Commuting can be difficult, whether during the rainy season or in the summer. While there is the risk of getting mugged by snatchers and thieves, the downpour complicates the already-chaotic public transportation scene: traffic accidents and health hazards await you left and right, and you, the commuter, must be equipped with survival strategies and tactics that can help you stay safe and sane as you navigate the concrete jungle of Manila.
Bring boots or rain-ready footwear.
You’ll never know if and when you’ll get caught in the middle of a downpour and get your feet wet, so a good commuter always has an extra pair of socks and slippers stashed away in their bag. Forget style and fashion, and leave a pair of slippers in the office in case you need to leave while it’s pouring rain. You may not be your best-dressed self, but at least you won’t damage your precious pair of shoes. If you get your feet wet, do wash them upon reaching home.
Use a coin purse.
Keeping a coin purse means you don’t have to take out your wallet all the time, which would give thieves an idea of how many cards—and therefore, how much wealth—you have. It doesn’t matter whether you don’t think you’re wealthy (it’s all about perception). Your coin purse can contain just that: barya, a few hundred pesos for small purchases on the road, and your trusty Beep card.
Bring essentials such as alcohol and a face mask.
Just look at all the things you’re touching in public—elevators, jeepney rails, et cetera—and imagine just how dirty your hands can be. So it’s good to have a small hand sanitizer or alcohol bottle in your bag for hygiene and sanitation purposes. And given how polluted it’s become in Manila; face masks will help protect your lungs. Lastly, a small pack of wipes will be good to have in case you have a bathroom emergency.
Be vigilant while on the street.
It can be tempting to check your phone every now and then. That said, walk the same way you would drive: free of distractions, with eyes on the road. Resist the urge to text or scroll through your social media feed while on the street. Your divided attention may cause you to bump into somebody, fall into a hole, or walk into a hazard such as fallen electric cables. If you must use your phone, step out of pedestrian traffic, and look for a quiet yet well-lit spot.
Listen to your surroundings.
Phones these days have allowed us to enjoy music virtually anytime, anywhere. But listening to tunes or podcasts with your earphones on is a safety risk, especially when you’re out on the street. Vigilance and alertness are key –– without listening, you may not hear cars honking, ambulance sirens, people who may be calling your attention, or other events that may need your quick response.
Use sidewalks and pedestrian lanes.
Manila is not exactly a pedestrian-friendly city, so don’t make it worse for yourself and others by not following traffic rules and road signs. If a sign says, “do not cross,” find the nearest overpass or designated pedestrian lane. It may take longer to get to your destination, but the additional seconds can save your life and help keep the flow of traffic smooth.
Learn road closures in advance.
Manila’s dire situation means that the same roads, alleyways, and avenues will be closed off to motorists and pedestrians during the rainy season. Listen to advisories or ask your neighborhood officer for a quick assessment of your nearby area and to see which streets are passable or not. This will help save you precious time in planning your commute, and change routes if needed.
When the rain pours and the skies turn gray, you will need to take extra precautions and be more vigilant when it comes to commuting during the rainy season. Stay protected and guard yourself against unpredictable hazards during this time of year with a Personal Accident Insurance plan, which secures your safety every day. Get in touch with an FWD financial professional to get started.