Family Commute Challenge

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Most Filipino families are either on vacation or staycation this time of the year because of the Lenten season. Our family does not usually go on vacations this season because beaches and resorts are almost always fully booked and crowded.

However, this year, we had no choice but go on a three-day staycation in my in-laws’ place in Quezon City. Maynilad has scheduled a major repair of their pipes that supplies water to the southern metropolitan area to include Las Pinas where we live.

Since we don’t have a car anymore to use, we had to use public transport. I was a bit hesitant to commute from south to north add to it the hassle of carrying our huge bags with the kids in tow. Instead of looking at as a challenge, my husband and I took what seemed a challenge as adventure with the kids.

We left the house around10:30 in the morning of Wednesday and headed to the bus station in Alabang. The bus ride was not comfortable because of the cramped seats. Good thing traffic was light and we arrived at the Ayala MRT station in about 30 minutes.

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At the bus stop at Ayala, Coby alighted the bus ahead of us. He was already waiting for us at the sidewalk when the bus suddenly moved a few meters. Peewee, Jianne and I were still on board. I saw the look on Coby’s face and he was terrified. I signaled him to stay where he was and wait for us. As soon as we all alighted the bus, Coby rushed to meet us and said, “Whew! The same thing happeed to Mr. Bean in the movie Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Mama!” Good thing he was not as terrified as he looked.

We walked towards the stairs leading up to the station. Throngs of commuters were trying to squeeze their way up the steps and we just waited for our turn. A Good Samaritan, a young policeman, gave way and allowed us to go ahead of him. And of course we thanked him for his kind gesture. It’s great to know that there are still helpful citizens that roam the streets and that Coby was able to witness a simple act of kindness by this man.

At the station, we waited for about 10 minutes for Peewee to buy tickets. There was a long queue for tickets at that hour. We gave the kids instructions on how to insert the ticket properly in the slot. Following the arrow on the card, both kids successfully moved the turnstile and were able to go in.

We waited at the platform for the train by the faded yellow paint. Unfortunately, we were there by lunch time so the train was a bit crowded. The train door opened and we had to squeeze ourselves in. Jianne was too scared of the crowd that she wrapped her arms around me the whole time.

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When you first get in the train, usually there are no seats available and you’re kinda unstable thinking of where to hold in case the train moves forward. Good thing Coby who is now taller than me was able to reach the hand railings above his head and held on.

After each station that passed we were able to move in and take a better position inside the train. This time another gentleman offered his seat to the kids.

The train ride from Ayala to North Avenue took us about 20-30 minutes. The cabins were clean and the air conditioning system did not fail the commuters. Finally, the four of us were able to sit before our final stop.

My mother-in-law picked us up at Trinoma mall where the last train stop was. We were all happy to see her. The kids were so excited to spend three whole days with their cousins.

Though the commute via public transport could have been a challenge to the kids but in the end it was a learning experience for them.

What did they learn from the trip?
1. Observe traffic rules. Wait at the designated bus stops.
2. Use the pedestrian lanes when crossing the streets.
3. Give way to women, children and elderly.
4. Don’t panic and keep calm. I saw this when Coby saw our bus moved then he just waited for us to meet him.
5. Fall in line and wait for your turn. This was practiced when we were lining up to get in and out of the train.
6. Always be safe. Hold on to the hand rails inside the train at all times.
7. Stay with the adults at all times.

Ultimately, seeing their cousins and having a sleepover was the best reward the commute challenge could give. Spending time playing, laughing and goofing around was simply priceless.

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