Manila is a beautiful city. A beautiful city that occasionally goes on lockdown with traffic that grips it in its entirety. With a big population and a barrage of public and private vehicles, commuting is a part of life, a valuable skill, and sometimes a necessity. From cabs and buses to tricycles and jeeps, we all have to use public transportation at one time or another. It’s also a great chance to observe and interact with our fellow Filipinos.
So do you know what type of commuter you are?
This commuter values convenience over everything. The greatest moment in this person’s life is the arrival of GrabTaxi, the second greatest is Uber. They’re practiced at telling less-savy cab-takers that they’re not stealing this cab, they actually ordered it online. They probably also have the PasaHero app on their phone.
For commuters who live in far-flung areas and work in the other side of the metro, leaving at the crack of dawn is just a fact of life. Maybe they can’t afford to move nearer to the office or they’ve come to embrace the long commute. You can typically see them asleep in the shuttle or bus early in the morning. They have memorized the best routes for morning and night, and know exactly what time they have to leave to avoid traffic. You can spot them easily; they’re in the first ones in the office and leave on the dot everyday.
Perpetually late and perpetually rushing, these commuters just look haggard. They’re putting on make-up in the FX, running after the bus, eating breakfast on the jeep, or rummaging in their bags looking for fare money (hopefully they didn’t leave their wallet at home). They get to the office sweaty and take a shower the moment they get home.
Maybe they’re going somewhere new or trying out a route for the first time; whatever the reason they’re super fixated on their map app. It could be Waze to help them direct their cab through a better route, or they just want to make sure they’re not lost. They most probably will get lost if they don’t look up from their phone.
Armed with a phone plan and a willing boyfriend/friend, this person talks through the entire trip with a voice that reverberates around the entire vehicle. By the end of the trip, you pretty much know their life story.
Whether they’re selling faith, peanuts, or charity, these people have the loudest voices in the vehicle. Equipped with either charm or earnestness, they are able to part at least a few of the passengers from their money.
Once in a Blue Moon
You can sometimes see these unicorns confused and asking other passengers what the minimum fare is, or wandering with a lost look at MRT stations. Circumstances have forced them to commute because their cars are coding or they’re late for something. Voted most likely to get pick-pocketed.