Coldplay’s Manila jam: Band’s new song echoes city’s traffic woes

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Coldplay’s lead singer Chris Martin crafted a song about the Philippine capital Manila’s ‘insane’ traffic jams.

MANILA, Philippines, Jan 22: Manila’s notorious traffic gridlock took center stage during Coldplay’s recent visit to the Philippines, as lead singer Chris Martin crafted a song about the city’s “insane” jams. The buzz escalated when Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. faced criticism for opting to travel by helicopter to one of Coldplay’s concerts near the capital.

Arriving at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, north of Manila, via helicopter, Marcos and his entourage faced backlash on social media, questioning the president’s use of public funds for a concert visit amid pressing urban transport issues. Manila residents endure daily traffic challenges, with private cars, jeepneys, taxis, buses, and tricycles jostling for road space while the metro system lags in development.

Online critics called out Marcos for lacking action on mass transport improvements despite allocating resources for concert attendance. In response, Marcos’ security commander defended the helicopter transport, citing unforeseen traffic complications that posed security risks.

Even Coldplay’s Chris Martin acknowledged Manila’s traffic woes during the concert, thanking attendees for braving the congestion. Manila, known for its traffic congestion, topped the 2023 TomTom Traffic Index, ranking as the metro area with the slowest travel time among nearly 400 cities globally.

Martin dedicated an impromptu song to Manila’s traffic during the second concert, humorously singing about the city’s notorious gridlock. The lyrics playfully highlight the challenges of driving in Manila, drawing cheers from the audience.

In response to Manila’s traffic concerns, the Department of Transport issued a statement pledging to improve the commuter experience and address traffic issues in highly urbanized areas. Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista emphasized the government’s commitment to fast-tracking road projects and collaborating with the private sector.

As the Philippines gears up for transport modernization, initiatives include the conversion of diesel-fueled jeepneys into minibuses and the development of a mass transit railway system expected to be operational by 2025, according to the government-run Philippine News Agency. The Coldplay concert inadvertently placed a spotlight on Manila’s traffic challenges, prompting renewed attention to the need for robust transport solutions in the bustling capital.

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