International gourmet candy maker Jelly Belly has launched a “don’t drink when you drive” campaign in line with its launch in the Philippines (store of choice: the Candy Corner.) Methinks it’s very timely considering the rash in road accidents lately. We’re not only talking here of the unfortunate accident met by a former senator’s family but also the most unlikely story of a car plowing through a funeral procession. Tsk, tsk. Nakikiramay na nga sa patay, napatay pa! ( They were mourning the dead and they died themselves!) Only in the Philippines.
Most of us would agree that driving in Philippine cities like negotiating through a virtual war zone. Not only do you have to contend with horrendous traffic, you also have to deal with overtaking buses and pesky jeepney drivers who stop at unauthorized intersections. I’ve long remedied the situation by living barely ten minutes from where I work. That way I get to keep my fountain of youth and my s-a-n-i-t-y. There are those few times when I have to go to gridlocks like Makati, Quiapo and Ortigas but at least it’s not something I have to do every single day. In these cases, taking the MRT/LRT trains is the better option.
Manila is where you test your defensive skills to the fullest and here are some things I’ve learned driving in this crazy crazy city after all these years:
– Be a multi-tasker. Be visually alert. Practice the art of looking to your right, left and center in one sweep.
– Two life-savers you can’t do without.: a seatbelt and Bluetooth headset (if you’re used to using your cellphone while on the road)
– Let that jackass overtake you. You will be able to level with him in the next traffic stop anyway.
– In the Western world, you’re not supposed to lock your car doors so it will be easy for rescuers to come to you in case of an accident. In Manila, you’re supposed to lock your car doors at all times to avoid being held up
– If jeepneys are the kings of the road in Manila, what do you call pedestrians who cross the street just when the light turns green (for the driver) and move like they’re walking in the Paris runways? Brrrr. Sometimes am not surprised anymore when I read of hit-and-run accidents in the news.
– Am sorry, I forgot what DPWH meant. Does it stand for Department of Potholes and Wrecked Highways?
– I happen to think it’s no good driving flashy cars in this city. If you’re driving a Bimmer, Porsche or Ferrari, I will not be impressed. Again, look at those potholes and wrecked highways.
– It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s coming slow. Ooops! It’s a pedicab.
– Variation 2: It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No! ….. It’s a cow!
– Check your tires.
– Check your attitude. That obnoxious driver might suddenly be engulfed with road rage.
– The next time a pot-bellied cop asks for lunch fare, give him P1,000…. in play money.
– Be cool. Smile and charm your way out of traffic situations.
– when all else fails, say this with grace in the silence of your four-wheeled cabin: “….pakyu!” 😛
Am a lady, but I swear I’ve never sworn (and prayed) in my life such as when am driving in this crazy city.
The “don’t drink when you drive ” campaign is brought to you by Jelly Belly “mocktails.” It’s cocktails without the alcohol. The recipes to be posted soon in my food blog.