Rush hour should be over, yeah? We should be there with at least 3 hours and a half to spare! So imagine my surprise when after leaving Katipunan going to C-5, we encountered this mass of private cars and trucks, and no, they were NOT moving.
Long story short: it was insane. And nerve-wrecking. Imagine being stuck in traffic while chasing a set time. WHO WOULDN’T DRIVE THEMSELVES CRAZY?!
We got to the airport with less than two hours to spare for her flight, which, for me, wasn’t timely at all. I usually prefer to be at the airport at least four hours ahead of time, so that I can simply relax and not worry about anything before boarding. After dropping my dad off at another airport at 3:00, we started our journey home, which actually proved to be even worse voyage.
I spent four hours stuck in heavy, not-moving traffic. My uncle tried to look for other ways to get out of that shithole by going to other routes, only to encounter traffic after traffic after traffic. In those four hours, I had to watch lines of cars and trucks spew gray-to-black carbon monoxide; I had to watch street after street filled with heaps of rotting trash, indifference on the people’s faces as they walked past them; I had to watch people stand and wait as filled buses and jeepneys drive past them, knowing each of them was hoping that the next one would have a free spot so they can finally go home and get ready for the same routine the next day.
And it made me realize: what a miserable situation we live in.
I am lucky because I work at home. Heck, it can’t even be called work because it’s more of a hobby and I earn money from it. I don’t need to commute and experience this horror everyday, but millions of other people are not as lucky. I feel for them. I feel tired for them. Having to experience all of this – the traffic, the dirty streets, the fact there are no other viable public transportation… it made me so sad. And it made me angry – angry at the fact that it has been this way for so many years – since before this administration, and the administration before that – and yet nothing has changed. And I feel so angry at the likelihood that ten years from now, the same people will be experiencing the same thing, only that things have gotten worse.
Take note, I’m talking about all of this and haven’t mentioned what would happen if there were heavy rains. I can’t even imagine this anymore, and yet, it’s a reality for so many of us.
But I do have a question: what is happening? What happened? Why is this particular aspect of Metro Manila getting worse? What can we do to solve it? Thinking about it, we need a long-term solution for this, because short, “instant” solutions will not help anyone, lest of all the future generations. Have we invested in better public transportation yet? Is something even being done about this, or are government officials like that moron who said our traffic “isn’t fatal” turning a blind eye to this and pretending it’s not a problem?
And before anyone comes up to me, asking, “AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR THIS COUNTRY?” like a holier-than-thou asshole, save your words because as a citizen of this country, I have the right to talk about my frustrations and write down my thoughts. Comments assuring me that things are being done though would be appreciated, from those who are in the government and have an inkling on what’s going on behind the scenes that people are not aware of. Until then, utter sadness.
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