Street experiences and other things

Human being is really a complex creature. Nobody knows what he thinks or what he will do next. Although you can (be like an idiot who) classify people as stupid or intelligent, dumb or wise, and etc.. still, you never know.

I have been here in Manila for more than two weeks now and have been moving around from Manila to QC to Cavite and all over Metro Manila. Moving around is a bit exciting and challenging. Yes, it is 1% exciting and 99% challenging. It challenges my nerves , my patience, temper and my logical brain–memorizing all those u-turn slots with big concrete blocks, the one ways and the street metal railings without lights, signs and blinking lights. Exciting? It is very much like driving in a slalom race. The prize depends on your luck. It might be your life, other peoples’ lives, destruction or being in the mercy of the kotong cops.

In my eyes, the streets of Metro Manila appeared to be big maze. It is chaotic and messy. With too little space, the open road seems to mimic the times of the conquering Spaniards in which you claim any part of the land. A photo finish race to take hold of the open space. Anyone who gets ahead by an inch or half a second, takes hold of the territory. I first, it is mine!

At your left, right, front, rear, and sides, and from wherever, cars, people and whatever, they just pop-out from nowhere. It is like a galactic travel, where one or more asteroids, a wayward comets or stars suddenly appeared heading your way without a warning. On blind corners, there are extra-terrestrial creatures from mars or wherever, suddenly crosses your path, willingly, offering their bodies for a big bang.

But frankly speaking, even if it is as I said it is, I find something interesting in it. How people manage to adapt and learn the skills of living and dealing with it everyday. And that is what I can call chaotic harmony or harmony in chaos.

Fortunately and unfortunately, your galactic vehicle can not go beyond the 40-60 kph speed.

And what do the extra-terrestials do in our streets? Stupid things! (Here I go again.he he)

  • A mother with a two year old toddler crossing the street letting her baby practice her walking skills on a busy road defying the traffic signal.
  • An old woman who can barely walk with her alalay, crossing the street while the traffic light is green for vehicles to move.
  • A man enjoying a walk on a no pedestrians street under the fly-over.
  • People suddenly crossing on the blind curve and unlighted portion of the street.

I just wondered if these people really think or have the brain to analyze the benefits and risks. That reaching their destinations using dangerous short-cuts is worth risking their lives and limbs. Maybe they are just too lazy, too preoccupied with all the political ads, TV shows etc., or simply stupid.

Which leads me to wonder again, are these the people who will elect the candidates for the coming May elections? Too lazy even for their own sake and well being.

So like traversing the hostile roads of metro manila, we the people have a challenging times to get to our destination. The one question is, shall we arrive alive or dead?

13 Responses to “Street experiences and other things”

  1. 1 rhodora May 5, 2007 at 10:16 am

    So you’re here in the country, vacationing!

    “A mother with a two year old toddler crossing the street letting her baby practice her walking skills on a busy road defying the traffic signal.”

    When I see idiot mothers such as the one you described, I can’t help but give them a piece of my mind. These mothers don’t deserve to mother kids at all! One time, I was riding in a jeep, and a mom just let go of her toddler son to move about inside the jeep, without even holding the baby. I could just imagine what would happen to the poor thing if the driver suddenly stepped on the brakes.

  2. 2 Sidney May 5, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    I am a relatively good driver but I refuse to drive in the Philippines! Don’t want to end as a killer !

  3. 3 annamanila May 5, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Manila .. manila .. simply no place like manila. That’s Manikla sound or more specifically hotdogs.

    How long have you been gone? I guess long enough to forget the chaos and the incredible culture of both drivers and pedestrians. Am not also a good pedestrian myself … i expect drivers to slow down while i zig and zag and just gesture with my hands as if to say: “teka muna ha … tatawid muna ako.” Pero sa tutuo that was long ago. I don’t dare cross the streets anymore. hehe

  4. 4 eric aka senor enrique May 6, 2007 at 12:56 am

    Manila driving is not much different from or any worse than in Manhattan, especially with those recalcitrant taxi drivers from foreign lands and those Hasidic drivers who truly believe they are the chosen ones and, therefore, immune from even the most basic traffic regulations. Here in Manila as in NYC, one rule stands for balikbayans or visitors — don’t drive, hire a driver … hehehe.

    As for those mothers, birth control.

    Enjoy your Manila stay. If you have time, join one of Carlos Celdran’s walking tours.


  5. 5 sexy mom May 6, 2007 at 4:05 am

    whoa!!! go to dhaka in bangladesh or karachi in pakistan–and you will see that chaos is many times over. but you are right, there is either chaotic harmony or harmony in chaos (whichever would suit, depending on your mood) in the manila streets.

    same as rhodora, what caught my attention was “A mother with a two year old toddler crossing the street letting her baby practice her walking skills on a busy road defying the traffic signal.”

    and senor enrique–yah, i forgot to practice birth control, but i have produced 7 pleasant creatures (LOL)!

    also, with your remaining days in manila, heed the advice–hire a driver, like what i do (but then again, your life and that of your family will be at his mercy, hu hu hu). don’t we have other choices in this life?

  6. 6 ladybug May 6, 2007 at 8:05 am

    I understand what you mean. My husband gets frustrated when a mom holding a baby or a toddler would suddenly cross the street. It’s as if these people don’t have a care in this world. Grabe!

  7. 7 Jayred May 6, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    Somehow, I’m already used to driving in Manila. But I did have a hard time driving my Dad to Makati Med when I was there late last year. So many one-way and no left-turn signs! I really don’t like driving in Makati…it gets into my nerves!


    Pinoy pedestrians and motorists are not disciplined, in general. Pedestrians do not use pedestrian crossings and motorists do not really give way to people crossing the streets on pedestrian crossings. Kakatakot tumawid sa Metro Manila!

  8. 8 bingskee May 9, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    ha ha naaliw naman ako sa post mo. that’s new to me ha chaotic harmony, or better, harmony in chaos. i guess we are all getting used to what is at hand. for somebody who had been away for quite some time, it is really challenging to the nerves. the first times the traffic schemes were introduced and all that goes with it, they resulted to boiling heads. but we have to deal with it, and how do i put it nicely? he he… we have to live with it. yun. to survive.

    but there is a question that lingers… is this the kind of electorate we have?Too lazy even for their own sake and well being., as you said. bothersome.

  9. 9 verns May 10, 2007 at 11:11 am

    “Which leads me to wonder again, are these the people who will elect the candidates for the coming May elections?”


    Hey you’re here….oh well despite everything I hope you’ll have time to enjoy your visit here 🙂

  10. 10 ipanema May 10, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    With all the observations, one can just scratch one’s head wondering how people survive wih organised chaos around them. Uniquely Manila. 🙂

    Take Eric’s advice: hire a driver. I usually end up sleeping all the way to destination and back. 🙂

    Enjoy your holidays.

  11. 11 pinay von alemanya May 10, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    hey, one of those few sites with clear statement. like it.


  12. 12 congresswoman May 12, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    ang boto mo ha! 😛

    Happy Mother’s Day kay Mrs 😉

  13. 13 bw May 18, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    A great post ! You have dissected the issue to the bone indeed. The idea of driving being a previlege and not a right becomes and oxymoron when you don’t have rules being complied with to govern such previlege. Driving was never meant to be “informal” as if to say it’s OK as long as I make sure I don’t bump somebody 🙂 Safety measures have defined rules.

    Here’s one thing that scares me – DUI – Driving Under the Influence. Having driven in Manila in my younger years drunk to my teeth, sometimes all the way to Antipolo, I have come to realize how stupid I was but then the law didn’t really give a hoot if I was driving half awake and risking my life, my passengers and the pedestrians likewise 😦 Is this still the case today or has DIU been criminalized ?

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