Before I started working in Makati, parking was free back in my previous job.   But not without suffering. Parking was limited to the side streets surrounding the complex, since parking wasn’t invested on. So true enough, for individual employees, it took forever to find a single vacant slot.   While there were days (and these would be often) when it would only take me about 45 to 50 minutes to travel from Muntinlupa to Quezon City, it would take me 90 minutes to find a slot.  I even remember times when I would need to leave my vehicle at the Quezon City Memorial Circle to avoid being late for any commitments.  Another option was leaving the at a nearby coffee shop.  This would mean needing to spend somewhere between 100 to 200 pesos at a time for mediocre coffee and pastries to justify parking there the whole day — then taking the cab late at night to get the car.  Even drivers of company vehicles needed to battle this ordeal daily, and would end up parking with the employees’ cars.

So who says having a car is such a convenience? [Plus, factor in the high cost of gas]

When one works at the Makati Central Business District, there is pay parking at least on the streets.

The big “but”, however, is the price one has to pay daily — 75 pesos for only three hours.  This means having to move the car to another slot when the time is up.  But who could do such a thing when one has clients, meetings, and field work?  There is also parking at areas like the Dela Rosa Car Park.  But who would want to pay more than 100 pesos a day just for parking.  And certainly, I wouldn’t wish to pay 3,000 or 4,000 a month for rental of parking space.  And truly, I would never make a mistake of leaving my car at Greenbelt again all day and pay more than 300!

Thankfully, there are “pay parking spaces” on (still) vacant lots.  Up to today, I had been parking on one managed by a fellow named Mang Ben.  I pay him 70 pesos daily, which, come to think of it isn’t so expensive compared to parking on the streets themselves.  Unfortunately, today is the last day Mang Ben’s parking is open to cars.  Starting tomorrow, the lot would be filled with construction materials from a construction project a few buildings away.  Mang Ben isn’t sure, but there this arrangement might only be for three months.

Well, I’m not complaining about the situation since I really don’t have a choice, but I’m still worried.  I still need to bring a vehicle since I bring so much stuff daily, and really do jump from one place to another up to a late hour.  Where would I park?  There still are two other vacant lots on the same street, but for sure, it’s going to be a great race to get a slot.  And of course, the early bird gets the worm.  But how early is early?  7am?  6am?

My shallow whining aside, I am disturbed and focus a on a greater concern.  Come to think of it, the 70 pesos daily is a day’s food for a poor family of four or five (or even more).  This would probably include a kilo of (expensive) NFA rice, some packs of noodles, and one or two cans of sardines.  And it’s not exactly like the President’s Tindahan ni Gloria Labandera has regular stock of reasonably-priced goods.  Is this how expensive parking has become — that it could feed a family for a day?  I bet it would do so many people much good if employees’ money just went to families who need it, rather than paying for parking.

Too bad I needed to leave early.  I wanted to find out the plans of Mang Ben and his assistants tomorrow.  They obviously will not have work, and could only hope that they’d be able to find jobs.

I hope he and his other counterparts would be all right.

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