According to the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the rising sales of vehicles in the country will make the capital “uninhabitable” in the next four years.
John Forbes, the chamber’s senior advisor, said that they are expecting annual vehicular sale to reach 500,000 per year—and without improved infrastructure, the traffic in the country will reach a standstill.
What exactly does a standstill look like? If you were stuck in any of the worst traffic jams the Philippines has ever seen, you know exactly what.
1. The flashflood carmageddon of 2015
“I left the office on September 8, I arrived home on September 9,” one netizen told the Philippine Daily Inquirer when was about being stuck in traffic for hours. Another account from a disgruntled netizen said that it took him six hours before he could get home.
The stretch of Edsa looked like Christmas lights as the traffic turned the highway into one big messy parking lot. The culprit? The heaviest rainfall ever recorded, at 61 millimeters per hour. The torrential rain, which lasted for around three hours, was enough to flood major roads such as Don Chino Roces Avenue, Gil Puyat Avenue, and Macapagal Avenue.
2. The MRT overshoot at Taft Station
Just when you thought Train to Busan was already a locomotive disaster, think of the time when a train of the MRT-3 derailed at the line’s terminal at Edsa corner Taft Avenue.
According to MRT spokesperson Hernando Cabrera, the train that exited Taft Station’s barriers was non-operational and being pushed by another train from Magallanes Station, where it broke down.
Aside from the 38 people who were injured by the accident, the derailment also blocked sections of Edsa as the overshooting train was being removed. The crash worsened the traffic in the area—not to mention the accident happened before rush hour.
3. Pope Francis’ visit in the Philippines
Not even men who would be king are spared from the metro’s horrendous traffic. According to reports, even President Rodrigo Duterte, then Davao City Mayor, took around five hours to get to a mall from his hotel in Manila during Pope Francis’ visit in Manila.
With dozens of traffic rerouting schemes to make the papal visit in the country a remarkable one, millions of Filipino commuters suffered from getting stuck at intense traffic jams.
4. The five-day Iglesia ni Cristo rally
Last year, members of local church group Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) staged a five-day rally on the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Edsa.
Before the members of the INC picketed on Metro Manila’s busiest highway, church spokesperson Edwil Zabala organized a vigil outside the Department of Justice in Manila to call for the non-intervention of the government in the allegations of abduction of some dissident members.
The 5,000-strong rallyists occupied the intersection, which caused some massive traffic jams in the metro. Some commuters were reported to be stranded for more than four hours.
5. The APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Pasay
When you’re about to host one of the biggest meetings of world leaders in the region, expect security to be ironclad and traffic lanes assigned exclusively for world leaders–while ordinary citizens must endure being crammed with each other.
During the APEC Summit in the Philippines, portions of Edsa, Roxas Boulevard, Magallanes Skyway, and a section of the SM Mall of Asia complex were closed to vehicles, forcing motorists to make drastic detours.
While it primarily paralyzed the southern portion of Metro Manila, the slow return of vehicles to the northern portion of the capital left some passengers stranded. Fortunately, it will take several years again before we become the host of the APEC summit.