Manila traffic has always been a nightmare for everyone. For many, the worse experience is traversing the city’s main thoroughfare, EDSA, during rush hours.
Last week however, one woman thought of a brilliant plan: she rode a small boat and journeyed on the Pasig River to get to her destination.
On Friday, Twitter user Ria Flora (@riatheflower) said the traffic situation on EDSA’s northbound lane wasn’t moving. She then decided to ride a bangka (small boat) to reach Robinsons Galleria in Ortigas Avenue, Quezon City.
From Guadalupe in Makati City, she arrived on Pioneer Street in Mandaluyong City in less than two minutes — something that is physically impossible in the traffic-congested streets of the metro.
EDSA north bound wasn't moving so I rode the bangka cos I badlyyyy needed to reach Galleria by 9 AM. Wala pang 2 mins nasa Pioneer na ako fr Guadalupe AND 5 pesos lang pamasahe. Amazing. pic.twitter.com/xkcyYJtez4
— YSA (@riatheflower) August 3, 2018
Flora told Coconuts Manila through a Twitter message that she needed to go to Robinsons Galleria to attend a training seminar for her company. The traffic in EDSA, as well as on other roads wasn’t moving.
Taking the MRT was out of the question. She said: “I’m scared of snatchers and I get suffocated whenever I’m there.”
As a resident of Guadalupe, she’s aware of the passenger boats that are parked right in front of the district’s BLISS Condominium. She decided to take one of the boats at around 8am.
She said: “Basically, people along the river walk would wait for the boat that goes back and forth from Guadalupe to Barangay Buayang Bato [in Mandaluyong City],” she shared.
Unfortunately, the boats are not equipped with life vests. But it’s a quick ride anyway. “Once you ride it, less than two minutes, you’re on the other side,” Flora added.
Her ride was “very smooth” and when passengers arrived on the opposite bank, a person will collect the PHP5 (US$0.09) fare.
“They have a cashier and everything so the system is in place,” she added. “I hate Filipino time which is why I really did my part to get to my 9am calltime.”
“Filipino time” is a very common term in Manila. It refers to Pinoys’ penchant for being late. Not surprisingly, the usual reason that people give is traffic.
Flora said that the small boat she rode was completely different from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) Pasig River Ferry Service which has 12 different stops scattered all over the metro.
The MMD’s ferry system provides life vests, but the service could sometimes be unreliable. Said Flora: “There are times when it [the ferry boat] isn’t there, and [there are] times that it is [there].”
Naturally, netizens were amazed by the impressively quick travel time.
Twitter user @julsdesu exclaimed: “AMAZINGGG!”
— fuck my hair (@julsdesu) August 3, 2018
One tagged a friend and said in a mix of English and Filipino: “I have an idea on how to get to you faster.”
Bb!!! May idea na ko how to get to you faster @gillylorica
— Alanang Pag-asa (@wALANAnana) August 3, 2018
Twitter user @dianersarenas wrote it’s an “alternative way to reach your destination.”
Sadly, the Pasig River is highly polluted. The river brings over 63,700 tons of plastic every year into the ocean, according to GMA News. The 25-kilometer long river starts from the Laguna de Bay then flows into the Manila Bay. It used to be an important transportation route before it was damaged.
Meanwhile, government organization Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission is working with the MMDA to revive the Pasig River system and return it to its formerly pristine condition for transport, recreation, and tourism.