I’ve been commuting for the past 4 years. By commuting, I mean riding a public transport to one’s destination, and I’ve been to countless places in the metro without the luxury of a private vehicle. Those four years and counting led me to a number of generalizations, albeit hasty in nature, about various noticeable things in commuting in the Philippines. The below items are not absolute truths, but at least in my universe, they are. Read at your own risk. 🙂
Cavitenos are really revolutionary.
Cavite isn’t the birthplace of Philippine revolution for nothing. Everyday, commuters here have to push (and I mean, PUSH) one another just to get in a bus. Finding a seat is another story (Women are very aggressive in getting bus seats, IMO). You can’t blame us, though. We have to because (1) Manila-bound buses in this part of PI are obviously not enough to accomodate thousands of commuters traveling everyday to work or study; and (2) Cavite traffic is hell on earth, so we need to get pass through it ASAP. Having said that, let me move on to the next.
The worst commuting experience one can have is an LRT1 ride. Cavite trip places second.
The Monumento – UN Station ride I took when I applied for an NBI clearance was the worst I ever experienced. My face was literally squashed against the train door because people kept entering the train even if it’s OBVIOUSLY full already. That was around lunchtime, so you can just imagine the scenario during rush hour. The next worst thing is a trip from Cavite, regardless of destination. What used to be an hour-and-a-half trip lasts for 3 1/2 hours, thanks to the countless ‘road improvement’ measures along Aguinaldo Highway, the buhos system, and politicians who fill the streets of tarps with their faces, but are apparently not doing anything about this.
GMA7 runs a monopoly on most TV sets in buses.
In MM buses, it’s just radio or GMA7. Period. I have never rode on a MM bus tuned in to another channel, except for this one Cavite bus that had TV5 on its tube (the show was that Willie circus). However, I am guessing that a passenger just accidentally pressed on the TV control buttons, since the TV is usually considered a handrail in jampacked buses. Did GMA7 tapped all these buses to do this? Because it’s habit-forming. (I admit, I am now following this Bea-Jake loveteam from Captain Barbell because of this. Meh. Blame the buses!)
Filipinos love karaoke.
I was in a Manila-bound bus coming from Alabang once, and unlike other buses with TVs hooked on Love ni Mister, Love ni Misis on GMA7, the bus was playing a karaoke VCD. To my surprise, the people inside were singing along with REO Speedwagon, Air Supply, Joe Lamont, and even Aegis, never mind the unconventional karaoke setting they are in. Did I sing along? Hmm. 😛 (OT: As I write this, our neighbor is on a karaoke sesh once again, and it’s 11:43PM.)
Filipinos have little or no regard for personal space. Worst, for intimate space.
When you raise your hands sidewards, the horizontal line your arms form is supposedly the diameter of your personal space. The space from your shoulder to your elbow is the intimate space. That’s for Edward Hall, the father of proxemics. For Filipinos however, that’s extra space to squeeze themselves in in ‘standing’ buses, or a place where they can put down their belongings. Worst, some people think it’s enough space for another person to share (especially when you’re seated). I don’t get it why we Filipinos don’t have a concept of personal space. Was it because we’re left with no choice? Because when someone crosses those imaginary boundaries, normally, one would feel violated. I wonder if most Filipinos don’t.
Commuting in the Philippines in general is very challenging, but the moment you step out of the bus, jeepney, or FX, two thoughts: (1) that ride was worse than my professor/annoying classmate/difficult coworker/boss, and/or (2) that was stressful, but I am better off thinking about my whereabouts today. I guess this is how we commuters get through the pains of going through this everyday.