Philippines' President Marcos criticised for arriving at Coldplay's Manila concert via helicopter

That's one way to avoid the Manila traffic, I guess.

Fiona Tan | January 21, 2024, 08:37 PM



Philippines' President Ferdinand "BongBong" Marcos Jr is apparently a huge Coldplay fan.

Marcos appeared to have pulled out all the stops, travelling to the concert venue in Bulacan via helicopter to avoid traffic.

Metro Manila's notorious traffic

Metro Manila is notorious for its traffic, coming in first in the 2023 TomTom Traffic Index with the slowest travel time in a metro area, where it would take an average of 25 minutes and 30 seconds to travel 10km .

And traffic was about to get slower on Jan. 19, 2024, when some 40,000 individuals descended on the world's largest indoor arena, the Philippine Arena, for the Coldplay concert.

Marcos, who perhaps did not want to risk missing a second of Coldplay's "Music of the Spheres" concert, flew directly to the Philippine Arena in his presidential helicopter.

Spotted arriving in helicopter

Eagle-eyed individuals, presumably concertgoers, spotted the President's arrival and took pictures that were later uploaded onto social media platforms, Rappler reported.

Criticism for Marcos' use of the presidential chopper came in swift; most individuals accused Marcos of turning a blind eye to the country's "horrible public transportation system."

Some individuals criticised Macros for flying to the Coldplay concert "on the taxpayers' dime" and wondered if it was a personal and non-official activity and thus, constituted an abuse of power or misuse of government resources.

Reuters quoted a Facebook user saying: "We paid for the use of the chopper, fuel and security, who knows even for the tickets for everyone."

Others pointed at the disparity between Marcos and "regular" concertgoers and taxpayers who had to brave Metro Manila's traffic to get to the venue, and even on a daily basis.


Even Coldplay’s frontman man Chris Martin had something to say about Metro Manila's traffic.

"We’ve seen some traffic. But I think you have the number one [traffic] in the world. Thank you for making the effort to come through all of that bullsh*t to be here," he said during the concert.

Marcos was spotted, and filmed, smiling and laughing in response.

@lopezmiks When Chris Martin gets irritated by MNL traffic & PBBM hears it live 🫠🤭 #coldplay #coldplayconcert #traffic #philippinearena #coldplayphilippines #livenation #president ♬ original sound - miks 🥂

Presidential Security Group: Helicopter ride ensured Marcos' safety

Presidential Security Group (PSG) chief Major General Nelson Morales defended and explained Marcos' helicopter ride in a statement on Jan. 20.

Morales said the "unprecedented influx" of 40,000 people on Jan. 19 resulted in "unforeseen traffic complications" which led them to decide to fly Marcos, his wife and son to the venue in the presidential helicopter for his safety.

"Recognising that this traffic situation posed a potential threat to the security of our President, the PSG took decisive action by opting for the presidential chopper."

He added: "This decision not only ensured the safety of our leader but also exemplified our commitment to prioritising security in the face of unexpected challenges."

"Your continued understanding and support for these measures are crucial in maintaining the safety and well-being of our nation's leadership."

"Music of the Spheres"

After playing two nights, Coldplay capped off its stop in Manila on Jan. 20, 2024.

The British rock band is heading to Singapore next, where it would play for six nights on Jan. 23, 24, 26, 27, 30 and 31, 2024.

For those who are going to a Coldplay concert in Singapore and curious about the setlist, here's what the band played in Manila.




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Top image from @ishyungshi/Twitter and by Liza Marcos