If there’s one thing I can be proud in my time as a working girl, I can confidently state that I’m an expert now in commuting within Metro Manila. Can’t say if it’s something to be proud about, though. Commuting in Metro Manila is increasingly becoming a source of stress more so than the actual day job itself.
Anyway, I’ve experienced working in Ortigas, Makati and Bonifacio Global City in the past few years. If you’re like me who lives on the backwater part of the Manila East (Marikina, Antipolo, San Mateo, etc.), commuting to these three business districts every day, five days a week, is an instant recipe to becoming an “urban zombie” (def. a professional saturated so much to the city life that he/she appears to be alive but is actually dying inside)
Let me tell you straight on that I’m not a fan of the MRT (I mean, technically, who isn’t?) Enter long queues, delayed trains, broken-down trains and the cramped, invading-your-personal-space-and-you-can’t-do-anything-about-it rush hour scenario. Just imagining about it stresses me out and I’d sooner become an urban zombie in that first two years of urban commuting. No, I’d rather prefer the comfort and convenience of the so-called Colorums (Uber, Grab and UV Express) than face the daily horror of riding our so-called “safe”, “efficiently-regulated” trains, buses, jeepneys and taxis.
I mean, it makes sense for people to choose this alternative mode of transportation, especially if you are clocking in 9 hours a day, five days a week, with occasional overtimes. In social media, we are bombarded by the importance of work-life balance, but when you’re working in Manila, it’s more of a work-traffic-life balance. You don’t need any more stress as to how to get from Point A to Point B. We want to make the most of our day for ourselves, the quality time we ought to spend with our loved ones, those productive, stimulating activities that bring us little joy despite the monotonous routine.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m for the regulation of colorums, and I can appreciate what LTFRB is doing to some extent. Traffic in the Metro is way getting out of hand and the next logical step is easing the volume of vehicles on the road. Still, if mass transportation is nowhere efficient as it should be, you can’t blame people from taking their cars to work or organizing a car pool service or riding the UV Express vans.
Duterte admin has this grand vision of building infrastructure to ease traffic and upgrade the trains. I, like most of the commuters, have high hopes for it. We understand that this particular solution takes a long amount of time but until then, we can only make best of what we have.