The VICE Guide to Right Now

New Report Finds it Takes 5 Minutes to Travel a Kilometre in Manila

And it’s about to get worse.
traffic in manila
Photo by Thor Alvis on Unsplash

Christmas starts early in the Philippines, which means the holiday rush and the traffic that comes with it have arrived too.

According to a recent report by navigation app Waze Inc., it took about 4.9 minutes to drive one kilometre (0.62 miles) in Metro Manila in September, the de facto start of the Christmas season in the Philippines, Bloomberg reported. This is significantly longer than the roughly 3.8 minutes it took in April.


Waze Country Lead Sarah Rodriguez told Bloomberg that Manila will likely top their 2019 list of worst cities to drive in and is seen to beat cities Bogota and Jakarta.

With the city’s growing population and inefficient public transport, the most convenient options for residents is to use private cars or ride-sharing apps. According to the report, this has caused movement patterns to change, with traffic now steadily building up throughout the day and then peaking at night.

“Two years ago, there were two spikes — morning rush hour and evening rush hour — then in between there was a dip. Now, it has changed. There’s no more midday dip,” Rodriguez said.

The situation is so bad that the Philippine’s economy loses PHP3.5 billion (approx. $68 million) daily from the lack of productivity, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said.

Metro Manila was also named most congested city by the Asian Development Bank in September. Bloomberg reported that the traffic situation will probably get worse as All Saints Day in Nov. 1 and Christmas, two major holidays in the Philippines, are fast approaching.

Waze expects a 16 percent jump in kilometres driven and a 10 percent increase in its 1.6 million active users over the peak of the November and December period this year.

“This is the time of the year when Filipinos travel the most and also spend the most time per drive,” Rodriguez said.

This is a longstanding problem in Manila. Commuters have had to do all sorts of crazy things like fake injuries and fight over seats on buses.

Many have urged the Duterte administration to do something about it but the presidential spokesperson himself said does not think it's a serious issue.

Conversion rate: PHP 1 = $ 0.02

Find Lia on Twitter and Instagram.