Nightmares come to life: Everyday commuters share their worst commute stories

Nightmares come to life: Everyday commuters share their worst commute stories

Imagine six hours of your life wasted on the road — and it’s not even an out of town trip.

Art by Gianne Enxcarnacion


Metro Manila has the “worst traffic on Earth.” This info (which came from a study conducted by Waze in 2015) comes as a surprise to literally no one. Whether you’re a northerner going to the south or vice versa, you should allot at least two hours to get to where you want to go. 

I bet we’re all used to mentally calculating our ETAs now. If the call time is 9 a.m., you should leave by 7 a.m. or 6:30 a.m. just in case the MRT breaks down or there aren’t any vans in the area. This means that you should wake up at around 4:30 a.m. This can also depend on the distance. The farther you are, the earlier you get up.

What’s worse is that the rush hour doesn’t even seem to exist anymore. Almost all hours of the day are a nightmare when you’re a commuter. 

To give us an insight into how bad it can get, we’ve gathered stories from everyday commuters about their most excruciating commute experience. We must warn you, these might trigger your own war flashbacks!

I got off work at 6 p.m., and I was so tired. I had to walk past a bridge so that I can ride a jeepney with fewer people in it. I waited for two hours. For the first hour, I was fine. I was listening to music, and I was used to commuting delays. Then, it rained. It was the kind of rain  na bumabaliktad na yung payong mo. I was muttering, “Ayoko na,” with tears. Around 8 p.m., I got to ride a jeepney, and around 9 p.m., I got home. My whole commute was supposed to take only 20 minutes. – Rica, 21, call center agent

I was going home from a skateboarding event in Manila. As I was approaching UN Avenue, I saw a lot of people standing and waiting for a ride. Then and there, I realized it was Friday, and rush hour was about to start. Just 10 minutes into waiting, I got to ride a van. It was cramped and hot. I only got to sit half of my butt. It was fine, but when we got to Manila City Hall, that’s where the traffic started. It took an hour just to reach UST. I was tired, and I wanted to go home. At the moment, I was already thinking, “How far is my house from UST?” I felt like it would be faster if I skateboarded home. I was getting myself ready, but I told myself that it’s too far. It’s better to half-sit in this van than to push my limits skateboarding. After an hour and a half, I arrived at my drop-off. When I came out of the van, I shouted, “THANK GOD!” then closed the door. – Gabriel, 19, student


My worst commute was back in college when I was on my way to a family reunion. From UST, I took a bus to Moonwalk. I thought the bus I boarded was to Moonwalk Parañaque, but all along it was headed to Moonwalk Las Piñas! I just realized it when I was already in Las Piñas, and Parañaque was two hours away from where I was. I spent my time scrambling to find the right ride all the way back to Parañaque. When I couldn’t find one, I gave up and took an Uber from Bicutan instead. When I got to the party at around 3:45 p.m. (I left UST at 11:30 a.m.), half of my titos were already drunk. – Angela, 23, news writer

My longest commute experience was with the PNR. I was on my way home from Bicutan. I usually ride the PNR, and it only takes an hour to get home and that includes the waiting time for the train. But on that day there was a delay with the train, and it was rush hour. I was supposed to get off at Pasay Road station, but a lot of people came in as I was about to get off. I tried getting off the next station pero bumabalik ako sa loob. So I was determined to get off Vito Cruz station. I fought my way out of the train, then my bag strap broke! I was so pissed. I didn’t know how to get back to Pasay Road. To make sure I made it home, I walked my way to my house carrying my one-strap bag. The whole trip took three hours. – Kyle, 20, student

At that time, my office just moved to a co-working space in another part of BGC. My family also moved to Baltao (near NAIA Terminal 2) from Baclaran. I thought commuting would be the same since both locations were technically still in the same cities. So I waited for a P2P bus in BGC at around 5:30 p.m. I expected there would be traffic exiting BGC and entering Makati. What I didn’t expect was that we would be dropping by all of Makati’s commuter-heavy stops. It took almost two hours to get to Gil Puyat, then at around 8 p.m., I was at MOA. The most frustrating part was I still had to ride a second bus from MOA to Terminal 2. I arrived home at about 9 p.m. It took me three hours to commute from BGC to Pasay. – Kate, 20, writer

When I was still in college, I commuted from UE Recto to Fairview. Every day, I went to Morayta to ride a bus to Fairview. One time, I waited three hours for a bus, but unfortunately, nothing came. Did I mention it was also raining? I didn’t get to ride a bus, so I decided to take the LRT. Going to the LRT, I had to walk to Legarda station. Once I boarded the LRT, I got off Cubao station then rode a van to Fairview. My commute home took me six hours. – Janus, 26, HR senior associate

#opinion #transportation

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