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Crossing the Streets of Metro Manila (Not a How-To)

2:36 AM by Metro Manila Directions · 18 comments

Metro Manila traffic is known to be one of the worst in the world. The whole experience is characterized by hour-long and bumper-to-bumper traffic jams, reckless driving, and maybe the most fascinating of all, the art of street-crossing.

They say "if you know how to drive in Manila, for sure you can drive anywhere." But one thing that people always forget is that we are taught on how to cross the street at a very young age ("look to the left then, look to the right") simply because the Filipino way of life is to cross the street - anywhere and wherever possible! Other countries value their pedestrians by creating strict driving guidelines such as stopping whenever someone is crossing the street, even if you are driving at breakneck speed. In our country, it's the other way around, pedestrians are supposed to stop whenever a car is passing by the street...

You can see below how a typical day would be on a Metro Manila road (the presence of the orange multicabs suggest this might be Gil Puyat). If you are a pedestrian, you'll find it normal to be a feet away from cars but from a bird's eye view perspective, you don't see how dangerous the whole crossing-the-street experience is. It's like an old-fashioned phone game, where one has to cross the street and make sure to get to the other side. Hit on click and see how it looks like from above.

Scary, isn't it? I wish we can do something about this. I don't think the pink billboard ("Walang Tawiran. Nakamamatay" or "No Crossing. Deadly") can do the trick. The irony is that a pedestrian lane can be found on that street but no one seemed to use it. Anyway, here's a funny take on highway crossing in Metro Manila, particularly Commonwealth Avenue, known as the Killer Highway, where MMDA recently imposed a 60kph max limit.

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