Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘In Traffic’

“Purpose of travel”

October 15, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: In Traffic, Places, Traveling 3 Comments →


Our real answers to the “Purpose of travel” item in the visa application form

1. Amok prevention. We love living here, but this city keeps pushing and pushing and pushing us and if we do not take a break we will snap. Take this morning. Please. In sane traffic, it would take us no more than ten minutes to get to the embassy for our appointment. This morning it took us an hour and a half, and the only reason the taxi driver agreed to drive us was because we bribed him. (Yeah there are taxi apps. Same principle: They’ll drive you if you’re willing to pay more. And the “kontrata” system is now legitimized as “tips”. In effect we are incentivizing asshole behavior, but people just want to get home safely and with the least aggravation.)

2. Sanity maintenance. We are very, very, very, very, very tired. We haven’t had a proper vacation in years. All our trips have been work assignments. In fact the last real vacation we had—”real” meaning we could do whatever we wanted and we didn’t have to say nice things about the trip sponsor or shut up when something went wrong—was eight years ago, in the same place.


3. Perspective. We love our country when we’re somewhere else and can think about it objectively.

4. The horror of sameness. We need to feel like an alien in an alien land. It makes us think better. Here we only feel like a freak. A bored, enervated freak.

5. The comfort of being in a place where people read books on the train—good books—and cafes give prizes to the best novels written on the premises.

What we wrote on the visa form


In case Atom is not around to rescue you

September 05, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: In Traffic 5 Comments →

At a media launch yesterday the topic at our table was the Ipit Taxi Gang. We heard of at least two colleagues who had encountered these muggers who prey on taxi riders. Crime is terrifying to think about, but it is ten times more terrifying when it happens to people who know people you know. It moves out of the realm of the abstract—stuff that happens to other people—and becomes a real threat.

Our friend was particularly irritated at the police advising people to guard against the Ipit Taxi Gang by checking the child locks before entering a taxi (You roll down the window and see if you can open the door from outside). Yeah, shift the onus of safety (i.e. not getting mugged) onto the passengers. In the first place, does anyone have time to do that? By the time you’ve rolled down the window, the taxi will have driven away. Usually we’re just so glad to find an available taxi that we’ll take it, even if it’s dilapidated and smelly.

In this video, Atom Araullo shows you what to do in case the Ipit Taxi Gang strikes.

Okay, but you’ll probably need Atom’s muscles to do that right. Some may even be too distracted by the T-shirt to remember those tips.

It might help to sit directly behind the driver, and then make a phone call to a friend giving the plate number and name of the taxi company. This way the driver knows that someone knows you’re in the vehicle.

Traffic has eaten our lives

September 03, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: In Traffic, Places 4 Comments →

Photo from InterAksyon

As lifelong veterans of traffic, we formulate explanations as to why it is so bad. These explanations are not thorough or accurate; in many cases, they’re not even right. They are increasingly desperate attempts to make sense of the black hole that swallows us up every time we go out on the street. They constitute a mantra of urban life.

The traffic is heavy because it is raining.
Because it is rush hour.
Because it is Friday.
Because it is payday.
Because there’s been a vehicular accident.
Because the highway is being repaired.
Because there are shopping malls right along the main thoroughfares.
Because the skyway is being constructed.
Because the truck ban has been lifted.
Because the trains aren’t running.
Because there are too many colorum buses.
Because there is no urban planning.
Because the motorists don’t follow basic road rules.
Because this and that.

Read our column at InterAksyon.

Vote for the world’s biggest air filter at Cannes

June 15, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Health, In Traffic, Science No Comments →


Boysen KNOxOut’s Project Edsa, the murals which make up the world’s biggest air filter, is in contention for the ACT Cannes 2014 prize.

Watch the Boysen Project Edsa video here (leftmost, third from the top) and click on the heart to cast your vote on Facebook.

Voting ends on 19 June.

ACT Responsible is a Switzerland-based, non-profit organization that collects the best ads promoting sustainability, equitable development and social responsibility in a bid to highlight how creativity is used to raise awareness on the world’s major issues.

Lungs on EDSA

May 02, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Design, In Traffic No Comments →


The latest in the Project: EDSA series of murals is now taking shape on the Rockwell EDSA wall between Buendia (Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue) and Estrella, Makati. When finished, it will cover 1,000 square meters of wall.

Designed by the creative team of TBWA, “Lungs” is being painted with Boysen KNOxOUT. KNOxOUT is a revolutionary air-cleaning paint that turns toxic air pollutants into a harmless residue that washes out in rain. Making “Lungs” a massive air purifier.

You can see the murals in the KNOxOUT Project: EDSA series on the San Lorenzo Wall between Ayala and Pasay Road, Makati (by Jose Tence Ruiz); the pylons and parapets of the MRT on Ortigas, Pasig (by B+C); the Aurora Cubao underpass, Quezon City (by Tapio Snellman); and under the southbound flyover on Tramo, Pasay (by Erika Tan).


“Lungs” and the Boysen KNOxOUT project have nothing to do with the wall paintings under the Buendia flyover, which are being undertaken by a another company. It’s nice to see different groups taking an interest in the highway, but with vast areas of EDSA in need of attention, they need not squeeze into the same intersection.

Lock your car doors

December 12, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: In Traffic, Places 4 Comments →

At a quarter to two this afternoon we were sitting in traffic in the Guadalupe interchange en route to Rockwell when a group of kids surrounded the taxi. There were about six of them, pre-teen, early teen, in T-shirts and shorts. One of them hopped onto the back of the van in front of us then somersaulted onto the roof of the taxi. The other kids stuck their faces in the windows and pounded on the doors. It was like being in Mad Mad: Beyond Thunderdome, or getting stuck in open auditions for a Glee remake of Fame, which is scarier. Then the kids started rattling the door handles and trying to open the doors, which were locked.

The driver looked straight ahead and refused to notice the rumpus. We have heard of thieves lurking in intersections, opening car doors and grabbing whatever they can (It’s Xmas). The kids may have been high on solvent. We were listening to Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants (50th anniversary edition). It is hard to be fazed while listening to hard bop. Then the traffic started moving and the wild ones went off to harass another car. They could still be down in Guadalupe, freaking out random motorists.