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Saturday, March 28, 2009

We Did Our Part…

That’s one full hour… 20:30 to 21:30 (12:30 to 13:30 UTC/GMT), March 28, 2009… not a single light bulb was alit in our house…

… for planet earth.

And what better way to remember our participation by than a couple of photos taken during that hour...

Unfortunately, all the while I had the words “Earth Day” stuck in my mind… so instead of writing “EH ’09” for “Earth Hour 2009” I wrote “ED ’09”. Sigh…

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I finally have them!!! And I got them for only a third of their original prices!!! Megatron's from SM Manila and Prime's from Gateway (thanks to my good friend, Arnel).

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Sick Joke... Courtesy of the MMDA

MMDA's U-turn slots... they've been around for several years now and have since caused many accidents (fatal and non-fatal) and innumerable inconveniences to both motorists and pedestrians alike. However, it seems that to the MMDA, traffic improvement is much more important than the welfare and the lives of pedestrians and motorists, such that it listed "traffic improvement" as one of its main accomplishments in 2008.

The MMDA started installing U-turn slots a few years ago (4 years ago, I reckon) at a RUMORED cost of *BLEEEEP* per slot.

When the U-turn slot scheme was implemented, traffic lights at intersections were instantly rendered useless which initially caused confusion among motorists.

Also, at the time, there was not yet a single footbridge erected... and so, for pedestrians, crossing the street became a deadly game of "patintero". And, many lives were lost because of that.

Alarmed by the numerous accidents and deaths happening around us at the time, an officemate of mine phoned the MMDA office to complain about the situation and suggested that immediate measures needed to be taken. She was simply told that they have already received reports of the accidents and that plans for footbridges have already been made but no budget has been approved yet.

Eventually, after several months, footbridges got constructed one by one.

But even with the footbridges already in place and usable, many people still preferred risking life and limb in crossing the streets. I don't blame them, really, since the footbridges are spaced too far apart and are quite laborious to climb.

And so, the accidents continued. Actually, another life was lost just a couple of nights ago... an old man's.

Despite all the accidents, the MMDA seems to be very proud of its handiwork. So much so that last year, a study by the MMDA reported that the U-turn slots have been generating 40 to 50 million pesos in savings for motorists since 2005.

However, I’ve read somewhere about a research done by two civil engineers from the University of the Philippines which found that an estimated 7.54 BILLION PESOS are LOST due to U-turn related accidents!

I really cannot understand why SOME people can't see the dangers and inconveniences that the U-turn slots present! They're so obvious even without getting into the statistics of it!

Allow me to take them one-by-one:

Non-use of traffic lights presents an open invitation to speed maniacs to drive at very high speeds. (Laws against driving above the speed limit? Oh, come on! We have laws agains theft and graft and corruption and yet... nevermind...)

The U-turn slots require motorists to do dangerous stunts. Take this for example, if you're driving your car coming from Timog Avenue going to West Avenue, upon reaching Quezon Avenue (Delta) you have to cross four BUSY lanes of traffic in less than 300 meters to get to the nearest U-turn slot and, after taking the U-turn, cross another four BUSY lanes (in, again, less than 300 meters) to get to the corner of West Avenue and make your turn. That's like playing "catch-me-if-you-can" with catastrophe! Traffic enforcers used to make a profit out of this kind of driving, they made up a violation called "swerving". Although "swerving" is not a TRUE violation, there's no question that IT IS DANGEROUS!

The concrete barriers that are used to mark the slots are deadly! They also present a ridiculous obstacle for large vehicles. I've already lost count of how many buses and trucks I've seen that had to back up twice or more just to make the turn (causing a small traffic jam in the process). Other than that, the concrete barriers also occupy space (one or two lanes at least).

If traffic on the opposite lane comes to a stand still, the other lane will surely also suffer the same fate soon enough as those who want to take the U-turns will not be able to and, thus, will start piling up and fill up the opposite lane. It's a chain reaction.

The footbridges... well, as I've already mentioned, they're spaced too far apart. Also, standing at least 2 storeys high, the footbridges make for a torturous climb for disabled and elderly people (add to that those with fear of heights). I've seen so many people stopping at about two-thirds of the way up to catch their breath. In addition, the footprints of the supports/columns of these footbridges are quite large that they eat up a significant amount of space on walkways/sidewalks. Come to think of it, they deserve to be pasted with one of those “PANGIT” and “SAGABAL” posters that the MMDA is posting all over the metro!

With that, I rest my case.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yellow Lane?! COW DUNG!!!

In all of my trips to the MMDA Headquarters in Guadalupe (went there four times for my complaint) I saw MANY private vehicles occupying the yellow lane and yet, I never saw anyone of those get pulled over by any traffic enforcer!

Just take a look at these photos... these were taken on a Friday, by the way.

Notice the MMDA Headquarters nearby... the first time I went there there were even a whole bunch of MMDA Traffic Enforcers standing at the corner across the street from the MMDA building, and not one of them seemed to take notice of the endless flow of private vehicles occupying the yellow lane! NOT ONE!!!

Tell me, Mr. Bayani Fernando... is the Yellow Lane Rule still in effect? If it is, then clearly you don't know what your men are doing (or NOT doing, for this matter) and/or YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Encounter with an MMDA Traffic Enfor... Extortionist

Read this on the Philippine Daily Inquirer website this morning…
MANILA, Philippines – Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Bayani Fernando is hurting over a Court of Appeals decision that described the agency as having an “iron-hearted stance” when it comes to its sidewalk clearing operations.

In reaction to the court’s Feb. 27 ruling ordering the MMDA to pay P50,000 in damages to a woman whose sari-sari store was demolished by the agency in 2005, Fernando Monday said it was unfair for the CA to use such a term.

“When the court makes a decision, does it mean [it’s] iron-hearted? Maraming involved dun [There are a lot of things involved there], it’s not a personal decision. I wish the court would not say those things because it’s damaging to our institution,” he told the Inquirer (parent company of

“The court cannot accuse us of being arbitrary and high-handed. Tingin namin wala kaming pagkakamali [In our opinion, we did nothing wrong]. We have to bring this up to the Supreme Court because we don’t want our people to be unjustly blamed,” Fernando said.

The appellate court’s decision reversed a ruling by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on Dec. 19, 2007, which said the MMDA had the right to demolish Gloria Fenol’s store because it was built on the sidewalk which, according to the lower court, was government property. The appellate court, however, said Fenol’s store, which was located on Edsa, Cubao, was built on private property.

The court stressed that the MMDA should have “exercised more caution and should have refrained from showing their iron-hearted stance” when Fenol presented documents to show that the store was on private property.

Fernando, meanwhile, said that in Fenol’s case, the MMDA might have found violations on easements.

“It’s not as simple as having a permit because there are regulations. It was a judgment call made by my men when they removed the store,” he added.

Fernando said that despite all the flak they have been getting and attempts to harm their men, the MMDA would remain relentless in dismantling all kinds of obstructions to help ease road traffic.


It was a little over a month ago when I was issued a traffic violation ticket (ARBITRARILY) by an IRON-HEARTED and HIGH-HANDED MMDA Traffic Enforcer, a new recruit at that.

It was for a supposed YELLOW LANE violation.

I said “supposed” because I was intending to make a turn and went inside the yellow lane (Note: I was within a portion of the yellow lane where private vehicles are allowed when I did so). It just so happened that I changed my mind and decided to take the next turn.

But before I can get out of the yellow lane again and WHILE I WAS STILL WITHIN the portion of yellow lane where private vehicles are allowed, the high-handed traffic enforcer pulled me over and told me that I violated the law.

I tried talking to the guy in a civilized manner explaining to him how I DIDN’T violate any law… but there’s no reasoning with the guy. He kept on telling me that I had committed a violation. He told me that I should have made the turn.

Then he asked me TWICE if he should issue me a ticket.

Now, we all know what that means!

So, I blew my top off and raised my voice at him.

I don’t know what it was with the guy, but for quite a while he didn’t seem to notice that I was already fuming mad.

When I was asking my wife for money after sarcastically asking him if he wants me to bribe him, the creep (clueless as he seemed to be) managed to utter the all-too-common line that his kind uses: “Baka ho labag sa kalooban niyo yan, bago lang po ako dito, baka isumbong niyo po ako.” (Are you sure that’s not against your will? I’m new here, you might report this against me.”) to which I replied "Parepareho kayo ng linya!" ("You guys use the same line!") To my surprise, the creep stood there still waiting for the money!!!

Knowing FOR SURE that I did not violate any law, I made a scene… an embarrassing scene, actually. I tried to give him what he was asking for in a not so discreet manner (read: Garapalan niyang hiningi, garapalan ko ring ibinibigay). Why should I bribe him if I didn’t commit any violation in the first place?!

So with all the people walking past us, I was asking him to take the money with a very loud voice, yelling at him hysterically.

I guess he noticed that he could get into trouble with what I was doing… he hurriedly left my side without saying a word, walked to the front of the car, and filled up my ticket.

But I wasn’t done yet.

I got out of the car and went after the creep and yelled at him some more saying “Abuso ka eh!!!” which caught the attention of many passersby.

“Naka-uniporme ako, sinisigawan mo ako?!” (“I’m a man in uniform and you dare shout at me?!) he yelled back.

“Bakit hindi?! Wala ka sa lugar eh! Abuso ka eh!” (“Why not?! You’re out of your line! You’re abusive!”) I growled.

He handed the ticket to me and declared that he’s confiscating my license.

Since I was left with no other choice, I let him.

As we were driving away, the creep continued to yell at me, which was understandable. However, his last sentence was unacceptable… “Bakit hindi mo nalang ako suntukin?!” (“Why don’t you just punch me?!”)

I’m not so naïve as to give him the upper hand by doing that… I had been counting my points against him and I already had four at that time.

First, I was within a portion of the yellow lane where private vehicles are allowed when he pulled me over.

Second, he told me that I should have made the turn. That means that I have not violated any law up to that point (he pulled me over while I was between the two corners of the street where I originally intended to make a turn). Either that or he meant that I should’ve made the turn so I can escape him.

Third, he asked me if he’s going to issue me a ticket (twice). If I DID violate any law, why is he asking me if he should issue me a ticket?

Fourth, he forced me to bribe him.

And fifth, he invited me to punch him.

So, I went to the MMDA headquarters to file a complaint. And what trouble it caused me… well, salary deductions to be more specific as I took three half-days off from work for it.

Well, to keep a long story short, the creep didn’t show up for the two hearings! In the end, my supposed violation was canceled and I now have my license back.

I was told by one of the staff at the MMDA headquarters that I can file a civil case against the guy if I wanted to. I would have done so if I wouldn’t have to take leave from my work every now and then.

I may have won the case, but I can’t help but feeling that I lost... for letting an EXTORTIONIST go scot-free…

Oh well...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Boracay!!! Finally! Got the chance to go there! Woohoo!!!

And I love it!

Saw some really interesting stuff... *wink* *wink*

Wish we had a bigger budget because I would surely have tried parasailing and scuba diving. Sigh...

Anyway, it was mostly cloudy when we were there, so I'm kind of sad I wasn't able to get the perfect beach photo.

But then, I was able to get this... I entitle it "How NOT to light a cigarette"... hehehe...

And this one which can speak for itself...

For a serious take on this, head on to my other blog. :)

Note: It's good to be blogging again... sigh! :)

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