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10 Thoughts Every Man Has When Stuck In Manila Traffic

Stuck on the road (and stuck in your head)
by Raul Maningat | Nov 29, 2017
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Traffic in the Philippines is dreadful. 15-minute rides turned hour-long trips—vehicles only moving as if they're getting nudged every 10 minutes—are considered the norm. But desensitized we're not. Getting stuck in the middle of screwed up traffic still feels like drowning in a drug-induced stupor—eyes wide awake while everything else is numb—every single day. However, our bodies are equipped with a defense mechanism against such a menacing situation. To cope with the slow death, random thoughts rapidly run across our heads like 50 ping pong balls getting hit back and forth across the table. In light of this catharsis, we picked the 10 most amusing and perhaps the most relatable traffic jam thoughts we've ever had.

1) Sudden business-mindedness

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You're no business person. You're satisfied with your current job. But due to heavy traffic, the daily armpit-drenching commute or the ass-numbing long drive from home to office gets you thinking of a career-switch. The idea of owning a business just so you can control your schedule and avoid the gory sight of a million immobilized vehicles ahead of you pops up as often as taxis refuse to take you to Makati. The thing is when you finally reach your destination, your business dreams get brushed aside. Poof goes your imagined car wash, siomai stall, and Potato Corner franchise. Trust, they'll comeback on your trip back home.

2) Power trip

We sometimes wish we could go back to the past when, as our titos bragged, traffic was so good, people could drive as fast as they wanted with zero hassle. Playing along some more with this time travel B.S., we imagine going back to the '70s to make hits out of Eraserheads songs or cash in by pretending to be the guy who invented crispy pata. Fame and fortune, baby! If you haven't tried anything like this, we suggest you do. Another superpower we fantasize of having amid the woeful traffic is teleportation. Nope, not flying, too much risk from air pollution and sun damage. Skipping the drag, going from point A to point B is a heavenly thought. Situated in the middle of the perpertually clogged EDSA highway, we just want that Nightcrawler shit.

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3) Thinkin' like a villain

It's no secret that the Philippines is overpopulated. In fact, we blame the daily traffic congestion on overpopulation as much as we do on the excessive amount of cars, the unretired old-ass vehicles, the terrible roads and the perilous state of our mass transportation systems. Thinking of overcrowdedness while stranded, it would seem to us that those murderous TV series and movie villains (see: Utopia, Kingsmen) obsessed with solving the world's overpopulation problem, to a certain extent, may have a point. Note to self: Traffic can really drive you nuts.

4) Flexi time

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Always late for work because of traffic, you've earned the nickname Halfman-Halfday. You also believe that your office's policy on tardiness should be abolished and be replaced with flexi time—no lates, go home whenever you're done with your daily task. After all you can't expect an employee to to wake up at 3 a.m. just to beat the traffic and not feel sleepy during office hours. On your way to the workplace, again running late, you picture yourself approaching your boss or heading to the HR department to firmly suggest that flexi time is the way to go. When you actually arrive at the office, though, you'll realize that all you'll get from taking the matter to the higher-ups are contemptuous looks or empty promises—"Sige, I'll bring it up on our next board meeting."

5) Food trip

To compensate for the torture of traffic, we think of the best thing to gorge on at our destination's nearby food hub: 2 pc. Chickenjoy, tapsilog, sisig, kwek-kwek, isaw, pares, shawarma, balat ng KFC—whatever works for you. As an apettite stimulant, traffic trumps Appeton.

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6) The great migration

If you're stuck in EDSA and you've been somewhere before where traffic ain't a big deal and trains aren't killer trains and they function like they should, you'd dream about making that place your permanent home. Whether it be in Japan, Hong Kong, Subic, Pampanga, not Cebu, not Davao, Singapore or GenSan, you would consider migrating to get away from the horrors of Manila traffic.

7) Dream small

With traffic messing with your head, sometimes you're willing to let go of your job, the prestige of it and a few thousand bucks of salary in exchange for the convenience of a modest employment near your house, thinking it'll save you gas money and more importantly, save you from a lifetime's worth of stress. Amid the crawling traffic, the maniacal swerving of buses, driving side by side with deranged motorists and risking life and limb at the MRT, you'd find yourself looking at the heavens asking, "Is my dream job worth braving this warzone every freakin' day?”.

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8) Taksil sa bayan!

The thought that the Philippines was able to take freedom back from foreign invaders some 80 years ago or so is nice and all but whenever we see our country in dire straits, mostly because of the great job our politicians have been doing, we wonder if we'd be better off had we remained under America or Japan. Traffic nowadays provokes the same unnationalistic thoughts. Traffic has become so bad we sometimes wish the U.S. or Japan would take us back and let us experience some first world livin'.

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9) Asa!

Despite the continuous deterioration of the traffic situation and the countless times it took a crap on our appointments, the optimist in us still comes out. Sometimes, instead of cussing the whole trip, we stay calm. We look ahead into the (very distant) future and say to ourselves, all of these will end. That someday, after 10 but more likely 100-plus years, a messiah or the next Jose Rizal will be born to lead the Philippines out of all its troubles, including traffic. No better background score to these kinds of thoughts than Aerosmith's Dream On or any other song that has the has the words "dream on" in it.

10) Existentialism

On a really sucky day, when traffic’s trying to exhaust the human decency out of you, there are times when you look back at the things that you could've done differently and wonder whether doing so would not have put you in your current predicament. Did stealing 20 pesos from your mom's wallet when you were 12 have anything to do with getting stranded? You also begin to put things in perspective. Getting reminded that there are people in other parts of the world who are in a much worse condition than you having to deal with little ol' traffic, you become more appreciative of how lucky you really are. See, Manila traffic can be a good thing. Nope, not really! Definitely not! No way!

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