A day without Uber
MANILA, Philippines – It’s been two weeks since the LTFRB put a halt to Uber operations here and commuters everywhere have been feeling the after-effects. With many netizens complaining of the inconvenience, we wait for whether or not today's hearings will bring forth a resolution.
8:19 am – After queueing up the stairs, I finally got to the MRT station proper. Unfortunately, my Beep card had around P10 so I had to line up once more to reload my card.
8:27 am – Two trains passed before I could finally get in one. The train was as stuffed as a tin of sardines, but I squeezed myself in.
8:49 am – I got down at Ayala station. Since all the malls were still closed, I walked all the way to the first destination – Clock In, the co-working space in Ayala Triangle. It took me 20 minutes.
8:07 am – Farmer’s Market Cubao. This is it! Our checking-in selfie to start the day. The first to reach Ayala Triangle in Makati wins. I started by walking to Gateway since I could see a number of cabs around that area.
8:12 am – Five cabs passed me, all carrying passengers. When I finally hailed down an empty cab, the driver rolled down his window and asked where I'm headed. “Kuya, Ayala Triangle po. Sa Makati.” He pulled a face, shook his head no, and drove away. It’s not surprising. Not long after, another cab passed by “Saan po kayo (Where are you going), ma’am?” I gave the same answer. He paused, looked at me, and said, “Ma’am, traffic na po. Dagdag P30 (It's traffic already. Add P30).” I politely declined but he insisted it’s only fair because it’s rush hour traffic. I still said no. He looked at me head to toe – twice – and said: “Sige na nga po. Sakay na po kayo (Ok. Please get on).” Maybe he liked the look of my boots.
8:16 am – Not long after we left our pickup point, the car’s rear-view mirror broke and fell, hitting the driver while he was driving! I didn't know how to react, but it was funny as hell. It took a while for the driver to stick the mirror back to its original place.
8:36 am – It looked like the driver knew a shortcut. We entered this very narrow alley. It’s so small that this was the first time I ever noticed it. It led us to a back street parallel to EDSA.
8:47 am – As we passed the Boni Station MRT, my driver saw another taxi driver he recognized. My driver rushed forward, cutting through the lanes so he could position his taxi beside his friend’s. He rolled down his window and waved. His friend did the same. The passenger in the other taxi and I looked on, confused. They even had a little chat while cars behind us honked angrily.
9:00 am – Touch down at Ayala Triangle! I’m not the first but the ride was comfortable and amusing. Based on the meter, my ride was worth P176.50, and I paid exactly that.
8:10 am – I was pretty confident that I'd be the one who would get to Ayala Triangle first. I booked a bike quite quickly and the Angkas app said it would be at the pick-up point in 5 minutes.
8:18 am – The bike I rode had no plate number but no matter, I guess – we're off!
8:23 am – We get to Bonny Serrano corner EDSA and there were quite a few bikes waiting at the stoplight with us. It was oddly comforting to see so many people start their day the same way – they were my fellow commuters, only in separate vehicles. My biker/driver commented on the heat. Being exposed to the elements was definitely a downside to motorcycles.
8:56 am – My biker missed my stop, but he let me off across Ayala Triangle. I crossed the street to get to the meeting point and I was still the first one to get there! My trip cost P177.
8:12 am – I caught the first South-bound bus on EDSA that I saw. It was standing room only by the time I got on. I squeezed myself into one side, taking care not to push my backpack onto the face of the lady sitting in front of me. She was obviously irked at the invasion of her personal space, but I think she knew neither of us had a say in the matter.
8:19 am – The conductor started asking people where they were getting off and collecting their fares. I paid P26 to get off along Ayala Avenue in Makati. There was an old Pinoy movie playing on the TV but no one was watching. Everyone just looked tired and it was only early morning.
8:22 am – No one wanted to end up at the back of the bus as the conductor tried playing human Tetris with passengers, asking them to move further into the bus so more passengers could get in.. The people ignored him or pretended not to hear. The conductor lost his temper – "Kung ayaw mo umatras, mag-taxi ka (If you don't want to move, take a taxi).” I moved across the aisle to avoid becoming the subject of his anger.
8:30 am – The couple in the seats in front of me got off! Yay seats!
8:45 am – The bus inched in front of Starmall. The driver was waiting for passengers, I think. At this point, I thought that the bus might become sardine-packed again by the time we get to Ayala.
8:51 am – The irritated conductor yelled out for passengers getting off at Boni. The bus wasn't allowed to stop on Boni apparently, but they were going to try to flout the rules. The conductor instructed the driver to stop a few meters away from Boni so Boni people could get off. “Maglakad na lang kayo ng konti (Just walk a little),” he told them.
8:55 am – The bus driver stepped hard on the brakes because of a swerving car, I think. The irritated conductor let out a curse, “Putang ina ‘tong mga Uber na ‘to (This Uber son of a bitch).”
9:09 am – Bus stopped at Ayala Triangle where I was supposed to get off but unloading was not allowed! I needed to get down at the next stop.
9:12 am – I got off at Paseo and used one of the underpasses. It was a short walk but going up and down the stairs was tiring.
9:30 am – I arrived at Clock In. I looked harried and sweaty, definitely not presentable!
2:30 pm – After another 20 minute walk to get to the MRT Ayala station, I managed to get inside a train easily. However, I felt like I was in a sardine tin again as people shoved their way to get in.
2:40 pm – The MRT stopped at the Guadalupe station. Again, even if it wasn’t rush hour, there were still a good many people trying to make their way in.
2:50 pm – Finally arrived at the Shaw Boulevard station. My plan was to walk from Shangri-La to Pearl Drive because there was a free bus to get to Estancia from there. However, it rained hard all of a sudden and I had to find shelter in a building and wait for the rain to subside.
3:00 pm – I missed my bus. The next one would arrive in an hour! I had no choice but to walk all the way to Estancia because there was no FX going there.
3:30 pm – Finally got to Estancia by walking.
2:09 pm - I got a cab fairly easily on the first try.
2:30 pm - I was at the Guadalupe bridge where cars were piling up but traffic seemed to be moving. I’d been stuck in traffic here for 3 hours before so this w still fine.
2:45 pm – A few blocks away from Estancia, it rained. Thank God I was inside a car.
2:50 pm – I reached Estancia at exactly 2:50 pm and paid the cab P124.
2:19 pm – I had a meeting in the office at 3 pm, but I should be able to beat the traffic on a motorcycle, right? My ride showed up 11 minutes after I booked it. This biker didn't have any masks left and he had music blasting from his phone! We're off, weaving through traffic and listening to hits by Parokya ni Edgar and Bruno Mars.
2:50 pm – It started raining! The heat was fine, but rain was another story. I let out a curse as fat raindrops hit my helmet. My rider parked at a gas station where many other bikers were taking shelter from the sudden downpour. I explained that I was running late for a meeting and he put a raincoat on me, fixed the helmet on my head, and we headed out again.
2:59 pm – I look like a mess, but I got to the office just in the nick of time. My trip cost P90.
2:15 pm – I got on the bus passing Crossing Ibabaw. It was still roomy; no one was standing. Fare going to Crossing was P14. We hit traffic on the flyover to EDSA.
2:46 pm – I got down at Crossing, just as it started to drizzle. I walked to the jeepney stop across Shangri-la mall and settled myself inside the jeep as the drizzle got stronger. The jeep was already full but the driver believed that we could fit one more person in. Potential passengers came and peeked in, but no one seemed to want to squeeze into the few inches of space that the driver was determined to fill.
2:59 pm – Someone finally took that sliver of a seat and the jeep finally left. I paid P8, which I thought was standard minimum fare. The driver asked me where I was getting off and I told him my destination, which was not so far from the jeepney stop. He insisted that the fare going there was P15. I asked him why. He said, far or near the fare was P15. "May pila kasi," one passenger explained. Sigh, jeep logic.
3:10: pm – I finally got off at Estancia. I was sweating buckets even if it was a dark and cloudy trip.
5:45 pm – I left Estancia for Manila to catch an 8 pm show at the CCP. If you think I had the advantage by leaving so early, think again.
6:21 pm – I got to Shangri-La to catch the Shaw train. I had to walk again because the number of people trying to get a jeep made it impossible for me to catch a quick ride. It didn’t help that it was also raining. I felt like I walked more than I rode the MRT today.
6:30 pm – Got to the MRT station and I wanted to cry when I saw the long lines before me. It was still raining hard so I tried not get to soaked while waiting in a line that extended beyond the stairs.
6:40 pm – Finally got inside the MRT bound for Taft.
7:00 pm – I got to the Taft station and walked again to switch to the LRT.
7:12 pm – Two trains had passed by and the line was getting longer
7:24 pm – Finally got into train bound for Vito Cruz.
7:38 pm – After arriving at Vito Cruz, I had to walk to a jeep terminal to get to CCP. I began to worry that I might not be able to make it to my show.
7:54 pm – Finally made it to CCP with barely any time to spare!
7:15 pm – I usually didn’t leave the office at this hour because I knew traffic was hell, especially along Shaw Blvd., EDSA, Makati – okay, practically everywhere! Good luck to us.
7:25 pm – It had been 10 minutes and it looked like I was far from finding a taxi. The traffic I saw in front of me had barely even moved! I only saw 3 cabs, all with passengers inside. This wasn’t a good sign.
7:30 pm – I began to wonder if I could even get a cab here, and I was sure if I did get to hail one, the chances of rejection was very high. Suddenly I saw it: an empty cab! I rushed towards it and asked the driver if he could drop me off at DLSU, Manila. He paused for a while. I silently prayed, “Please, please say yes.” When he looked at me and said yes, I was so happy and I felt so lucky! I was expecting to be turned down by at least 7 taxis before one would accept me.
7:40 pm – The driver, Kuya Joey, loved to talk. I didn’t converse with the first two drivers I encountered today, but Kuya Joey seemed fun. I asked him why taxi drivers often declined passengers. He said, we were not only paying for the fare going there but also paying for the driver’s efforts. He explained how difficult it was to be a driver stuck in traffic. Driving was extremely tiring, he said, and the meter was still running even if the taxi wasn’t moving. Gas was a main factor, too – fuel was still being consumed even while the car was practically parked in traffic and if this went on for hours, the fare of the passengers would be barely enough to cover the amount of gas spent by the driver.
8:45 pm – We reached DLSU! One hour and 15 minutes! I didn’t know which surprised me more, that we reached Manila from Pasig this quickly, or that the ride itself didn’t even feel as long as it actually was. I told Kuya Joey I had a pretty good day and that I felt lucky that things went my way. He said, because of this, this too was his lucky day. The ride was worth P245 but I gave him P300 and told him to keep the change.
7:17 pm – It's been drizzling on and off, but I need to head to Wildflour in Makati for dinner with a friend. I booked a ride and wait.
7:31 pm – What was initially supposed to be a 5-minute wait turned into 14. I think my driver missed a turn and ended up much further away, so I cancelled that ride and tried to book another one.
7:34 pm – My new rider asked me to cancel the ride because his motorcycle broke down.
7:55 pm – After a lot of waiting, I ended up walking to a Starbucks near Shaw Boulevard and was able to book a ride from there.
8:06 pm – There was a bit of traffic tonight, but that's expected since it was a Friday and it rained all afternoon.
8:21 pm – We're on EDSA and it's raining slightly, but we were breezing past the cars that were stuck in traffic because of a road accident up ahead.
8:36 pm – On Paseo de Roxas, there were a lot of cars and a lot of stoplights. In hindsight, the driver should have stuck to EDSA to avoid all these red lights.
8:49 pm – I was hungry and dizzy but I finally got to Wildfour. My last trip of the day cost P131. After dinner, I ended up hitching a car ride home – I'd had enough motorcycles for one day.
7:21 pm – Traffic was heavy and the jeeps were not moving. I took the opportunity to board the jeep of my choice.
7:30 pm – I was still stuck on the spot where I boarded the jeep.
7:39 pm – The jeep was just about to cross its first intersection. The driver and I chatted a bit. He was regretting taking his jeep out, saying he only did so because he saw that an old lady needed a ride.
7:51 pm – The jeep went off our supposed route. I had no idea where we were passing but at least we were moving.
7:56 pm – We were stuck in traffic again. With no signs of moving, I caved in and decided to get something to eat and let the traffic ease up before I tried again.
Alexa: TrainThe trains would close at 10:30 pm and since there’s no Uber, I had no choice but to get a taxi or use Grab. There were no empty taxis so I ended up getting home around midnight because of the bad traffic on Roxas Boulevard. I had to pay P320 for the Grab taxi.
9:00 pm – I walked to Shaw boulevard to take a jeep. Traffic had loosened considerably.
9:06 pm – The jeep stopped at a traffic light. The exhaust from the truck next to us had wafted into our jeep. Thankfully, I had a face mask on hand.
9:10 pm – I got off the jeep and made my way to the bus stop.
9:15 pm – I boarded the bus in front of Starmall. It was full, but not standing-room full. I paid P16.
9:45 pm – The bus finally approached EDSA-Buendia. Some people got off and there were more empty seats.
10:03 pm – The bus stopped at Ayala Triangle. A lot of people got on. So near yet so far! I didn’t know why the bus was moving so slowly!
10:15 pm – The bus came to a full stop right in the middle of the road just as it rounded the corner into Buendia! I was so close to my stop! I looked out the window and saw that a van trying to park was blocking the way, holding everyone up.
10:17 pm – I FINALLY got off at my stop, Buendia-Mayapis. I got a trike from there to get home, but even the trike got caught in a traffic jam.
10:25 – Touchdown home!