Math, Science and Philosophy in a Traffic Jam (or You know you’ve been stuck in traffic on EDSA too long when you start to think of this)

Wishful Thinking -- free-flowing traffic on EDSA during rush hour

Life imitates art and art imitates life.  Art has nothing to do with the succeeding statements and most certainly not with traffic jams on EDSA.

While we look at the volume of vehicular traffic flowing inside the metropolis,  we can picture the phenomenon of traffic jams as a reflection of the quality of life there.  The higher the frequency of traffic snarls, the higher the frequency of how the citizenry gnarls at each other.  “Progress” has made us all lead all such fast-paced lives that in order for us to enjoy whatever remaining time for ourselves, we cannot slow down for anyone.  Getting stuck in traffic, whether driving or riding on public transportation, will always be enough to make anyone’s blood boil.

Those who get stuck in traffic long enough would eventually come up with something short of a breakthrough to make them say that time lost in gridlock is worth it.  Once again, I had the chance to experience Friday and Saturday traffic on this stretch of road that is the heart of my dear Metro Manila and I had a pleasant round of breakthrough thinking of sorts.   Yeah, right.

I thought:

  1. Move over, Einstein*.  The LTO, LTFRB, and banks** are the true freakin’ masters of time and space.  It seems they know how to make a finite stretch of highway absorb the ever-growing amount of traffic they put in.  I hope car manufacturers invent a vehicle that phases in and out of real time.
  2. The average MMDA enforcer is fond of watching molasses flow from a open spout that’s a millimeter wide.  He has to be a patient SOB to even try to attempt sorting out traffic on EDSA or he can also be fond of just watching the grasses sway with the wind in the probinsya.
  3. Jeepneys on the Pasay/ Baclaran end of EDSA can form a team with a unique ability that rivals that of swimmers — SYNCHRONIZED SWERVING.
  4. You can have a very fast car;  on EDSA in rush hour, that thing can only be as fast as calesa drawn by a sick and ageing horse.
  5. Each veteran driver on EDSA is a potential race car driver; just look at them go zoom zoom after they hit the expressways.
  6. The bulk of motorcycle drivers must be big fans of the great Ramon Revilla and his agimats.  They seem to think they’re invincible when they move through traffic.  I am glad no car driver decides to open doors in the middle of a traffic jam.
  7. Majority of bus drivers have poor eyesight.  They cannot even see the vehicles on their side mirrors.
  8. If you’re into trading of consumer goods, invest in urine bottles to sell on EDSA just for the holiday season.  I think the traffic is going to get worse.
  9. The MMDA’s key to happiness is to maintain low expectations.  Just look at how happy they are with the number coding scheme for buses.  They think it’s successful; I don’t think it made an impact at all.
  10. To those stuck in traffic while riding public transportation:  If patience is a virtue, then blessed are the people with cellphones with built-in TV feature.
  11. If you think you can go through life as fast as you can just because you think you can, think again.  There are other people who think the same way and they’re crowding the same road you’re on.


* As an aside, I suddenly remembered our old family driver who we fondly referred to as Einstein.  No offense to the name of the brilliant scientist, our family driver was a master of time and space, too.  He drove our family car into tight spots we never knew it could fit.  Sadly, his genius was also his undoing.  As an aside to this aside, he also thought at one time that all things orange must be instant orange juice powder.  That was before he got introduced to cheese powder.

** Ever wondered why there are so many private cars on the road now? Match that with the number of car loan ads you see.  Match that again with repossessed cars.  I think it’s a cycle and  I should stop thinking.



  1. wait til i get my license updated (currently on leave). if you haven’t seen hulk girl on wheels, i’d show you.

    pasalamat sila wala pang binebentang pison na kaya tumakbo ng at least 50km/hr, kahit yun papatusin ko.

      1. I was in the Philippines this summer, stayed there for 7 weeks…. traffic was beyond comprehension… I swear I was going to have a massive coronary had we stayed longer.

        1. Oh, you should come by for the Christmas holiday and try driving near the malls on rush hour. LOL.

          Coronary, eh? You actually tried driving here? Buti you didn’t go super nuts.

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