Commuting Hacks for the Brave
Carmageddon in Metro Manila is at an all-time high in the recent years and gets way worse when you add the holiday rush in the mix. It's easy to grow frustrated being stuck on the road for hours and hours, not knowing what time you'll arrive to your destination and as you spend more cash than expected with that price surge on your ride-share. Many are tempted to revert back and give public transportation a chance despite its current disheartening state. While the hesitations are understandable, the right strategy will make you a commuting pro in no time.
Do your research beforehand
Know your options and plan your way by doing a quick Internet search or chatting up your commuter friends. While Google Maps and Waze may suggest the best driving route by private car to get from one place to another, try using Sakay.ph to find out the most efficient course via public commute. It lists options on whether you ride the train, the bus, or the jeepney and tells you where to get off and on. You may also take alternative options like the Utility Vehicle (UV) Express or the fairly-new P2P (Point to Point) Bus Service. If possible, set appointments at odd hours so you could avoid the traumatic peak time (6am or 5pm) when travelling.
Dress the part
Remember that more often than not, you will be standing (or sitting, if you're lucky) elbow-to-elbow with a stranger inside the vehicle so it would be ideal to make comfort your best friend. Wear a top made of breathable material so you'll feel cool and minimize body sweat. An even better idea would be to pack the outfit you wish to be dressed in when you get to your destination (may it be work or a date) and just change out of your commute look before entering your endpoint. Also consider a special commute bag that is secure enough to fend off pickpocketers but reliable for your own use.
Be prepared with the essentials
Should you decide to pursue the commute life for the long-term, there are tools that could make your travels easier, like an umbrella (ready rain or shine) and a face towel, to name a few. But the must is this: load up your Beep card (reloadable MRT card) and have a handy-dandy pouch with you, ideally packed with loose change of different coin values. Most commuters waste precious time fishing through their bags for ride payments but you will be at the top of your game once you've have them at the ready.
Wishing you all the luck in the world as you brave the commute. Make sure to pack an extra bag of patience while you're at it.
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