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Holiday survival guide: 10 tips for staying sane in Christmas traffic

It's that time of year again

This month marks the official arrival of traffic hell—or as it's more commonly known, Christmas in Manila. Extended mall hours, 13th month pay, a ton of discounts—yep, it's definitely here alright. All these factors and more come together to whip up the ultimate vehicular deadlock, and there's not much we can do about it.

The best course of action? Find ways to either better tolerate this mess or work around it. In a world of slow-moving cars, preparation, planning and creative thinking are vital. One miscalculated route can spell the difference between a quick holiday shopping trip and spending countless hours stuck inside your vehicle wishing you didn't have any inaanaks to pay tribute to. Here are a few tips and tricks to help us cope with Christmas season traffic.

1) Stock up on supplies. Food, water, car chargers and the like will help keep you from going GTA on fellow drivers on those really long nights. You can never underestimate how long you'll be stuck in holiday traffic, so it's always best to head out fully stocked.


2) Bring a "jingle bottle". There are few things worse than when your bladder is about to blow in the middle of traffic. We recommend keeping an empty 1.5L bottle inside your vehicle during the Christmas season. Desperate times...

3) Keep track of time. Memorize mall hours and don't forget that there are no more coding windows. Knowing the exact time a mall opens or closes will help you determine when it's best to head out and what hours to avoid being in their vicinity.

4) There's more than one parking area. Always assume that indoor parking lots will be full. Familiarize yourself with other nearby parking areas as you're probably going to have to head there at one point or another. Think and act ahead of the pack and you'll have an easier time finding space.

5) The streets are alive with the sound of music. Create playlists for keeping your cool, staying awake and to help you maintain energy for your shopping trip. You might as well cue the holiday playlists on Spotify to keep your Christmas spirit up.

6) Bring company. Having friends stuck in traffic with you will do more than help pass time through conversation. A navigator by your side relaying alternative routes and parking areas is a big help when stuck in traffic, while the rest can help you carry your haul of gifts back to the vehicle. If you can, bring your crush. Baka magkatuluyan pa kayo sa kakahintay.

7) Waze is hope, Waze is love, Waze is life. Navigation apps will help you stay ahead of the game. Whether you're trying to avoid traffic or just waiting for the right time to drive off, just open Waze and you'll know the answer. Just be sure you have access to internet and you don't run out of juice (refer to number one).

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8) Monitor social media. A quick check on Facebook can reveal dreaded traffic hotspots during peak shopping hours. Common statuses you'll come across include "Ugh. Stuck in traffic" type posts, "Sea of red lights" posts accompanied by a night shot of EDSA, and finally the most popular of the bunch—"PI ang traffic f***".

9) Tune in to AM radio. No Waze? That other frequency is good for more than just current events and radio soap operas. AM radio stations provide more in-depth traffic reports than their FM counterparts during rush hours, mentioning accidents and alternative routes.

10) Bring a camera. Besides the sea of red lights, plenty of stuff happens on traffic-infested roads. Bring a good camera or use your phone, take some nice photos and send them to our Facebook page. Bonus points kung may hugot.


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PHOTO: Raynand Olarte
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