Jun 14, 2013
Rainy season finally came here in the Philippines and regular classes are just around the corner. With millions of students crossing every major road all over the metro, it is probable that heavy traffic will strike anytime anywhere. The regular commuting population is already massive that mostly consists of employees and job seekers that gets even bigger when mixed with students that exponentially grows every year. So just imagine how hard it is to get stuck in the middle of a heavy traffic that sometimes gives you a feeling of living inside a small cage. But don’t bother yourself whenever this day comes because there are several ways that you can do deal with this. The list below is based on three years of spending four to five hours a day of commuting from my home in Bulacan to my office in Makati and back.
Listen to your favorite music or audio books. I think everyone here already have a mobile phone or MP3 player that you can use to kill time listening to music or audio books. If you’re a student or an employee seeking to become more productive while on the road, you can listen to audio books to learn a new skill or to enhance what you already have. To convert a PDF file that contains texts to audio files (speech format), you can use PistonSoft that can help you in creating your own audio books.
It’s Play Time! If you got stuck in traffic, now is the best time to play! When I finally got bored with my own music on a very slow moving traffic, this is the only chance that I spend my time playing games. One of my favorite is playing Poker on my old Nokia 6500 or playing Plants vs Zombies on my Samsung Wave II. When I got the chance to upgrade to Samsung Galaxy Note 2 via employee plans, I then switch to a more interactive game like Ben 10: Xenodrome, Raiden 2013, Vector and Glow Hockey. Occasionally, I brought my wife’s iPad 2 with me from which I can play more addictive stuff like Zenonia 4 and Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy. What games do you play on your mobile phone or tablet?
Read, Read, Read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. – William Faulkner. If it’s the last fifteen minutes of my time at work, I skim for interesting topics on my Feedly list and convert each web page to a PDF via htmlpdf.com and transfer them in my phone. Alternatively, I synched my gReader app via WiFi to download all the articles so that I can read them offline on my way home. Reading on a moving bus is difficult that can also put a strain on your eyes. So whenever you’re in the middle of a heavy traffic, use your time wisely. Read!
Hunt for Wi-Fi Hotspots. Here in the Philippines, buses with Wi-Fi are now becoming a norm that enhances the commuting experience of their customers. Bus companies seem to recognize that surfing the internet is the best way to ease the painful experience brought by traffic jams. Here in the Philippines, some jeepneys also employ the same technology to improve their service and to gain more customers. But what will you do if you’re on a bus with no Wi-Fi? Simple, just use your mobile phone to hunt for the nearest bus with Wi-Fi hotspot. Since everyone is stuck on the same road, it is more likely that the bus nearest to you has an open access point. Go ahead and scan using your phone or tablet. Just a reminder, use HTTPS whenever possible to avoid your Facebook or Twitter account from being hacked. But since this is enabled by default, you have nothing to worry about. To be safe just use the free open Wi-Fi to surf the internet and avoid using it to log in any online account that you own.
Relax and try to take a nap. During my first two months of commuting, it is really hard for me to take a nap while the bus is moving. It makes me dizzy especially if the bus driver feels like he is racing against other buses in a race track. But after experiencing a major traffic jam with a dead phone, I can’t do anything but to take a short sleep. From then on, even the bus is moving I can take a nap for up to 10 minutes that revitalizes my mind making me alert and more conducive to learning. Take note that I do not advise you to sleep for the whole duration of your trip. It is known that it is more dangerous for people who are asleep when road accidents occur compared to those who are awake.
The activities suggested above assume that you’re a passenger and not a driver of any type of vehicle. Otherwise, you can try other activities like listening to a radio etc. to keep you from pulling your hair out. Do you easily get mad whenever you’re stuck in a heavy traffic? What did you do to lessen the discomfort? Let us know the experience by posting your comments below.