"Next station, Ayala station," the MRT’s incomprehensible PA system would blurt out, as if people understand the words. The doors open and I battle my way out of the train. I fall in line in the concourse area, where you insert your ticket to pass through to the free — the unpaid area of the MRT station. A click, and my ticket comes back to me. Finally I make my way to the bus stop, where the buses are like meat and the waiting commuters are piranhas inside an aquarium: once the meat comes anywhere close, the piranhas swoop in all at the same time. To get in the bus, pushing and shoving are required. I may be kind of a gentleman in normal situations, but in times like these, it’s every man for himself.
I’m inside, seated — uncomfortably, as always.
I look out the window. "Wow, the traffic looks pretty bad," I think to myself. Manong driver steps on the gas and releases the clutch, and the bus starts moving. Going slow, but it’s still manageable, nothing to worry about.
So I go about the journey listening to my cellphone’s radio (yes, it’s high-tech like that). Hundreds of meters ahead, I can see red lights, brake lights, all turned on. And their not moving. Okay maybe a few inches or less per second (but come on, does that really count?). And the Skyway on-ramp — the ramp used to get to the Skyway — is still not within sight. "Oh shit," I concede. This will be bad. No, horrible. Oh wait, deathly.
Ten to fifteen minutes later, after agonizingly inching our way through the start of the dreaded SLEX traffic jam, we made it to the Skyway, and the first two or three hundred meters of Skyway were pretty good. Then once again, the stationary red (brake) lights came into view. It’s the line for the toll. "Okay fine. Toll naman ‘yan e. Pila talaga," my optimistic side butted in. After another maybe seven to 10 minutes queued, we got past it, and, again, the ride was smooth. For a few hundred meters.
And then another jam. This one was longer. This was the grandmother, the queen, the ringleader of the traffic jam. It stretched all the way from Nichols to the middle of Sucat exit and Alabang exit. I never saw that coming. When the traffic jam came into view, I thought it would only be until the Sucat off-ramp, because Skyway was very poorly made that from at least three lanes, it would shrink to an anorexic one lane, a terrible bottleneck. Don’t get me wrong, this is common occurrence, where after clearing the off-ramp, it will be a smooth ride again. But this time it was Bad. No, a capital B wouldn’t do it justice: IT WAS BAD.
I was losing it. My phone’s battery was draining, the radio programs were getting boring, and the traffic condition was in no way getting lighter. Adding salt to the wound, my seat was uncomfortable, and my back and neck were aching up, plus I was getting sleepy. Not a good combination, huh?
It was 6:20pm when I texted my mom that I was on my way home, and by that time, I’ve waited for a jeep plus been in a jeep for about 5 minutes already, meaning I left UP at around 6:15pm. I got to Alabang exit at around 8:35pm (sa exit lang mismo, ha). TWO HOURS AND TWENTY MINUTES, roughly an hour and thirty minutes spent on SLEX ALONE. Unacceptable, unnecessary bullcrap.
Eventually, I got home at around 9:00pm, by far the longest travel I’ve undertaken.
I am sick of this. Ever since the second semester started, SLEX’s traffic conditions just got worse: going to UP took the same time because I left the house earlier this sem, but going home, oh dear lord. It now took two hours AT THE VERY LEAST to get home, when it took an AVERAGE of two hours to get home during the first sem, same time of departure from UP.
Tonight, I realized the full potential of the South Luzon "Express"way. Well, actually not just the Alabang-and-northwards part of SL"E"x, but including EDSA, the two traffic cesspools of Metro Manila: they may serve as the biggest parking lot in the Philippines, maybe even the world. It’s a stretch which can park thousands upon thousands of vehicles: sedans, SUVs, AUVs, trucks, buses, jeepneys, taxis, anything.
To whoever’s managing the Skyway’s construction, hurry the f*ck up and finish it already. You have caused headaches to us the public, who use the SLEX and the functional parts of the Skyway itself in the hope that these would make travelling faster and more convenient. Because of the slow construction, the exact opposite has happened: travel has turned slow and downright inconvenient, especially to us commuters.
Tonight, everywhere I passed was traffic. I hope this day never repeats itself again. To November 26, 2010, courtesy of Stone Cold Steve Austin (I don’t really wanna post this, but this just encapsulates all I wanna say and do right now):