The Best of the Worst Traffic Stories in Manila

Compiled by Selina de Dios

Photo from the Philippine Inquirer

You know you’re in Manila when it takes you 1 hour to get somewhere that should only take 20 minutes, when you notice people hopping out of jeepneys after realising it would be faster to walk, and when you see a seemingly endless parade of cars frozen in place for hours on end. The worst thing about Manila traffic is that no matter who you are or where you live, you will definitely, at some point, suffer the excruciating pain of sitting in an immobile car for hours, wondering if you will ever arrive at your destination. Here are some of the worst traffic stories from members of the ISM community.


10) Per N. (Senior)

EDSA had been flooded by the rain, so it took me two hours to get from McKinley Road to Dasmarinas Village.


9) Dana T. (Sophomore)

Two years ago, there was a terrible storm and it was flooding in many places along the way to Rockwell. I left school on the bus at 4:45pm, and arrived at the first stop at 7:30. During the trip, the younger children on my bus were absolutely starving and began taking food from other people’s lunchboxes. Phones’ batteries died and we were stuck for hours without entertainment. Overall, it was a terrible trip.


8) Liana L. (Senior)

One day I was stuck in C5 for 2 hours so I missed my first block and was extremely and embarrassingly late for my second block. Apparently the traffic was caused by problems with some trains along C5…

The perfect way to KICK-OFF the day

7) Eric F. (Junior)

There was so much traffic in the morning that I thought I was going to be late, but then believed I might actually make it on time – only to realise that I did not have my shoes with me. I ended up going to school without shoes.

First Impressions

6) Sophi L. (Junior)

Last summer I had an internship at the Embassy of Canada, which was on Ayala avenue. I left my house one hour before I was supposed to arrive but didn’t really anticipate how bad the traffic was going to be. I ended up being late on the first day.

Rain, rain go away, you just wasted half my day.

5) Tiffany L. (Sophomore)

During the typhoon in 2010, I was stuck outside for 12 hours. The traffic was terrible because of the flooding, and by the time I got home, it was already around midnight.

When the wheels on the bus didn’t go round n’ round.

4) Josh M. (Junior)

Over the summer, I had training from 6-8pm in Mandaluyong. I left by 4 so I could get there at least 30 minutes before practice started, but by 6, I wasn’t even on EDSA yet. The traffic that day was just horrible, and the bus I was on had only moved 200m over an hour and a half. I ended up walking in the rain from SLEX near Magallanes all the way to Ayala where I just caught a ride back home.

Is that the rain, or is it just my tears?

3) Liah G. (Senior)

I get on the bus and realize 5 minutes into the ride that I really need to pee. To make things worse, we get stuck in traffic for 2 hours and it’s pouring. Because of the rain, the bus doesn’t drop me off at my house, so I walk home in the freezing rain, ruining my shoes. When I finally get to my house, there’s nobody inside. I’m alone outside in the dark and my phone is close to dying, I’m soaked, and I still need to pee.

The Curious Incident of the Dog on EDSA

2) Paul K. (Senior)

I once spent 6 hours trying to get home from Parañaque to Makati through traffic caused by a dog lying on EDSA.


1) Rocio T. (Freshman)

One time, my younger brother really had to go to the bathroom during a traffic jam on McKinley hill. Needless to say, that Snapple bottle isn’t filled with Snapple anymore…