It takes a special kind of skill to commute in the Philippines. In between bouts of traffic jams and hazardous weather conditions, you have to be armed with street smarts as you attempt to get from point A to point B. With all the diskarte and energy expended during commutes, it can be easy to forget your needs—in particular, your health needs. This is especially true for those who commute on a daily basis and are therefore more vulnerable to risks, health-related or otherwise.
If you are one of these daily commuters, it is vital for you to remember a few best practices to stay safe throughout your journey. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the ways that you can protect yourself during those grueling commutes when staying at home isn’t an option.
Bring Your Health Essentials
Being out and about means having to touch a lot of surfaces and breathing the air in compressed spaces. As such, you need to be equipped with all your essentials to prevent catching communicable diseases like the common cold or flu. For one, you should bring alcohol and hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean even in the absence of clean water and soap. It may also help to bring an extra face mask not just to mitigate respiratory illnesses, but also to keep your lungs and nose comfortable amid rampant pollution. Of course, it is highly recommended to stay updated on your vaccinations to get an added layer of protection against viruses and bacteria.
That said, pollutants play a significant role in worsening respiratory ailments. Sinusitis, for example, is an inflammatory disease that can become chronic with prolonged exposure to airborne irritants such as those found in vehicle smoke. Aside from best practices like keeping your mask on, it may help to maintain a stock of your go-to medications. You can search “gamot sa sinusitis’ online so you can easily replenish your stash, particularly during the cold/flu season.
Remember Basic Etiquette and Hygiene Practices
Local authorities generally discourage eating, talking, and drinking inside public transportation, particularly trains. Apart from making some of your fellow commuters uncomfortable, opening your mouth frequently can heighten the chances of harmful aerosols and respiratory droplets entering your body. With the whole world’s recent brush with COVID-19, it makes sense why you should refrain from eating, drinking, and talking while in transit. Apart from this, it’s also best to keep practicing physical distancing and avoid touching your face, mouth, nose, and eyes while out in public.
Be Informed About Road Conditions
Road closures can be quite common in the Philippines, especially during the wet season when streets, roads, and alleyways become unpassable due to floods. Checking out advisories on the news or on social media can be helpful if you want to skip the hassle of spending hours in a crowded bus or a never-ending queue of fellow commuters. Aside from helping you plan your commute, being up to date about road conditions can aid in identifying alternate routes to your destination.
Besides staying updated on road hazards, it would also be wise to stay informed about the latest modus operandi targeting unwary commuters. With the wealth of information available online, it wouldn’t be too hard to learn about sketchy scenarios and how to best avoid them.
Avoid Unnecessary Clothing and Belongings
As a rule of thumb, you should prioritize comfort over style when dressing for travel. Typically, overdressing and over-accessorizing will make you stand out and invite the eyes of pickpockets and other suspicious people. On top of that, wearing catwalk-ready clothes can be an uncomfortable experience and keep your focus away from your surroundings. Before you hop on that jeepney, FX, MRT, or tricycle, make sure to dress down and stay comfortable. If you need to dress up for work, opt for simpler clothing. You can also choose to wear more casual attire and change into your work clothes once you arrive at the office.
On a related note, it would also be ideal to pack lightly for your commute. If possible, limit yourself to one bag only to save you from the exhaustion of lugging too many things around. Plus, having only one bag—kept in front of you at all times—can help you dispel the attention of petty criminals. When packing your things, you should also consider bringing a coin purse for your pamasahe to eliminate the need to bring your wallet out.
Refrain from Flaunting Your Gadgets
The truth is, you never really know when you’re sitting next to someone who wants to take your things. To avoid being a victim of snatchers, avoid constantly bringing out your phone, tablet, and other gadgets. Better yet, bring only the most necessary items with you and leave the rest at home.
Follow Pedestrian Rules
Drivers need to follow road rules to avoid getting apprehended by authorities and ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Similarly, commuters need to be aware of the rules in place for the sake of order and safety. Make sure to cross only at designated pedestrian lanes and overpasses, especially during peak hours. When boarding a train or bus, make sure to line up properly, get behind safety lines, and let people alight before boarding. You may find these regulations burdensome, but following them can make a difference for you and everyone else.
Be Mindful of Your Surroundings
This one may be a no-brainer, but it’s still worth reminding commuters to be mindful of their surroundings at all times. No matter how tired you are, you should always pay attention to what is going on around you. You need to stay alert and vigilant to respond to honking cars, traffic enforcers, ambulance sirens, opened bag zippers, pickpockets, or any other outside factor that requires your attention. Remember, there are a lot of elements that can make you vulnerable the minute you step outside the house.
Anyone who has spent time in the Philippines, especially Metro Manila, knows how much of a challenge getting around can be. Still, the anxiety-inducing aspect of commuting shouldn’t stop you from being mobile even without your own vehicle. Even though commuting feels like being in constant survival mode, it doesn’t have to be totally impossible. You just need to know how to work around the obstacles and protect yourself as much as you can.