Santa traffic cop sleighs it with Manila dance routine

MANILA (Reuters) - Directing motorists at busy intersections in Manila isn’t the easiest job, but traffic cop Ramiro Hinojas makes it fun by adding dance to his beat.

This Christmas, Hinojas, 51, is performing his regular routine dressed as Santa Claus to bring a little holiday cheer for passers-by.

“We are dressing up as Santa Claus to make people feel that it’s Christmas again, that we need to be giving and loving to one another, and be respectful of other motorists on the road,” Hinojas said on Friday morning, as he twirled and dipped while trucks, buses and jeepneys sped past him.

Hinojas, who started directing traffic on Manila’s congested highways in 2005, first thought of dancing his second year into the job as a method of keeping fit.

Over time, he noticed that motorists paid more attention to his hand signals when they were matched with flashy footwork.

The added benefit to Santa’s dance routine is that it keeps things light-hearted, for both Hinojas and others around him.

“Our traffic here is so bad, so this is our small way of bringing joy to people,” said the policeman dressed in a red-and-white Santa costume, paired with a vest bearing reflective yellow and green stripes.

Onlookers are certainly amused by Hinojas’ moves, pedestrians stopping to take snapshots.

“Everyone loves what he’s doing”, said jeepney driver Frankie Gustilo. “All traffic enforcers should be like that so that everyone will be happy.”

Reporting by Ronn Bautista, Writing by Karishma Singh; Editing by Nick Macfie