The road home

A five-minute walk to the tricycle. About five more minutes of waiting till the trike is bursting with six individuals. I get dropped off at the barangay entrance, and walk towards the bus/fx/jeepney stop. If I’m lucky, I can catch an FX to Ortigas or Ayala. But to avoid being late for work, I take the bus to Ortigas. That takes about forty minutes to an hour. Then there’s the walk along the “fresh and clean” road of EDSA. It takes about ten minutes till I reach the train station. I take the second train to arrive since the first is too full with people. In twenty minutes, I’m by my office’s street. The final trip is the most relaxing of all: a short jeep ride to our building. Repeat all this in reverse to go back home.

Philippine transportation is always an adventure. You get exposed to all the elements: air (pollution), water (especially during rainy season, but most of the time, it’s people’s sweat), fire (the blazing heat in the morning or afternoon), and earth (Metro Manila is also a concrete jungle).

Common sense—it’s a concept commuting Filipinos have no grasp of. If we did, then we’d have more organized lines and a sense of etiquette when getting into vehicles. Here are some helpful suggestions that could help each Filipino in making the trip to work and back easier for themselves and everyone else.

1. You cannot occupy an unoccupied space- No, this does not apply to the jeepney siksikan rule (read: fill up the entire jeep before it leaves). This simple and easy-to-understand fact of science is applied when people walk into the train during rush hour. Filipino insist on pushing into the train even if the door isn’t open. Yelling at them that Top that with the fact the passengers from inside haven’t even gotten out yet. Despite the announce saying “padaan muna ang lumalabas,” the bitchiest and shortest women and smelliest men manage to push forward without letting people inside get out to provide space to occupy. You can’t fit into something if there’s no room. So please, let them out. I almost had my foot into gap between the train and the platform because of people’s disregard for science.

2. A gentleman offers a seat; it’s an uncalled for to ask for it- I’m eternally grateful for all the guys who’ve given up their bus seat for me. They were particularly helpful when I had a thick textbook in my arms back in college. But since we live in the 2000s, I don’t expect every guy to give up his seas. Equality is equality—I’m sure those guys are tired from work too and want to sit down. I was appalled when I heard this woman say “Kuya pwede diyan na lang ako umupo?” (Sir, can I be the one to sit there?), displeased tone and face included. Talk about feeling entitled. A friendly reminder to commuting women: These guys are offering their seats. It’s a favor. Don’t ask for it.

3. Flag ceremony practice should apply to lining up- Remember when we used to line up in grade school to sing the national anthem before class? I suddenly wish the discipline of this exercise was applied when people run out of the train towards the exit or when boarding a bus. Instead, people rely on the first come, first serve basis to get out. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter if you were first. Most manage to come in first when you’re not looking or have no patience to secure your place. Etiquette is thrown out the window.

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