Living in the Southern Tagalog region used to be an idyllic dream—until urbanization and sprawling Manila traffic caught up with us. While some towns still lie outside the mess that is Manila-bound traffic, the rest of us have to cope with the trials and tribulations of being Manila-adjacent. Here are a few things that South peeps have to put up with on a weekly basis:
1) If you’re not on the road before sunrise, you’re late
And if you’re commuting, you will probably have to stand on the bus, too. Shout out to all the Caviteños who have to suffer an extra hour on the bus, nowadays. We feel your pain.
2) The word 'expressway' doesn't mean what you think it means
More like “gigantic multi-lane parking lot.”
3) Let’s meet in the middle
For you guys, that’s Cubao, Makati or BGC. For us, that’s Alabang. Don’t complain about the toll. BGC parking costs more than toll to Alabang.
4) Antipolo? Where’s that?
Honestly. You can more easily get us to agree to a trip to Clark than to Antipolo. Also, Las Piñas is the Black Hole of traffic from which no light can escape, whether you’re coming from the Laguna side or the Cavite side.
5) Our commutes cost more than our dates
Sad fact of life. While you get to plunk down Ninoys on righteous bowls of ramen, that’s how much we spend to get to a decent mall in the first place (where we end up eating Jollibee, instead).
6) Village stickers are worth more than gold
Las Piñas Friendship route? The ever-useful BF Homes sticker? Greenfield for the Biñan to Santa Rosa shortcut? Nuvali for the Santa Rosa to Canlubang shortcut? If you know the right sales agent, these things can make your life infinitely easier. If not, be prepared for a world of pain. On a related note:
7) Public buses are like mobile motels
Cheap, overcrowded, roach-infested motels, yes. But sometimes worth taking so you can sleep through traffic rather than seethe in it. And if you’re lucky, they’re playing a new movie on the in-bus TV. If you’re unlucky, you’ll have to sit through two or three movies due to the traffic.
8) It’s nice living close to nature
Blue skies overhead, beaches at our door step, hot springs next door, the mountains just a short drive away. Fresh meat and fish in the markets, fresh fruit everywhere. Sometimes it’s all worth the agonizing commute into the city on weekdays.
9) On weekends, sometimes the long cut is the quickest way
When all the Manileños and their shiny new SUVs and vans descend upon the beaches of Batangas or the mountaintops of Tagaytay, it pays to know the old, unused roads that were bypassed when all the new high-traffic concrete was put down. Maybe they won’t get you there faster, but cruising past idyllic towns in peace is a hell of a lot better than sitting in traffic for hours.
10) We wish Manileños would stop clogging our roads on weekends
I mean, guys, not that we don’t enjoy the sight and sound of Harley-Davidsons and supercars rumbling by on the highway, but we get enough of Manila traffic on workdays. Don’t bring it down here to us.