Despite the traffic
I learned to take a taxi frequently in 1995 when we moved to Villa del Rio in Bacayan, Talamban. At that time very few taxis reached our place because it was sparsely populated then. It was considered far and remote, and it was only when you agreed to the driver’s bargain to add twenty pesos to the taxi fare that you could get a ride. Every time I had to fly to Manila for a monthly meeting at the NCCA, I had to take a jeepney first to Talamban proper to get a taxi and drive back to my residence to get my luggage. By 2000, things changed for the area became densely populated, the roads developed, schools and subdivisions were mushrooming, streets were more lighted. Suddenly, our place was like a little city, and now we are being punished with a horrible traffic nightmare, the BanTal (Banilad-Talamban) traffic.
Before the BanTal traffic developed, when the three flyovers – the Banilad, Tesda and Ayala – were constructed, I always left for work before 6:30 in the morning. The experience of passing by all these constructions forced me to find alternate routes whether long or short. I always wanted to be punctual for work and for any other activity be it a meeting or a seminar. With so many responsibilities in addition to teaching, taking a taxi to my destination reduces stress especially when the taxi is clean, the driver is neat and courteous and is a good conversationalist. All errands are accomplished if the itinerary is properly plotted. There were instances from 2002 to 2004 when I hired a taxi owned by a neighbor to bring us to as far as Carcar and Argao to conduct a heritage forum and local history writing workshop. We did not want to stay overnight. There were no Vans for hire yet and at that time the rate was very affordable and traffic was not that bad.
When I retired and I had to go for dialysis twice a week (I am now on my seventh year), all the more I take a taxi because my schedule is on the first shift which used to be 7 in the morning, then it became earlier from 6:30 a.m. down to 5 a.m. This year it’s 4:30 a.m., so I am at the hospital by 4 a.m.
The jeepney takes much longer because it had to pick up passengers and go around the Business Park. Getting a taxi is never a problem for I just call the guardhouse and request for a taxi. I prefer the first shift schedule because of the monstrous traffic in BanTal. Going home from work in the evening is less stressful when avoiding peak hours. I also avoid crowds as much as possible. Thank God for the malls for we can do so many things to while away the hours while waiting for the traffic to become lighter. Getting a taxi in malls has become less stressful with the priority given to senior citizens especially when doing some groceries.
I have nothing against jeepneys, but I am discouraged in taking the jeepney because they are not meant for senior citizens – with very high steps that one needs to be a gymnast in boarding and alighting, and narrow multicab type with uneven flooring that one needs to keep his or her balance. I still take the jeepney for short distance appointments or errands or if it is along the route.
My frequent taking of taxis is such that even my four year old neighbor named Troy who comes to the house often to play and tell stories with me has taken notice of it. Twice he tried to request that I order from Jollibee and have it delivered because he likes chickenjoy and sundae. When I told him that I don’t have money he answered that I always take a taxi. I had to explain to him why I always take a taxi.
One may ask isn’t it costly? It’s a big chunk in my budget, but I make it a point that I do not buy expensive things, avoid luxurious items. What matters most is that going about the things we do doesn’t have to be stressful. The traffic in the route I take everyday has taught me how to plan and organize my activities. It also made me wake up early without using an alarm clock. Despite the traffic, I still enjoy the scenery when going home – the green mountains, the trees and plants, the fields, the river.
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