[August 4, 2008]

How I survived Last Thursday’s Traffic Nightmare
NOTE: Paragraphs in italics like this is me talking to myself

ANOTHER NOTE:  Travel time from Southwoods to Manila is 40 minutes
 
I received the call at around 3:00pm, Thursday. I have to be at SSCGI at 8:00am the next day.  It has been raining since morning on that fateful day.  If I hadn’t received that call for the interview, I would’ve cooked Sinigang sa miso. Everyone just loves the taste of a hot piping soup on a very wet evening. But the call came and it was for a Systems Analyst position and if you’re familiar with my industry, it’s just one of those calls that you’ll really have to take. The sinigang would have to wait.
 
The rains have been falling indefinitely the past few days before that call. I was thinking, instead that I wake up very early the next day to anticipate the traffic, I just spend the night at Vito Cruz, have a good night sleep and wake up not so early on Friday. So there I was, at a quarter past five after the rains has stopped I drove myself to Manila for my good night sleep to prep myself for the interview.
 
WRONG FUCKING MOVE! The drive from Southwoods exit was normal I thought, traffic was moderate and I thought it was because of the construction to widen the SLEX…
 
There was this sign that has bothering me for months now.  It goes like ‘sorry for the inconvenience blah, blah shit.’ Now, we still pay 73PHP from Southwood to Nichols exit and that was when the state of the SLEX was in dire need of rehabilitation. That was then and that is what we still pay now that it is being rehabilitated, widened etc. Indulge me on this: since the SLEX is being widened and we cannot make full use of the SLEX because detours abound everywhere to pave for the widening, are we getting our money’s worth?
 
I know there’s a sign that says ‘bear with us as we try to serve you better,’ but then again, after the SLEX is rehabilitated, they will be increasing the toll fees. All for the reason that it is now a better expressway and they have to get their return of investment, right?  Think of it this way, if you’ll go to, let’s say McDonald’s and you buy yourself a double cheeseburger and they serve you with just a single burger patty and you got the manager telling you, ‘sorry for the single patty but the supplies got delayed, promise we’re trying to serve to better, just bear with us this one time.’ What would your reaction be?
 
What am I driving at? Keep that McDonald’s drive-thru in mind and the SLEX, We are being served by SLEX management a single burger patty for the price of a double cheeseburger. Is it not but fair that in the course of the widening of the SLEX, they slash toll fees, of let’s say, at least half. Then they just collect the normal toll rates or adjusted rates after the SLEX is completed. I see many people whining that they didn’t get their money’s worth with some commodities they bought or even arguing that some items they would want to buy are overpriced. Can’t we as consumers apply that same rule with the SLEX?
 
…continuing that wrong fucking move, the traffic after Alabang exit was light, it was not until Sucat exit that traffic is sometimes in a standstill. Again, I thought it was due to the ramp going to Skyway and I know traffic will be a whole lot lighter once I pass that chokepoint.  WRONG AGAIN! After Bicutan exit was a nightmare to any driver. After that 1 ½ hour drive from Southwoods to Bicutan, I was the victim of a ’two-hour –snail pace’ from Bicutan up to the off ramp to C-5. I was at the leftmost lane and this is the point when almost every driver got out of their vehicles to stretch.
 
All vehicles, mine included that’s on the way to Nichols exit were stuck. I heard a couple of truck drivers saying that Espana was flooded. And then I began to think at first that it’s impossible that a flooded street so many kilometers away could be the cause of the traffic jam. But then again, with the sorry state of the Philippines especially our state in governance, it is possible that Espana is the real reason for the traffic jam…
 
Damn the MMDA, which is one prime example of ignorance in governance, of course besides the executive branch of government. I think most of us would agree that those U-turn slots are but a highway for stupidity. With streets as narrow as the streets in Manila with the exception of EDSA, Commonwealth and the like, whoever thought of those U-turn slots is the king of stupidity, stupid enough, err, more than enough to think that he will be elected in 2010 by plastering his face all over EDSA, if ever there would be a transition of power on that year anyway.
 
Picture a ‘U-turn to stupidity slot.’ Picture the jeepney drivers who want to fetch those waiting for a ride at the opposite side of the ‘U-turn to stupidity slot.’ Now what do you have? Chaos and anarchy. I know if you’re reading this, you’re not one of those ignoramuses not to know that those U-turn slots should be ‘un-U-turned’ the soonest possible time. There’s a song I’ll paraphrase, ’Fernando, oh Fernando, and tanga, tanga mo.
 
…continuing the possibility that Espana is the reason for the jam. There’s this car who asked a truck driver if he could move his truck little so that he could squeeze his car and get onto the C-5 ramp. I followed suit. I made a 180-degree turn, going against the flow of traffic and there I was on the C-5 ramp, fist raised, shouting, ‘yahoo! Yahoo!’ I made my way thru the The Fort onto the Buendia fly-over. And just as everything was going smoothly, disaster again struck and I was again stuck, this time at the intersection of Buendia-Ayala. Another hour has passed, I decided I maneuver myself to Ayala ave. and make my way to EDSA straight to Roxas blvd.
 
NICE MOVE! Though there were ‘pocket traffic-standstills,’ I finally arrived at Vito Cruz. After that five-hour traffic marathon, I have no energy left to curse; I slept without taking a much-needed shower. If you were in my place, how could you? I could’ve made my way to Baguio, had coffee and checked myself in a modest hotel with that damn travel time.
 
That Friday morning, I had no plans of driving myself to the interview, and as it turns out, according to the cab-driver Buendia was heavily flooded that night and it wasn’t until 1:00am when the floodwaters subsided. All those detours I made really mattered and what a relief, I said to myself.
 
Now that monstrous traffic ordeal got me thinking, it’s either I bought myself a helicopter or a motorcycle to avoid another gargantuan traffic mess. I already have a Mio, but motorcycles below 400cc aren’t allowed to use the expressways. I sure can’t save up for a helicopter. So I have no choice. I’m getting myself a Ducati Monster. Because after the rain really comes the sun and with it the rainbow AND the pot of gold.
 
I GOT THE JOB!