Traffic and Driving (if you call it that) in Manila

You need a great sense of adventure to drive or even look while in a taxi in Manila.

Not only because of the huge traffic jams even with “color coding” but the fact that Filipinos resent orderly lines and cues.  It can best be described as a bumper car game at the fair experience, except that by some magic they usually not collide.    Honking is definitely the national pastime.

 Color-coding is a law that requires all Manila vehicles to be off the streets one weekday each week between 7am and 7pm.  It has nothing to do with colors, but is based on the last digit of your license plate number.

The Jeepney
King of the road in the Philippines is the Jeepney. It is an open aired jeep like van which was first used after the Japanese occupation and is a symbol of national pride. Owners make their own unique color designs and say what they want on them.  Some are quite creative and interesting. I only tried one once, in Angeles, since I prefer the air-conditioned taxis and much more comfortable taxis. The Jeepney’s fare is only P2.5 (6.7 cents $US) for rides up to 4 kilometers.  Taxis are much more expense, but when we are only talking P100 to go most anywhere (US$2.60) with no tips expected, I’m not concerned about the “higher” cost! 

 The “Expressway” Parking Lot to Angeles City
This is the only “expressway” I’ve ever seen where the traffic often moves so slowly that there are street venders selling water, cigarettes etc between cars on the street.  My Vegas Hotel driver tells me it can take 5 hours just to go a few miles.

 The two lane expressway is actually 5 lanes when you count both shoulders and how drivers not believing in cues or orderly lines, make 3 lanes out of the two marked lanes.    To use the shoulder lane you have to have a large truck or Jeep or you may fall into the huge potholes. Eventually traffic did open up and the drive was about 2 hours from Manila to Angeles City.

 Driving thru Manila to the Expressway certainly impresses me how lucky we are in the U.S. Many family enterprises along the road with their food stands and shacks where they live.  Huge communities live under a bridge with clothes hanging out.

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