Manila is a very interesting city, full of contrasts. I am not going to go into an entire socio-political-geographical discussion, but instead focus on one specific contrast. Their roads look just like ours—they are mostly well maintained, with overpasses, green and white street signs, and lane stripes. There is a difference though: drivers in Manila must be the best drivers in the world. Despite the fact that no one seems to notice the lanes, and everyone drives like there are no other cars on the road, I have not seen one single accident, much less the mass fatalities one would think would happen with the insane driving here. The buses just change lanes, moving over regardless of whether there is a car, or a motorcycle, or a pedestrian in their desired spot. And pedestrians just walk in between the cars, whether traffic is moving or not. Often, people don’t even drive in one lane—they kind of hover between two lanes, or three cars will fit into two lanes.
And the horns! They use horns to tell other cars where they are, horns to yell at cars for moving over into their space, horns to get the pedestrians to stop…..one time we were driving down a deserted road and my driver honked at nothing. Out of habit? To hear himself honk? Who knows.
I have to close my eyes sometimes because I am sure that this is the time that bus is going to run us off the road. So far it hasn’t happened! I am in Manila for another three hours before I head for the airport. Hopefully I will make it safely. See you back Stateside!!