I’m not usually one to write about these topics, but I guess it’s a whole different thing when you hear or read about it, and when it actually happens to you. Now, I’m not writing this to spite anyone. I just wanted to write about it to give a preview of Manila traffic and how our system seems to work—and what we can do as individuals.
Case in point, this morning on my way to work where my dad drove for me, we were heading southbound near Araneta, Cubao—we were on the right-most lane when suddenly, a motorcycle cut us off fast from the left and we tried to avoid it but we hit them still. The bump was light and the damage was just a scratch on the right backside of their motorcycle. It had two passengers, both of whom happened to be police officers—one male and one female. The male, who was the driver, suddenly got defensive and had the nerve to demand for my dad’s license—and for what? To admit to something that wasn’t even our fault?
The thing about Manila traffic is that motorcycles have a tendency to think they own the road, just because they can slither their way through small spaces. Many of them have the guts to drive however they want, especially in cutting other cars, because they know they can. But when they do get hit, all of a sudden you look like the bad guy. Same goes for jeepney drivers who drive so arrogantly but when it comes to them hitting your vehicle, they suddenly become so nice and piteous because they have no money to pay for the damages. Don’t even get me started on buses!
It’s a sad reality and it really does reflect the kind of system we’re living in.
My theory is that the officer who hit us had a mentality that he could drive the way he could, precisely because he was authority and could easily get away with it. It’s a crappy mentality, and I find it so frustrating that people like us have to endure it.
We all know how bad the traffic can get in Manila, especially during the holiday season. EDSA is an insane place to be during rush hours, and I have to go through it twice a day from Quezon City to Makati and back. It takes a great deal of patience, but it’s not something that I allow myself to get hotheaded over. When I’m driving and I know I have to go through the outrageous bumper-to-bumper movement, I prepare for it. I make playlists that keep me in a light mood or I tune in to the Bad Boys of Magic, who all never fail to make me laugh. (Hi, Papi Sam YG. I’m a huge fan.)
Motorcycles, buses, and jeeps—while they may get on our nerves a lot (the way they think they’re the kings of the road and can cut just anyone, or the way they stop in the most inconvenient places to take in a passenger) at the end if you think about it we’re all just trying to get to where we need to be, and us who have the luxury to be in our private cars, should know better and choose to act like the fortunate people that we are, refusing to patronize on others. Of course, being ignorant doesn’t excuse those irritating drivers to lack discipline and proper driving etiquette. But complaining about it won’t get us anywhere and what this society needs is a lot less bark, and a lot more bite. Instead of pointing fingers and blaming people, which is useless, it’s better to take responsibility by starting that discipline within us—as cliché and as cheesy as that sounds.
There’s always a way to avoid being a Grinch on the road. It doesn’t hurt to be kind to people, but we should know when to draw the line and not let others walk all over us just because they think they can. Tolerating this kind of injustice won’t do just us any good—it affects those ignorant drivers as well, who’s caught in this web of corruption just as much as we are. We have the power to act and use our voices and make changes—good changes, no matter how small or insignificant these changes may seem. Because it’s these little things that will make the difference, and if you combine these minute acts all together, maybe one day these little things can actually do something about the madness that is Metro Manila traffic.
Well, that among other things.