I saw an old article the other day about an ex-pat who decided to show how brave (or silly) he was by buying a motorbike in Manila. One part of his story referenced Edsa (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue), a major traffic artery that seemingly connects with every other major road and side street in, around and through Manila. Besides the traffic and constant congestion, his referral to the fragrance that comes from this roadway guarantees that you won’t be kissed anytime soon, as it permeates the air, your clothes and even gets inside your mouth if you’re careless to leave it open. It doesn’t matter if you ride a bus, taxi, jeepney, or your own private car; and if you walk, forget it. You might as well live among skunks. Walking along Edsa can be tricky, and crossing is almost impossible, so there are numerous pedestrian cross-overs to help you avoid the rush of the vehicles in the road as shown in the example below. But even with this there is no escaping the perfume of Edsa.
In a scene from the everyday highway traffic pattern in Metro Manila, buses, trucks large and small, jeepneys and taxis compete with passenger vehicles, motorbikes and motorcycles (the bikes are smaller), with little observance paid to the marked appropriate traffic lanes, traffic signals (when any are given), and sometimes even the traffic cops. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes and in varied conditioning (it’s a good idea to avoid the larger vehicles and those with numerous dents) zip in and about this free-for-all maze. It’s amazing that there are so few accidents.
In addition to the smell there is also the noise. Horns so loud it will wake the dead, and the smaller the vehicle, the louder the horn it seems. The fact that a major part of Edsa runs alongside and under the LRT (light rail transit), it seems as if you’re riding sometimes in a tunnel, as the sounds and smells are only intensified beneath the concrete overhead and the squeeze of large vehicles at your sides….
From one of the many busy interchanges in the road system around Manila – C-5/SLEX and Edsa – a not so typical scene from everyday traffic, as here we’ve caught a break since the congestion seen in the distance hasn’t quite reached where we are (it’s a rare sight to see this much pavement on the lower roadway). Above our heads is a newer section of the road system called the Skyway, where the pavement is smoother, the lanes are better marked and traffic is almost non existent, since the tolls are higher and traffic is a little more enforced by the traffic cops. It is a faster route to the international airport (which is another story).
But even this doesn’t do much for the passenger who can’t afford the bus with air conditioning and soft cushioned seats…
As always, you can click your mouse over each picture to get a fuller description/caption of each image..
Until next time!