I was once told that if I could get through Manila traffic, I would basically get through other obstacles in life.
I initially took that advice as a joke.
Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue, more popularly known as EDSA, is considered one of the major highways in Metro Manila. Most of the activities during the People Power Revolution in the Philippines happened there in 1986, and now the monument — a paragon of hope, freedom and unity, stands particularly along the highway.
Everyday, I brave EDSA on my way to work as if I have my own revolution. And I never thought that after 4 years of flying to and from the metro, I’m also doing the same commuting discipline being a wanderlust in life.
This post will not be a foolproof guide about life, or realizations after the EDSA revolution, but will give you tips on commuting in Manila (particularly in EDSA) so you won’t end up looking like Linda Blair in The Exorcist when you arrive at your destination. Here are five:
1. Travel light. Avoid bringing valuables when commuting. Don’t be a walking billboard for pickpockets by not showing your gadgets in public. As much as possible, avoid wearing expensive jewelry. People do not expect to see Lady Gaga taking the train during the rush hour, anyway.
2. If you’re traveling from outside of Manila and you have an appointment at 10 AM, make sure to leave the house before 6:30 AM. This tip applies to people who live two hours away from the metro. Commuters who aim for Makati CBD usually flock the terminals and waiting sheds at 7AM, and you wouldn’t want to worry if you’ll make it or not, right?
3. If you need to take a cab, go for the company-owned/operated taxis. They are usually painted yellow, green, red or blue, safer from the typical taxis that you see along EDSA. Also make sure that someone knows the cab you’re in by texting the name, plate and body number. Better be safe.
4. The city train line is your Northern Star. This tip applies to most cities in SEA, too! If you feel like you’re lost, always look for the nearest line and you could practically go anywhere. Plus it’s safer and faster to travel from the LRT and MRT. Shopping malls are good landmarks as well. You just need an ounce of patience especially during peak hours.
5. If you’re an EDSA traffic neophyte, put on an extra swagger. Pretend that you know where you’re going. Walk fast. And if you think you’re really lost, don’t just ask directions from anyone. You might want to approach the traffic police.
So there, some simple tips I’d like to share to you. This post was written during my MRT ride a few days ago. I hope this helps!