Street Dancing Traffic Cop

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Meet Traffic Enforcer Noel Quilatan. Every morning on my way to the gym at The Fort, Taguig City, Noel is a sight to behold amidst the magnificent skyscrapers in the background. His cheery disposition lifts my spirits for the day and revs me up for my daily workout. You will find the Noel at the intersection of Mckinely Road, Makati and 5th ave of the Global City. What makes this traffic enforcer different ? Well for one, his traffic signals are choreographed to his own rhythm. It’s unlike other robotic traffic cops you see waving hand signals here and there. He executes slick dance steps unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Second, his sunny smile beams all day after hours and hours of dancing to the tune of traffic stop and go.

My husband surmises that Noel might be crazy. His reasoning “How can anyone smile all day handling Manila traffic with the tropical heat hitting on you? One has to be crazy to beat all that.” That got me thinking. Is Noel crazy? Or does Noel just have high endorphin levels? Or is he just enjoying his job? And again, I remember a series in Grey’s Anatomy where a woman was found to have high endorphins due to a brain tumor. I brushed my husband’s theory aside. Maybe he is just born with a positive spirit.

Noel is quite popular with the Makati and The Fort residents that he even got featured in Ms. Vicky Morales “Wish ko Lang”, a wish giving show. Surrounded by stuffed toys given by generous motorists, Noel’s wish was to see his mother whom he hadn’t seen in years. Noel could have asked for material gifts but he preferred to be with his mom. With tears streaming down his cheeks, Noel’s wish was granted.

I wish I had taken a video of Noel’s dancing moves . Here are a few photos posted by European websites:


here’s a youtube video:

In Sunday’s Inquirer, December 31 , 2006 issue entitled “Fort Boni’s strictly (Street) dancing ‘master’, Noel says that “I just listen to my heart and the music in my mind and dance spontaneously while I direct traffic“. He doesn’t rehearse his dance steps.

If you’re not used to Noel, his quirky moves appear really strange. Whenever you turn left from 5th avenue towards Mckinely Road, Noel pulls your car with an imaginary rope as if beckoning you to turn left right now. Hehe. One time, a car beside me tried to beat his STOP sign. Noel walked towards the erring motorist . With a wagging finger, he placed his left boot on the fender and tried to push the car backward. of course, Noel couldn’t. He was making a point to the offending motorist. I didn’t get to see if Noel issued a ticket or just lectured the motorist on traffic rules.

Today as I passed by Noel, I beeped my horn to get his attention. He turned to me, waved his right hand, twisted his body and lifted his left foot. Hehe, really funny guy. In the same interview, Noel ended it with ” it is a good to be a source of joy in the otherwise chaotic world of traffic jams and road rage”.

What about us? Can we afford to smile all day at work? I know I get really bummed out if I sit all day on my computer chair. Much as I enjoy my work, sometimes I can’t sit still. How does Noel find joy with his work? We can surely learn a lesson or two with work roles. There is joy in giving our gift of skill at work, at giving ourselves to the taks at hand so immensely that we experience an intimate relationship with our work. There is joy when we create or accomplish a task and yell “Well done!”.

Noel Quilatan’s wisdom is a fine example of finding joy in work. The most unpleasant and mundance task can be breezed through when we stop thinking of ourselves as a robot and allow ourselves to be a person.

I will try to let myself shine through my task at work.

Source of “Santa Claus” Noel Quilatan: here and here

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1388 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • Excellent thought on being happy. As I’ve always believed and know to be true, that happiness is a choice, and that you don’t have to wait to attain a goal or vast wealth.. You can be happy while you strive for your goals, these things are not separate and mutually exclusive..

    Another thought that comes to mind about work regards a specific interview of an actor (I don’t remember who it was).. He said…

    “My father once told me – Find something that you love to do and that you’re passionate about, and find a way to make money from it, if you can do that, then you will never have to work a day in your life”

  • Sam

    Hi Noemi. What a beautiful story. Its my first time to visit your blog this year and already I feel blessed and enriched for having done so. Wishing you and your family God’s blessings and abundance!

  • jun

    Araneta center in Cubao also has two.. I don’t know their names but it’s fun watching them. Makes you think if you are enjoying life (and your work) as they do.

    one thing i practice as often as i can (when I muster enough guts) is to smile randomly to strangers. some would avoid your eyes, but many would smile back. And that could make a difference in one’s day. And yours too.

    BTW, i like it when you smile… kasama pati eyes… =) And also Lauren… please tell her to smile more, even in the company of strangers (will she be going on Jan 27?)…

  • @nicholas – fortunately, I am quite happy with my source of livelihood. It was a hobby at first. But I turned it around to a profit making venture

    @sam- i am blessed with readers like you who inspire me to continue blogging

    @Jun- How come they are not featured? I know I look better when I smile. My daughter was a bit shy then . I hope she joins us Jan 27 if her sched permits

  • what a way to turn a rather boring job into something fun and still getting plenty of exercise. it is same idea of the “singing cop” in New York many many years ago (per my husband). he would walk along the sidewalk with his night’s stick tapping on the lamp and burst into songs. people used to stand at the corner listen to him sing. he finally got a contract to sing at the night club. my husband went to dinner there to hear him and he sounded good! hopefully, noel would get a dancing contract, too, someday.

    interesting blog as always, Noemi!

  • jun

    Good idea.. I hope I can catch them in action. I must remember to bring my camera.

    Re Lauren: Her eyes also light up when she smiles (saw that during the intros). Got it from you =)

    Question: Are you problogging (in the blog network sense of the word, like JayVee, Noel, Sasha, Gloria and Rico)?

  • I love this guy too, and now I finally know his name! I’ve always wondered about him when I pass his intersection.

    I also saw him when he was wearing his Santa outfit, but I wasn’t able to take pictures.

  • @Elber- At least we can associate the guy with a name now.

  • He may be an ordinary traffic enforcer but I think he has the love for work and sincere intention to bring smiles to other people who are mostly living a hectic daily schedule.

  • jay

    my aunt videotaped him, see the youtube video:
    thanks for the article!