The Commute

I have an 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM desk job in Makati. Since I live quite far from the financial center, I leave the house at around 6:15 AM to beat the traffic. I’m usually at work by 7:05 AM to 7:20 AM. With my horrendously early waking hours, morning training is out of the question. I’d just be too harried to be productive on the track. The sheer distance between my home, my place of work and my training grounds is too impractical.

Hence, I always train at night during weekdays. From Makati, I take the MRT all the way to Quezon City. I go home to take a quick shower, eat a light snack and get the car before going to either Moro (for track workouts) or the Celebrity Sports Club (for gym/plyo workouts).

I’m quite fortunate that my work is constrained by the fixed income trading hours. I rarely have to work overtime. Since I don’t bring a car to work, I make it a point to leave by 5:00 PM, to beat the afternoon rush hour crush. My place of work is a good 15 to 20 minute walk from the Ayala MRT station. In this brisk walk, I pass by the Ayala Triangle, a welcome respite of green amidst the concrete jungle of the central business district.

Ayala Triangle park. One of the dwindling green areas in the Metro.

Ayala Avenue cor. Makati avenue intersection

More often than not, this hurried trudge across covered and uncovered walkways and two shopping malls is uneventful – aside from the usual eye candies here and there (pretty faces abound in Makati!) or the random familiar face. If I don’t have to make stopovers at Glorietta or SM, I usually get to the Ayala MRT station by 5:30 PM.

Glorietta and SM Makati

Photo from Wikipedia

From this moment on, the commute becomes an excruciating ordeal. Stifled by the humidity and heat, the long lines and the sheer volume of bodies riding the MRT make compound the woes of this uncomfortable part of the journey. Taking the MRT at the peak of rush hour is not for the faint of heart. Amidst faceless crowds of office rats and construction workers (the MRT is the cheapest way to traverse the length of EDSA), a Darwinian mindset ensues among most commuters. Instead of allowing the disembarking passengers to alight first, the impatient throng of northbound commuters rush through the sliding doors as soon as it opens.

Photo from Reymund Navarro

I’ve gotten used to the sardine-like confines inside the tin cans called MRT coaches. The same goes to the smell of humanity that pervades the thick air. Thanks to my fit physique, hardly anyone can box me out, once I flex my well chiseled frame!

Photos from and

On average the MRT leg of the commute takes around 30 minutes, depending on how crowded the station and the trains are. I usually arrive at the Quezon Avenue MRT by  6:15 to 6:30 PM. I can opt to take a bus. But then again, this would add a good 30 minutes to the commute.

From the Quezon Avenue MRT station, I pass through the SM Centris Mall (another mall! Manila is dotted by a multitude of malls) to get to the jeepney station. The dilapidated, smoke-belching kings of the road traverse the length of Quezon Avenue and Elliptical Road. After around 15 to 20 minutes, I arrive at yet another mall.

I’m home by around 7:00 to 7:20 PM, a good 2 hours after I left the office! Such is the bad state of the Philippine transportation system. It eats up on what little free time I have left. Nevertheless, taking public transport is the cheaper alternative. I can opt to bring a car, but the fuel and gas costs would be too prohibitive.

After a quick check of the Facebook account and my blog (I’m an internet junkie!), a quick shower and a light snack, I head out for the 20-30 minute drive to Moro. I usually arrive at the Ateneo de Manila campus by 7:45 to 8:00 PM.

The Moro Lorenzo Sports Center!

I have a short 1-hour window to do my track workout. If I stay too long, what little rest time I have left at home will be gobbled up. Come to think of it, each track training day almost always translate into a sleepless night (4 to 5 hours of sleep on average) since I get home from training at around 9:45 – 10:00 PM. It’s a difficult balancing act that borders the absurd. Training without sufficient rest afterward is like a double-edged sword.

If I had it my way, I’d bunch up my training venues, my home and my place of work next to each other. At the end of each work and training day, I’m so exhausted that I’m tempted, at times, to just throw everything out and follow the herd. But the urge to stick it to the man is too strong. As they always say, rakenrol lang (let’s rock n’ roll!).

So long as I enjoy what I’m doing and remain motivated, I’d have to endure this grotesque routine.

Photo credits:



5 responses to “The Commute

  1. Monvdd September 20, 2010 at 1:02 AM

    Great writeup. I do pass by the same route going home. Underpasses and stairs. That’s my daily workout from the end of Ayala Avenue to Ayala MRT Station/Dusit Hotel Area although I often arrive home by the time you get back from your workout in Moro.

    I surely miss the Ateneo. Nakakamiss makakita ng puno. I need to earn my driving privileges soon. Nice photos as well, brah!

  2. Camilla September 20, 2010 at 1:50 AM

    wow, it’s really different! :) Cool too se how it is at your place ;)

  3. Pingback: Park and Ride! « hurdler49: Hurdling the Real World.

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