Yeah, the traffic is horrendous. I work in Makati. Quite a few of my workmates spend up to 4 hours a day sitting in their car just commuting, and they don't really live that far away. I solved that problem by renting a condo directly across the road from my office. ( And directly above the bar that we frequently visit after office hours )
I find if you can't speak to strangers in South East Asia then well you really are shy/introverted to the extreme.You certainly do not need a a 2yr old. You probably could have a limb sticking out of your head and still have success.
In spite of the debilitating heat this week, I decided to go for a long walk with my son today. One of the things I really like is how easy it is here to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Obviously having a cute two year old with me makes that even easier.