There are times when I actually enjoy commuting to my press coverages. Commuting offers me a few liberties: Instead of having to concentrate on the road, which one definitely has to do when he or she is driving, I could sit back and relax, and let the bus or jeepney driver get me to my destination.
I could observe the people I am sharing a ride with, often making up stories in my head about where they came from or where they are going, based on what they are wearing or something as basic as the expression on their faces.
The thing that I hate the most about commuting in the Philippines, though, is that once in a while it gets so unbelievably hard to catch a ride. You see, unlike in most of the Western world, where buses run on schedule, it is really a matter of running after the transport of your choice when rush hour descends on Metro Manila.
The result is a mad rush, a tangled melee of arms and legs as everybody tries to jostle through the crowd to board the bus, jeepney, or train. What's worse is that men rarely give up their seats for the ladies anymore. They reason that they are shelling out their fare, just like we ladies do, so why would they have to stand up? So, I am often left standing in the aisles of the bus or train, holding on to my parcels while I hang on for dear life.
"Is chivalry dead?" I often wonder. There are so many times when I offer my own seat to pregnant women or the elderly, while my male counterparts try their darndest best to look as if they have dozed off.
It's almost shopping season again, and as Christmas nears, I'm sure it will get even harder to catch a ride. The traffic will get worse too, because everyone with money to spare is already bargain hunting at the malls. There are times when it will be quicker to just walk to where I am going instead of catching a ride -- Good thing I am usually in flats, right?
For those who are bound to get stranded like me, just remember to keep your cool, leave the house a little bit earlier, expect to come home a little bit later -- get those knees and elbows ready for boarding!