Coldplay’s Musical Ode to Manila’s Infamous Traffic Woes


Manila’s well-known traffic situation took center stage during Coldplay’s visit to the Philippines. Chris Martin, the band’s frontman, even wrote a song about the overwhelming congestion. Additionally, the country’s leader faced criticism for opting to travel by helicopter to one of the band’s concerts near the capital.

The Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., along with his wife and their entourage, made a grand entrance at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, north of Manila, arriving by helicopter on Friday. This event was captured in photos that were widely shared on social media.

Online critics raised concerns about Marcos’ use of public funds to attend a concert and expressed disappointment in his perceived inaction regarding mass transport issues.

Urban mobility has been a persistent challenge for the millions of Filipinos who experience the daily frustration of spending hours stuck in traffic. This is particularly true in the capital, where various modes of transportation, such as private cars, jeepneys, taxis, buses, and tricycles, vie for limited road space. Unfortunately, the metro system has not kept pace with the growing demand, exacerbating the problem.

Contrary to that, it is quite typical for politicians and business executives, as well as their family members, to utilize private helicopters or small aircraft for transportation.

After facing a wave of online backlash, the security commander of Marcos stepped up to defend his choice of transportation. In a statement on Saturday, he explained that “unforeseen traffic complications” were a concern for the president’s safety.

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Chris Martin Acknowledges Manila’s Congestion Woes with Spontaneous Song Performance

Even Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay, acknowledged Manila’s congestion issue and expressed gratitude to the concertgoers for enduring the traffic.

“We’ve observed a significant amount of traffic,” he remarked, as Marcos sat among the audience, as seen in videos shared on TikTok and X.

The following evening, Martin spontaneously performed a song about the incident, expressing, “There is only one thing that truly lingers.” The traffic in Manila is absolutely chaotic.

Based to the 2023 TomTom Traffic Index, Manila has been ranked at the top of the list for metro areas with the slowest travel time. This ranking includes almost 400 cities across 55 countries worldwide.

According to the transport-focused tech company, Manila experiences an average speed of 19 kilometers per hour (11 miles per hour) during rush hour, with approximately 52% of its roads facing congestion. On average, it usually takes over 25 minutes to cover a distance of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

“If you plan on driving anywhere, I feel it’s important to give you a heads up.” Martin confidently stated that a 2-mile drive would take a week or two, while fans enthusiastically cheered in agreement. “If you want to return home in time for your bath, I would suggest giving yourself approximately eighteen months.”

The Department of Transport released a statement on Friday, discussing ongoing road transport infrastructure projects. These projects are focused on enhancing the commuter experience and tackling the issue of increasing traffic in highly urbanized areas.

“We will expedite road projects through collaboration with relevant agencies, with the assistance of the private sector,” stated Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista.

This year, the Philippines will embark on a project to upgrade diesel-fueled jeepneys by replacing them with minibuses, embracing modernization. The government-run Philippine News Agency has reported that a mass transit railway system is being constructed and is expected to be operational by 2025.

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