Hardworking mayors Mauricio Domogan and Romeo Salda are serious in cobbling a semblance of order for the burgeoning traffic, indicating vehicle volume in Baguio City and La Trinidad is stretching roads’ capacity.
But because of anarchic manner in which many motorists use the roads, it stands to reason that few tourists or new resident foreigners don’t dare drive on Baguio and La Trinidad roads.
There’s a prevailing joke among Baguio and La Trinidad residents: “Our roads are where men love to urinate on its sides, drivers are Filipinos who love to urinate on wheels of parked motor vehicles, never mind if there are passersby, particularly women, and they love doing it like hell while the police are the headhunters”.
The joke forces Ah Kong to conclude that if one can urinate anywhere in Baguio and La Trinidad and get away with his skin intact, he can drive anywhere else, including hell.
Even many residents who’ve been away from Cordillera for years and have gotten used to civilized driving in other countries refrain from handling a motor vehicle upon their return here.
They’d rather take taxicabs and face the risk of being victims of overcharging taxi drivers.
This reminds of an incident years back about a Japanese friend, assigned as agricultural consultant in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
The Japanese hopped one day in a taxi and told the driver to bring him to La Trinidad. Along the way, a vehicle zoomed past and the Japanese exclaimed, “Oh, Mitsubishi! Made in Japan. Very fast.”
Later, another vehicle sped by.” Aha, Nissan! Made in Japan. Very fast.” Still, another roared by. “Oho, Toyota! Made in Japan. Very fast.”
The taxi driver was annoyed by the Japanese passenger when, another vehicle passed the taxi. “Oh, Honda! Made in Japan. Very fast,” the Japanese cooed.
The taxi reached La Trinidad and the Japanese asked how much was the fare. The taxi driver pointed to his meter and said, “Four hundred pesos.”
“Four hundred pesos? Too `much!” My Japanese friend complained.
The taxi driver smiled and replied, “Meter, made in the Philippines. Very fast.”
Now, where were we? Aah, about our traffic. Residents observe many motorists have no discipline, or, if they have, don’t really drive. They just aim their vehicles in the intended direction. They are often dubbed “potential road rage.”
If at all, many have a culture marked by patent recklessness whereby there is a general, willful disregard of order and safety, with only their sense of autocracy behind the wheels, prevailing.
Take it from pedestrian observers, who say many motorists drive the way they do because they have yet to outgrow a survivalist mentality, following a tacit rule of each man to himself.
Elderly observers comment there are motorists who operate within “karma’s” domain. If accidents happen, they flee the scene, leaving victims to the mercy of emergency medics. Someday, these elders swear, what comes around, comes around.
There’s no yielding, for instance, to vehicles with the right of way. Who gets in the way first possess the right. Thus, many minutes-long gridlocks arise from just two motor vehicles not yielding right of way.
Many park along major road sides, don’t give a hang if their actions cause traffic jams, thumb their noses at police and smirk, “I park where I want. Catch me if you can” A direct challenge to authority. No?
In our land of fun-loving people, Ah Kong, therefore says, motorists love jam sessions. Compassionate people, Cordillerans are, we grit our teeth and take their shenanigans with a grain of salt.
We’re all affected by traffic standing still, one way or the other. Meantime, let’s wait for the forthcoming national legislation requiring proof of ownership of park space before one can purchase a vehicle. Let’s see how that helps.
Meanwhile, too, good natured Cordillerans are, we grin and bear it. So, when riding jeeps, believe the graffiti of the drivers in their jeeps, “God is My Co-pilot” maybe true.
Never mind if harried ladies keep looking at their watches, fidgeting they’d be late for work, drivers dilly-dally, stop here and there for long a time, causing further traffic jams while waiting for more passengers. The jeeps carry a message for the ladies, “The Driver is Single”. Ladies, don’t believe them, they, who always claim, “Drivers are good lovers”.
Or, turn the tables on drivers who have this slogan, “If you’re sexy, you’re free/if you’re fat, pay double/If you’re ugly, pay triple”. Dang it! Alight from the jeep. Consider yourself sexy. Don’t pay. Never mind if drivers cry foul.
Op kors naman, caramba! Who are others to judge us if you’re fat or ugly. Intiende!