Cabby Killed The Bobby

Jun 3, 2011 by

As if traffic is not enough stress to make any peace-loving provincialle like me lose all the oxygen from one’s brain, here comes the original bobby-killers: Manila cab drivers.

These cab drivers don’t miss a beat every time I’m in the city. I go to Manila not to earn a living, but to watch musicals, visit friends, have coffee at Starbucks, party “where party claims to be”, and eat at Pepper Lunch. Some simple pleasures in life. And since I don’t have friends who are available 24/7 to take me around the city, I don’t have a choice but settle for the cabs to get myself around. This is where trouble always takes place. Dealing with rude Manila drivers translate to aging thrice the pace of those who live in Manhattan.

For instance.

In my recent trip to Manila, I was billeted in Makati CBD. I love that Inn where I always stay because it’s like the center of the universe. Upon stepping out of that secret little corner, one would find everything you need: ATMs, North Park, Seven Eleven, 11-A Internet Cafe, Forex, Pantaya Laundry Shop, The Matrix Girlie Bar, Rufus Tapsilogan, A-Venue, and a short walking distance to Rockwell. It’s simply paradise for a lazybone like me who gets spared from traveling to these basic necessities and subject myself to the filthy attitudes of Manila cabbies.

One afternoon, I was asked by my friends to go meet them in Ortigas at Metrowalk. I haven’t been to that place yet because I felt it was always out of the way so I thought that day was the right time to go check it out. It was a bit drizzling when I got out of the Inn and waited for a cab. It was 6 PM – a time that forebodes terror among Manila citizens. RUSH HOUR. Bazillions of cars headed for everywhere. Manila is in a frenzy every 6 PM onwards. I was oblivious to this fact. One taxi with a lit sign passed by and I hailed it. It is common practice in Manila that when taking a cab, one has to actually “ask” the driver if your destination is acceptable to their standards/mood/price. It’s like begging someone to take your money. Isn’t that ludicrous?

Just by mere mention of the word “Ortigas” the driver shuddered like we he was asked to bend over. I didn’t insist. Then the second empty cab came. No again. It’s like this whole Ortigas-Edsa tandem is an extremely deadly combination. The third cab halted. Same refusal. At that moment I was on the verge of calling for a car rental just to save myself from total lunacy. My other option was to call my friends and yell at them and blame them for all the stress I was going through at the moment. I opted for the second option. My friends were so apologetic they were telling me to calm down and just forget about Metrowalk and we’ll meet some other time. But my kind heart (sniff-sniff) took in some air, started to compose myself and challenged the situation to see if I can work my way through. The final cab came and I told myself if this cab still refuses my strategy, I’d be damned.

When I told the driver I wanted to go to Ortigas, he looked at me in wonderment and said ok sir. I was the happiest loser at that very moment. I jumped into the backseat and heaved a sigh. Three seconds later, the driver said, Ay Ortigas po ba kayo? Naku, grabe po trapik ngayon sa Edsa. Hatid ko na lang po kayo sa MRT dito sa Ayala. (Oh, Ortigas you say? Sir, the traffic in Edsa is horrible. Let me just take you to the train station here in Ayala). I almost forgot to breathe when I heard him say those things. Then, upon the suggestion of my brilliant friends I told the cabby to take the Mandaluyong Bridge (another route to avoid Edsa). He was still hesitant. Then I resorted to my classic approach: Manong, punyeta! I need to go to Ortigas NOW!!! Take me there and I’m going to give you 500 bucks. O baka gusto mo dagdagan ko pa kung kulang!?!? (Manong, fuck. blah-blah. Is that enough or you want more?) I have read that when you are in a developing country, the only way to make people grovel on your feet is to shove cash up their throats. Of course this does not hold true to all, but to most, yes. This includes people who at first refuse to sleep with you. Show ‘em some green bills and viola! Homebase.

I got to my destination an hour later. My stress level was enormous I had to drown myself in alcohol and spent the rest of the night analyzing why Claire Danes was right when she said the Philippines is reeking with cockroaches. These cockroaches are not hiding beneath your walls or inside your dressers. They drive around the buzzing Manila highways, and even if you cut their heads off or expose them to ultraviolet rays, they’ll keep hanging around to complete the picture of what we call Manila.

A related blogpost has been written, but there’s a good amount of spirituality. Read here.

Pinoy ingenuity in cabs. Spooning the knob. (source:




Is someone actually calling these numbers when necessary?! (source:

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