The Hellish Traffic of Manila
…making life in the city equally hellish!
By Apolinario Villalobos
Manila is no longer a dream city that it used to be…and the culprit is its hellish traffic! Whether the season is summer or rainy months, the unpleasant experience of traveling around the city can get into one’s nerve. Distance is no longer what one reckons when going to his destination, but the heavy traffic and the ongoing road projects. Doubling the allocated travel time has become the norm, so that one shall not miss an appointment.
What makes the situation worse is the unreliability of the dilapidated mass transit systems – the LRT and the MRT. These poor man’s transport systems have in many instances jeopardized the safety of commuters by abruptly getting stalled kilometers away from stations. The commuters had to get off the train and gingerly walk on the railway planks. On the other hand, evil-minded taxi drivers dupe passengers by offering their contracted service instead of using the meter.
With the onset of the rainy season, commuting students and office workers can be lucky if they make it home before midnight. During heavy downpour, they either patiently stand under awnings the whole night or wade through knee-deep flood all the way home.
The weather bureau no longer issues warning on the oncoming typhoons alone, but also on expected heavy downpour that could cause floods all over the metro in minutes. And, because of the clogged drainage system of practically the whole metro Manila and its suburbs, even exclusive subdivisions, to date, are also suffering from inundations.
Those in the provinces are therefore advised not to spend hard-earned money for fares to Manila if their intention is to shop or enjoy the sights in the city. First of all, major provincial capitals all over the Philippines have malls that equal the “grandness” of malls in Manila. Secondly, there is not much to see in Manila other than the historical sites that are still waiting to be rehabilitated. There are theme parks alright, but are not really that impressive. Lastly, it is best to check the internet for better destinations around the country where hard-earned money can be wisely spent.
If there is one word that can describe Manila, it is “decrepit” emphasized by stinking esteros, uncollected garbage, and of course, the hellish traffic. The mushrooming of towering structures cannot camouflage its real state. What foreign tourists who made the mistake of including Manila in their list of Asian destinations, can do, is spend precious time in casinos, rather than gulp the polluted air of the city while stuck in the traffic, especially during the rainy months. Their best option, however, is getting on flights for provincial destinations to see the real Philippines, making Manila just a transit point in their journey.
If one may ask who are to be blamed for all those. The answer as always, are the corrupt government officials who obviously allow the construction of worthless roads that cannot even stand light rains, hence, get pockmarked with holes in just less than a year. The poor quality of projects give them reason for regular repairs that call for regular release of budgets…and what else follow, but fat commissions! Worst, even freshly asphalted roads get peeled so that they can be overlaid with concrete, that of course, are expected to crack in just less than a year, too, because of their poor quality!
So, that’s the Manila today…