Balikbayan Life in the Philippines - Adjusting to Traffic and Flood

Early to Bed, Early to Rise
One of the adjustments we are starting to get used to is waking up very early in the morning. In Saudi, school begins at 8:00 am, while here in the Philippines, school begins at 6:45 am. That's more than an 1 hour earlier. That meant not just waking up earlier but also sleeping earlier the night before.

Why is it necessary that the kids wake up very early? School is just 20 minutes away from our house, that is, if there is no traffic. The problem is if you leave the house late, you will be stuck in traffic. Traffic has always been a problem in the Philippines. I remember in our school days, we also had to leave about 1 hour before the time so as not to be late for school. Unlike in Saudi, if you say, you'll be there in 15 minutes, you'll be there in 15 minutes (almost always). Here, it's not the case because of traffic so you have to give some allowance in terms of time management.

This is where deciding to homeschool or to work from home is a big advantage. No traffic to deal with and you can be more flexible with time. Sometimes, I still wish that I had continued homeschooling my older kids but am also glad that they're now enrolled in a good Christian school. Also, I am continuing to work at home online as a part-time virtual assistant to have some extra income. I am still undecided if I would apply for work outside the home.

Rain, Rain, Go Away
Last May 1, my kids enjoyed taking a bath in the first rainfall since summer began. But when the typhoons started coming, they asked "why is it always raining?" I told them "that's how it is in the Philippines since it's already the rainy season."

Flood during Typhoon Ondoy

Oh, I just hope that it won't rain hard continuously. I noticed that some places inside our house have leaks from the roof. Also, we live in one of the places that was flooded for about a month when typhoon Ondoy hit 3 years ago. The problem is, our house is not elevated nor does it have a second floor. These are still some of the things we have to fix. If it's just the usual rain, then there's no need to worry. I am praying that there won't be another typhoon in the likes of Ondoy.
It's a good thing also that we did not decide to enroll our kids near my parent's house. Because if we did and lived with my parents, my kids will have more flood to deal with. Just last Sunday, my parents said that they had flood in the front of their house up to the neck because of the heavy rains. That's usually what happens when water is released from the dam (Angat or maybe La Mesa dam). At least, the flood subsided quickly and my parents are okay.

How about you? How are you dealing with the traffic and the flood?


kat said…
Oh my! Stay safe. I feel blessed living in the province. We have our share of flooding but it is not neck deep. Also, it seldom occurs. I only experienced it 4 times in my lifetime. I'm in my 30s, btw.
Mommy Maye said…
Hi there! The traffic here is really annoying. We live in Bulacan but still there's traffic because of the road construction. I wonder why the local government keeps on reconstructing even the still good road that has been reconstructed just 1 or 2 years ago. So the supposedly 20-minute travel from home to home becomes 30 minutes and worst 1 hour. Good thing, our place here is not prone to flood so still I'm thankful.

Mommy Maye (
bonz said…
So far from where we are located, an area in Muntinlupa, we are not experiencing flood. but we are not immune to traffic. :)
Floods and traffic are common in a lot areas in the metro, just stay safe and know precautionary measures especially if your area gets flooded.
Tin said…
Sorry abt the flood in your parents' house. Floods are hard, the memory of Ondoy in our house is still vivid to me. But like everybody in PH we adjust. :D
Chin chin said…
Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts. I know that I'm not the only one experiencing these things. I'm starting to get used to the everyday reality here.
Chris said…
Hello! I didn't realize you were back in the Philippines already! :) Hope you and your kids have adjusted well. Where are they going to school now?
Chin chin said…
Their going to a Christian school in Pasig. It seems that they're liking it there.
Let's pray that there will never be that much flood... again.
Vera said…
I still think that school in the Philippines should also start at 8AM. i dont have anything against getting up early, but i don't think their minds work that early!
Gene said…
With traffic, no choice but to leave early and waste time on the road, I always bring a book with me. Or take naps. It's easier if you have a car since you can take the easier routes. As for the rain and flood, no choice talaga tayo. All we have to do whenever there's bagyo, pack up the important things in case of evacuation and hope and pray that there will be electricity and no flooded streets when we go to sleep.
sarah said…
In the Philippines,flood and traffic are somethings that will always be part of every Filipino. As long as the people will not learn how to properly discard their trash, (companies even ) and as long as politicians will continue to take advantage of road constructions especially if election is near, then it would be best to think that after the rain, out came the sun.

Only here in the Philippines !
Unknown said…
Hi! I remember the saying Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Makes a Man, Healthy and Wise.. That's probably why classes start in the morning.. and it imposes discipline too..

And I hate traffic badly since there is no other way but to wait.. hmpf! :)
Unknown said…
Thank goodness I haven't encountered flood yet and I live only walking distance to my place of work.

Good call on not enrolling your kids to a flood-prone school.
love the rain! and living in Baguio keeps us safe from flood but landslides are here and there...
mom used to wake me up at around 4am when i was in grade school 'cause classes starts at 6am!
its more fun in the philippines tlga! hehe
Chin chin said…
@GerLen, I haven't been to Baguio in 25 years. Wow ... I have to visit the place again with my husband and kids.