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Don't Drive Here in Metro Manila

7:45 PM by Metro Manila Directions · 59 comments

Don't Drive Here.

The show's title tells us everything already. Andrew Younghusband, host of Canada's reality TV show Don't Drive Here, has only one goal: to handle a jeepney just like a local without breaking any traffic rule.

In order to accomplish that, he had to learn first how to drive a car, a motorcycle, a tricycle, a cab, and a stretched limousine (didn't know we had one here!). He also tried being an MMDA enforcer. The first minute and a half minutes already got us hooked and as the episode unfolds, we learn (or remember) how harsh Manila's traffic is for both drivers and pedestrians.
(See video below).

He might be exaggerating sometimes during the show but the facts are not exaggerated (our comments in parenthesis):
  • Manila (or Metro Manila) is one of the most congested city on Earth
  • The streets are like parking lot during traffic jam. (Can you believe it when he said we spend 1000 hours a year in our cars? That's 41 days in total, more than 1 month a year!)
  • We measure distance here by amount of time, not by kilometers or miles. Sometimes traveling 6 kilometers means traveling for an 1 hour (try taking Ayala tunnel to Magallanes at 7pm!)
  • Official death toll of 5 per day (that's too low considering how inconsiderate both drivers and commuters are in Manila)
  • Drivers don't use blinkers (I sometimes want to smash the signal lights of these offenders)
  • Roadsigns are posted on the wall of LTO testing centers (Seriously, this is stupid! Do you expect would-be drivers to have these posters plastered on their vehicles' windshields?)
  • "Don't let them in" - one of Andrew's resource guides said, pertaining to the jeepney cutting Andrew's car. (Very typical Pinoy)
  • "You have the privilege [to drive] but always be careful" - LTO test officer upon awarding Andrew his Philippine driver's license. (We should always remember this. Driving is a privilege, we apply to earn it. It's not an inherent right so we should not own the streets)
  • There's no wrong lane in Metro Manila (except the opposite one of course. Don't get us started on the imaginary bus lanes)

And since we're still not yet done on the pork barrel scam, our lawmakers should get out of their offices and travel like millions of people living in Manila, so they'll see how dangerous it is in Manila. At one point, we are told of a simple reality (and cheat!) - that it is better for a traffic enforcer to let someone beat the red light than apprehend the driver and cause traffic behind him.

Filipinos aspire to own cars to escape the horrible inconvenience caused by taking public transportation and walking in Metro Manila. That's one sure sign that we're thinking backwards. Urban places are measured by the friendliness and efficiency of public transportation, and not by volume of cars. 

Let us know your thoughts!

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59 Responses to "Don't Drive Here in Metro Manila"
Anonymous said...

September 7, 2013 at 12:12 AM

We should improve our public transport system. In that way Filipinos don't need to buy private vehicles which only adds to the already horrendous pollution problem in the metropolis. Also, give the sidewalks back to the pedestrians and not to illegal vendors.

Mc Milan said...
October 2, 2013 at 8:13 PM

I was kind laughing when you said "Manila (or Metro Manila) is one of the most congested city on Earth" because you spot on! Even if you rent a car for rent manila , you will still stuck on a traffic. Sometimes I'm losing hope that Manila will improve their transportation unlike in other Asian countries like Singapore.

Anonymous said...

February 12, 2014 at 7:51 PM

Only been here a few weeks.but I find the network of public transport excellent. Fx, bus, trains, jeeps. There always seems to be a reasonable route from a to b.
The problem is the amount of cars. It doesn't matter how good the public transport network is if the roads are as full as they are. Introduce a congestion charge like London has, that might help.
As for sidewalks, I can handle walking around the street vendors, but the state of the paths and the amount of cars on them often means walking in the road is the best option

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