I plan to take driving lessons later this year so I will enroll in driving school sometime in the last quarter. I will not take lessons from the husband who's a fantastic driver (even if he very graciously offered) as I want him to live longer and not get a coronary. I also want our marriage to not end up in annulment over the fights we will surely have. That is another story altogether, though.
Since my office is in Cebu City, I take one tricycle ride and three jeepney rides to get there. That's a total of four rides, and the whole thing takes approximately an hour. I don't mind. I've always used public transport to get around. In college, when I studied in Manila at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, I commuted using public transport. I took the tricycle, the jeepney, the FX, the cab, the bus and the MRT to get aound. What I'm trying to say is, I'm used to it.
I have put together a list of tips for surviving your daily public commute. I'll share them to you as I'm feeling particularly generous today. I hope you'll find them useful.
1. Wear comfortable shoes
I'm a worker bee in the corporate scene. I've been one for almost nine years now. In my office, from Mondays through Thursdays, the prescribed attire is business casual. That said, I'm always in high heels. However, running after a jeepney during rush hour in them is a royal pain. This is where comfortable footwear comes in. You can wear oxfords or flat sandals. You can wear flipflops but your feet can get dusty, or if it's raining, caked in mud. I've contemplated wearing sneakers but they don't look great paired with opaque tights.
My choice, though, is my trusty pair of black ballet flats. I bought mine for less than 500 pesos. I'll wear them out in less than a year, I'm sure of that, but because I wear them practically every day, I'll say that's money well spent.
2. Bring an umbrella or a rain coat
Living in the tropics means the weather has multiple personalities. It's best to be prepared for sudden downpours. I always bring my flowered umbrella with me. It's foldable, lightweight and sturdy enough for garden variety storms. It's cute and girly, too. However, take note, no umbrella can survive monsoon type weather that makes sea levels rise to alarming heights. If it's raining that hard and the winds feel like they can sweep you off your feet - and of course, I mean that in a non-fairy tale romance kind of way -, then stay put and wait it out.
I had considered rain coats, but no one in her right mind and over ten looks good wearing them. I would really push for umbrellas over rain coats because you can use the former when it's high noon and sweltering hot. Yes, I sometimes use the umbrella on sunny days. Uh-huh, I'm Pinoy like that. Hot days in the tropics are really hot, after all. If you want to use an umbrella and wear something that will protect you from the rain and the cold, then toss in a jacket too. I like my blue and white letterman jacket that bears my company's name. It just sucks that 4276 other people have the same one. It fits neatly in my bag and not heavy to lug around when not in use.
If you're concerned about getting drenched but you really have an aversion to umbrellas (like the husband who will walk in the rain to get from the car parked in the farthest corner of the lot to the store), then just pack a lightweight jacket with a hoody in water resistant fabric.
3. A fan is a lifesaver
When you take public transportation, get ready to be shoved, crammed and squeezed into teeny tiny spaces. This means it will get humid. This means you will sweat buckets. A foldable fan will be your best friend. Trust me.
4. Keep loose change
Nothing irks a cab/tricycle/bus/jeepney driver more than you handing him a 100-peso bill at six in the morning. Nuff said.
5. Be on the lookout for other essentials you might want to include in your commuting arsenal.
These include, but are not limited to, wet wipes, sunnies and antibacterial gel.
There you have it. Now you can brave public transportation without looking and feeling like a Ceres bus bound for Argao ran you over.
See you on the 04L!