I live in the southern part of the metro, so heading to work every day means enduring heavy subdivision traffic, paying the exorbitant toll for a bit of relief on the Skyway, and then enduring heavier traffic in Makati.
I rarely commute because all the public transport I would need to take—from tricycle and service van down to the last PUJ ride—requires huge amounts of waiting time.
How do I stay sane?
1. I drive to my favorite K-drama soundtracks on loop.
2. The playlist switches to Florence + The Machine when the state of traffic demands the musical equivalent of angry, demented screams.
3. I dance to perkier Florence + The Machine tracks
—while in the driver’s seat. Sometimes it elicits stares from other drivers but, heck, you do what you gotta do to cope.
4. In the empty front seat is a stash of salty snacks which I eat when traffic’s at a standstill. (Okay, even when traffic’s just crawling.)
4. A bottle of water is always handy, to keep me from getting parched and to calm me down. I sip, not guzzle, because peeing can be a problem.
5. I “jot down” notes on my phone, like story ideas, immediate household concerns, and what to wear the next day. I fancy the idea that I save time being productive, creative and structuring some of my activities even if I’m stuck in the car.
6. I bring baon (I especially love my mom’s salads) to work every day, so I have something delicious to look forward to after the long, exhausting drive.
7. I keep in mind that there’s a special place in hell for Metro Manila drivers who are not alert and have zero sense of road courtesy.