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The public commute and the benefits of walking

May 16, 2012 4 comments

Bus Terminal at Star Mall

Bus Terminal at Star Mall

Riding the bus is such a thrill! I never thought it would be a nice adventure.  I can’t remember the last time I had to take the bus to go around the city since I got my car – Sandy (short for Sandra) a few years back.  People in Manila are nice and quiet introvert even but it all changes come rush hour.  On certain occasions you can see relatively quiet and nice people get into arguments while riding these “efficient” mode of transportation.  Women and older people having to stand along the isle of packed buses and the LRT / MRT.  I must say; there’s a real shortage of chivalry in the roads nowadays.  Although uncommon you can still see a guy offer his seat to a lady or an old person.

Yesterday morning, I had the chance to experience taking the bus on my way home from work.

I’m currently staying at Paseo Parkview Suites in Makati for a couple of weeks.  Sounds nice right?  Yes it is but the problem is parking!!!  I love Makati but I hate the fact that parking your car overnight can cost you an arm and a leg.  There’s even a parking space right across the condo that charges Php40 for the first 2 hours and Php40 again every hour after.  That’s not all… if you stay overnight or reach 12 midnight you are automatically charged Php150 additional on top of the hourly rate.  WTF!!!  Yes the parking space is nice and not that many cars park there (maybe because it’s sooooo freaking expensive!) but I only need a parking space for the night not buy the whole parking space!  Hahaha!  Another funny thing with the parking spaces in Makati, they don’t have a maximum charge like in other cities.  So don’t be surprised when they charge you Php300 or even more for overnight parking.  Call me stingy but I refuse to pay that much for parking.

Taking my car to Makati is definitely not an option for me.   I decided to just leave my car in the office since I have a free slot (thanks to Visual Ally).  After finishing some paperwork and heading to the bank for a quick transaction there I was walking along Emerald Avenue towards Julia Vargas to Megamall.  On the way I saw this blind man trying to cross the street.  I rush over and offered my help. It felt good to be able to extend help to someone in need… a benefit of walking that I don’t get when I drive.

Emerald Avenue

Emerald Avenue

 

Aside from the obvious health benefits, I just realized that walking keeps you grounded and lets you appreciate what you have.  Another thing I noticed, driving a car around the metro for a while can make you soft. Hahaha!  I had a bit of a problem getting to my seat inside the bus.  You know how crazy bus drivers can be here in Metro Manila right?  Another advantage of riding a bus or the train is that you can sleep on your way to your destination (now try doing that while you’re driving).

After an hour (usually 15-30 minutes drive),  I reached Paseo De Rojas in Makati and walked to Valero.  I really enjoyed my time walking and watching people rush to work and occasionally getting bumped and stepped on while getting on and off the bus (insert sarcasm here).  Over-all, it was a fun and such humbling experience something everyone should try once in a while 🙂

walking along Paseo De Rojas

walking along Paseo De Rojas

Manila is World’s 3rd worst city for driving

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Driving in Manila

From air to land, the Philippines was once again listed as among the worst in a transport-related international survey.

CNN’s travel website CNNGo.com on Thursday named Manila as the world’s third worst city for driving.

“In 2001, Manila borrowed US$60 million from the World Bank for transit-related activities. Among other things, the funds were meant to ‘promote the use of non-motorized transport.’ A campaign asking locals to ‘Please stop driving,’ however, wasn’t necessarily the best approach to traffic management,” the website said.

CNNGo.com added that according to one report, Filipinos perceive traffic congestion as their number one problem, followed by air pollution, garbage collection, flood control and the need for security.

“So, Filipinos care more about getting to work on time than they do about respiratory ailments, mounting trash heaps, drowning or being assaulted? Capitalism wins again!” it said.

Nevertheless, the travel website pointed out the redeeming quality of the Philippines, saying, “You’re in a country in which smooth-flowing traffic is apparently of utmost importance to residents. So, you gotta figure somebody, somewhere is working on the problem. Right?”

CNNGo.com noted that its “non-scientific” list of the world’s 10 worst cities for driving was based on IBM’s 2011 Commuter Pain survey, World Bank statistics and other Internet sources.

According to the survey, worse than Manila were two other Asian cities like New Delhi, India and Beijing, China which topped the list.

Mexico City, Mexico placed fourth while Johannesburg, South Africa was the fifth worst.

Completing the list were Lagos, Nigeria; Sao Paolo, Brazil; Moscow, Russia; Toronto, Canada; and Monaco, which ranked sixth to tenth respectively.

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