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Rainfall Rainfall
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Flood Flood

Geographically speaking, Metro Manila serves as a catch basin of water from the highlands. There are even areas in the metropolis that are below sea level, including Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela, as noted by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino.

What else might be causing the floods? Garbage-clogged drainages are a big source of the problem, with informal settlers along waterways as major contributors to such blockage.

Aside from the 77 listed ongoing road projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), thunderstorms bringing heavy rains over Metro Manila have compounded the problem, affecting commuters and motorists, especially during rush hour.

During or after heavy rains, we advise motorists and commuters against passing through the top ten crucial areas that are most prone to flooding.

1. España Boulevard, Manila
With Manila’s high concentration of colleges, universities and offices, a vast number of students and employees take this route. The opening and dismissal of students and employees dictate the traffic flow in the area, which worsens when rain pours, causing floods, particularly on the intersection of España and Nicanor Reyes Street.

2. Burgos to Manila City Hall Vicinity
MMDA identifies the culprits behind flooding in this area: clogged drainage system and the general public’s bad habits of indiscriminate trash disposal.

3. R. Papa to Rizal Avenue in Manila
MMDA advises motorists of all types of vehicles against passing R. Papa to Rizal Avenue during or after the rains. This is because floodwater goes knee-deep or even higher, due to the waters from Caloocan City flowing towards Estero de Obrero.

4. Quirino Avenue to Padre Faura St.; Lawton Plaze and Taft Avenue
A few government buildings as well as the Philippine General Hospital, the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region headquarters, Manila Science High School, UP-Manila, and numerous hotels are just a few points of interest in this area, which can be reached via a two-lane road going north and south. Just imagine the congestion of traffic, compounded during and after a heavy downpour.

5. Roxas Boulevard
Commuters and car-owners passing through the main thoroughfares along EDSA find themselves in a traffic deadlock in Roxas Boulevard as vehicles move at a snail’s pace. To keep this area from being flooded, Tolentino swears by using sandbags.

6. Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay
Located in the reclamation areas, the eight-lane road Macapagal Boulevard is often used to travel towards Cavite to the south and the SM Mall of Asia to the north. MMDA reports clogging of the drainage canals in this area as the reason for its recent flooding incidents.

7. EDSA – Taft
Being a terminal hub for thousands of commuters (the MRT-Taft Station, LRT EDSA-Taft and Baclaran stations), this area also serves as the gateway of motorists from the south going to the north. This EDSA Segment records knee-deep floods, making the area not passable to light vehicles.

8. EDSA Megamall
Majority of the buses pass EDSA and this mall serves as a terminal for commuters. As traffic congestion happens, daily commuters and motorists are affected especially when combined with heavy downpour.

9. EDSA – Camp Aguinaldo Gate 3
According to Engineer Maxima Quiambao, head of the MMDA Flood Control and Sewerage Management Office, there is a mismatch in the sizes of the drainage pipes in this area. The pipes in Camp Aguinaldo, which are 36 inches in diameter, are connected to 24-inch diameter pipes along the main avenue. To remedy the issue, the MMDA has positioned a vacuum truck in the mentioned area to help drain floodwater during heavy rains.

10. North Avenue in front of Trinoma
Being the north-end of the MRT line and having two big malls, Trinoma and SM City North EDSA, this area serves as a transport hub for commuters going to northern destinations such as Bulacan and Caloocan city. Floodwater level can reach up to 8 inches in this area, according to the MMDA.

Flood in Ayala Avenue and Makati Avenue intersection. Photo courtesy of Ronnie @imronnie, @MMDA.
Flood in Ayala Avenue and Makati Avenue intersection. Photo courtesy of Ronnie @imronnie, @MMDA.

Did you experience any flooding in your area or while commuting? We’d like to see your photos! Share with us your flood-photos by posting on our PanahonTV Facebook page.

For your complete reference, here are the 22 flood-prone areas released by the MMDA:

España-Antipolo-Maceda in Manila
P. Burgos-Manila City Hall vicinity
R. Papa-Rizal Avenue, Manila

Osmeña-Skyway northbound and southbound, Makati
EDSA Pasong Tamo, Magallanes Tunnel
Don Bosco, Makati
Buendia-South Superhighway southbound
Buendia-South Superhighway northbound

EDSA-North Avenue, Quezon City
Philcoa Area, Quezon City
Quezon Avenue, Victory avenue/Biak na Bato
EDSA – Camp Aguinaldo Gate 3
North Avenue in front of Trinoma
C-5 Bayani Road
NLEX Balintawak – Cloverleaf

C-5-Bagong Ilog

West Service Road, Merville, Paranaque
C-5 Mckinley Road
Buendia extension Macapagal avenue – World Trade

East Service Road, Sales Street

EDSA Megamall

C-5-BCDA, Taguig City


They say that when it rains, it pours. The same logic seems to apply to the recent traffic situation here in the metro with sudden rains usually making their grand entrance in the evenings or late afternoons just before rush hour—the perfect recipe for clogged roads, as well as irate commuters and motorists.

But the real question is: why are rains synonymous with heavy traffic? We interviewed the metro traffic experts, also known as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to shed some light on this phenomenon.

Flooding along the streets make them impassable. Blame it on poor waste management, overpopulation, or faulty urban planning, but the fact cannot be denied; we’ve all witnessed, first-hand, how the streets of Manila get easily flooded when there’s a rapid downpour. According to PAGASA, these light to moderate, and occasionally, heavy rains that may persist for two hours, can already trigger flooding especially in low-lying areas like Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela.

Road conditions deteriorate with the flow of rainwater. When the rains are pelting down like there’s no tomorrow, driving conditions are at their worst. Instead of cruising down the highway (within speed limits, of course) drivers are more cautious, navigating their vehicles more slowly. Road visibility is also compromised, as well as the driver’s usual routes. Because some of these may be flooded, alternate routes are taken, which eventually become clogged because everyone else has the same idea.

Rains tend to increase the possibility of road accidents. It’s only right that motorists take extra caution because based on MMDA’s data, are on the rise when the rains come. From January to June 2014, a total of 12 non-fatal road accidents and 137 damages to properties were recorded. These accidents take up road space—and we all know how just one blocked lane can create chaos hundreds of kilometers down the road. Reserve those daredevil maneuvers on the racetrack. Safety first when you’re driving, especially when it’s raining.

Motorcycle drivers make pit stops to wait out the rain. Because of the flooded areas, light vehicles, including motorcycles, don’t dare cross the flood and tend to halt in one area of the road. A lot of them also take cover from the rain under the overpass. When these motorcycles increase in number, they take up road space and cause traffic.

Despite this grim scenario, we are not totally helpless against rains and the inevitable heavy traffic they bring. Don’t let thunderstorms surprise you by monitoring weather updates. Plan your alternative routes early, and if possible, build your travel schedule around those downpour-prone afternoons and evenings so you won’t get caught on the road, in the rain!

Photo from Facebook account of Ran Perez
Photo from Facebook account of Ran Perez