So I was (not so happily) stuck in the Metro for months now and the only jungle I’ve explored so far are the urban jungles to and from Ayala and Ortigas, I thought of some tips that can somehow help me survive.
Cities are often dubbed as urban jungles, and Metro Manila is no different. Navigating through it with all those looming office buildings and condos, mazes of connecting underpasses and overpasses and streams of train lines and one way streets and not to mention, wading through throngs of people (rush hour or not) can be overwhelming much like navigating a piece of Mother Nature’s forest property. But in the metro, you’ll need more than just a compass.
1. Patience is always a virtue (especially in commuting!).It helps if you always anticipate that whichever line, MRTs will always be crowded. If you’re a regular train commuter, buy a stored value card so you don’t have to queue every time. Avoid missed trains and other passenger’s ire, when you get to the train turnstile, have your card in hand and ready to insert. At the check point counter, start opening your bag, a couple of persons away before your turn at the check point. On a bus, don’t rush when stepping off it and always remember to look to your right for speeding motorcycles. Lastly, music can help calm any nerves, so sit back and turn those traffic jams into a music fest.
2. Ask and you shall receive. Prices in the metro can soar as high as mountains. And as December draws near, always be in a lookout for mall sales. Always bring barya (avoid 500 and/ or 1000 denominations) and don’t forget to haggle and bring your own shopping bag when doing your thrift shopping in Divisoria or ukay digs in Cubao or Cartimar, Pasay. December weekends are a nightmare in Divisoria, so try shopping during weekdays instead. And don’t ignore good old garage sales in places like San Lorenzo Village in Makati, they can surprisingly turn out good finds.
3. There’s always Plan B. The weather can be very fickle, remember to bring an umbrella. It’s always useful come rain or shine.
4. De-stress. Close to being extinct, stress in the city can make you feel like an endangered specie. Try going out for regular short walks, very accessible “pocket parks” can be found all throughout the city and Makati has quite a few.
5. Constant Vigilance. (Mad Eye Moody couldn’t have said it any better!). Though not so far as being overtly paranoid, just always be aware of your surroundings. Danger, in the form of pickpockets, snatchers and yes, even perfume sellers on modus operandi can lurk every where. Be alert, use your common sense and you’ll do just fine.