Airport Runs

Despite the convenience of online check-ins, I still make it a point to be at the airport early for my flights.  Even when I wasn’t completely ready for my vacation to end, we got to Kahului Airport in Maui early enough for a short inter-island flight to Honolulu.  These flights arrive in a smaller Terminal 1 and since this short leg was a totally separate flight from my flight to Manila, I needed to wait for my luggage and check in again at the bigger Terminal 2.  There were a few people in my Maui flight who did the same.

When we exited the small terminal, there’s a choice to wait for an airport shuttle or just walk.  It’s an easy walk, the airport attendant said.  Armed with our luggage and carryons, five of us decided to walk instead of waiting for the shuttle.  How far could it be?

img_2990It wasn’t far but, hey, it was very humid.  I didn’t remember the walk being this far, I said to myself, referring to my experience a week ago.  Then it dawned on me that I came then from the Arrivals area which was definitely closer to Terminal 1.  And not only the Departures gates were farther, United gates were situated at the very last part of the departures area.  What luck.  We were walking from gate to gate, not ready to admit that ooops, we could have waited for the shuttle right?  It really felt like a long walk and for some strange reason we were rushing; I didn’t know their flight time but I definitely wasn’t late.

When we got to the check in gate, that’s when we smiled at each other and commented on the length of that walk. It was a good workout of sorts.  No one also said anything about why we didn’t enter the first check-in gate and just walked inside the airport for a cooler, more leisurely walk.

The connecting flight to Guam left 50 minutes late.  I already napped and watched the latest episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj and we still weren’t moving.  The announcement kept repeating how our safety was their first priority and they haven’t gotten the final clearance to take off.  When we were finally taxiing, I checked and confirmed I was seated behind an exit row.  A middle-aged couple were occupying the seats.  They certainly looked like they can open the door and pave the way for evacuation.  Unless the plane explodes mid-air.  You take your chances every damn day.

When we got to Guam, my connecting flight to Manila only had five minutes left for boarding.  The plane I was on was a Boeing 777 with more or less 360 passengers so going out from the economy seats took forever (I meant longer).  I asked a flight crew if the ground crew was advised that we’re arriving late.  She checked a paper and told me there were around 60 of us connecting to Manila so they will wait for us for sure.

Even with this assurance, I still sprinted the hell out of there.  See, Guam’s airport is small.  And I only ran from Gate 8 to Gate 14.  It wasn’t long but given my poor fitness level, it felt like running from a fast zombie out to kill me.  Walkators were of little help.  I kept hearing names from my flight including mine advising us that the plane was ready to depart.  I arrived at the boarding gate panting, dizzy even.  I got to my seat, disoriented.  I was still catching my breath when someone asked me if I was at the correct seat.  I wasn’t.  I moved to the correct one and settled in.

We got to Manila 30 minutes later than scheduled.  When people started unbuckling their seatbelts and getting bags in overhead bins, I remained in my seat.  I was still tired.  I was home.  There’s no need to hurry this time.


Truth Thursday: The SF Commuter Experience

truth thursdayTruth Thursday is a weekly feature here in my blog that talks about something that happened to me in the past or very recently that I would have otherwise kept but decided to share to you without hesitation and regrets (whaaaat).  Happy reading!

In the tradition of keeping up with my shenanigans, I was reminded by a recent conversation about my commuter experience three years ago in San Francisco.

Shortly after arriving in San Francisco, my bff and I took a bus to downtown SF to eat and meet with my niece. It’s not that I didn’t know about it, that you’re supposed to pay as soon as you get in, but since the bus was moving already, I decided to sit down and figured I’ll pay when we’re about to alight. Plus I had an experience a good two years prior but in Washington DC where people paid when they’re about to get off at their stop so I assumed it’s the same.

Assumption almost got me a ticket.

A couple of stops later, a police was in the bus and specifically asked us if we already paid. I said I haven’t and showed him two dollar bills I was clutching in my hand the whole time. He then lectured me about not paying bus fares, asked if I drive, and asked about my purpose why I was in the States. At one point he asked for my passport. I was honestly half-scared and half-embarrassed and kept thinking, This is such a hilariously horrible way to have a hit in the system. Not paying the bus fare. This is gonna show up when I apply for entry the next time and when I renew my visa. When he learned we were tourists, I began to apologize about assuming I can pay anytime during the ride. After a few minutes, he said something in Tagalog, gave me my passport back, and began telling us about his family in Manila. When we reached the stop I profusely said thank you and said sorry to the driver while I was putting the money in the machine.

We had a good laugh when we were walking to the mall. My bestfriend was silent the whole time and said she was nervous already. I knew it’s something very minor but even then I couldn’t help but shake my head at how something so little can give me the biggest of panic attacks. The next few days during that trip I made sure we didn’t ride the bus anymore.

Life is short, go to Hawaii!

I just came back from an amazing Honolulu trip! I was there for seven full days. I planned it six weeks before my departure date which left me with a few expensive options but overall it was worth it. Besides, any travel I make in January will always be worth the damage to the pocket. For this one I even left on the afternoon of my birthday and arrived in Honolulu mid-morning, still on my birthday!

For this post I want to share my travel tips and activities should you wish to visit Honolulu (which you definitely must, it’s so amazing!)

Getting there: Going to Hawaii, sigh, isn’t cheap. If you are for comfort and duration, Philippine Airlines offers the shortest flight to Honolulu and back. It takes less than 10 hours going there and less than 11 hours going back, and more importantly, it’s a straight flight. I left in January which is still the tailend of the peak season so the lowest I got it for was still around $1,200, travel tax included. Ang mahal nya, actually, pero well, birthday trip!

From the airport to your hotel/hostel/Airbnb: Shuttle services, if you do not have a host or you did not avail your hotel’s pickup option, are very much available as soon as you step out of the airport. So far, I noticed there’s SpeediShuttle and Roberts Hawaii Express Shuttle. I took Roberts Hawaii Express Shuttle going to my rented condo unit. These shuttle services accept card payments only so make sure you have your debit or credit cards handy. I paid $16 for the 30-minute trip. I learned from the shuttle driver (a beautiful half-Filipina, half-Hawaiian named Danielle!) that Roberts Hawaii also owns the building I stayed at, so it’s a convenient dropoff.

Going to the airport for my departure, I availed SpeediShuttle’s service. I booked a reservation the night before I left. It costs $15.48 which is also charged to your card. When you choose a pickup time, consider the time of your flight and expect that there will be other pickups other than you which could extend your travel time to the airport. For this trip though, the driver took the backroads and in 20 minutes, I was dropped off at the PAL checkin gate. So kanya-kanyang diskarte din ang mga drivers but it’s always safe to allow more time.

Of course if you are with a group and you can comfortably fit inside a car, you can take a taxi or an Uber. They also have Lyft, too. The bus is also an option.

Accommodations: I booked a lovely studio apartment through Airbnb. It won’t be visible in the listing but you will discover that many of the Waikiki units, whether studio apartments, rooms, or couches, are within the Hawaiian Monarch Hotel. It’s a property that was converted into half-condo units, half-hotel and many condo owners rented theirs out. My host lives in the same unit — we share one main door, and there are two keycard-activated doors after; one is her residence and one is the studio space she rents out.

Look at this cute and cozy place! The wooden design and fixtures provided a unique and homey touch. It has no kitchen but there’s a microwave, a mini-ref, and lots of dining utensils. The bathroom is also very clean and has clean towels and bathroom products for you to use. The host also has beach bags and beach towels in the closet. Super homey! And don’t get me started on the view. That right there by the window is not a painting!

My favorite part of this unit is the view. I can never get enough of it. It is directly facing Ala Wai Canal and being on the 35th floor, it gets an amazing view of Manoa. I was also treated to plenty of rainbow sightings (which I was told are quite often in the island) because of its location.

View from the room at daytime. I don’t get scared of heights but this one made me a bit woozy.
View at nighttime. Very therapeutic.
The first morning I woke up early enough. That’s not a canvas, that’s a real view!
The building was at the corner of Niu and Ala Wai so when you go down the street, this is easily what you can snap. Ah, the memories of it just by typing this.
One more rainbow view after it rained. Love.

Let me know if you want to get this same accommodation and I’ll point you to this listing. 🙂 The host is very easy to talk to and very accommodating.

I walked around a lot while there and checked the location of the hotels and apartments and their distance from the beach. While I really liked Hawaiian Monarch’s location (from there you can walk to the convention center, Ross (ahem), Target (ahem ulit), a bit far but still doable – Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx (yaaay) and the huge Ala Moana Center!), it is at the far end of the beach kung walking ang pag-uusapan. I spent 15-20 minutes walking just to go back. I could have taken the bus, sure, but overall, malayo siya if you speak of the beach. I enjoyed walking a lot though.

If your priority is to be near the beach front, consider the ones along the shore — from the Kahanamoku beachfront of Hilton Hawaiian Village to the end of the Waikiki Wall (a long beachfront stretch which would take you 30 minutes by foot; I tried it!). The parallel streets adjacent to Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues are great locations and perhaps a bit less expensive than the 5-star ones. What’s better is it’s also near the main strip where they have all the shops and food places.

Going aroundTheBus! It is their main commuter transport service which is efficient, if I may say. You can buy passes for unlimited rides for different durations or just pay $2.75 per way — the bus does not give change so always bring an exact amount. This is where I disposed of all my coins!

Before you start your day, think of your activities and check if they will require bus rides. If you need more than 2 bus rides, whether short or long ones, consider buying a day pass para sulit, kesa $2.75 ng $2.75. I did that when I when I went to Diamond Head and to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center; both entailed two rather long round trips and still left me with a pass to ride a bus to and from my errands for the day.


There also bikes for rent but I didn’t bother checking it out. They are operated by Biki so if you are into biking, you can check out their rates, locations, and covered routes.img_1162

I also took an Uber twice and it’s efficient. Mahal lang rate nila, or maybe because I’m thinking in Philippine pesos; my ride ranged from $7 to $9 for two very short distances. But then again, birthday trip!

I spent majority of my time walking. Google Maps proved to be a very helpful friend. I downloaded an offline map of Honolulu so it was easier for me to navigate. Even with the bus routes, it’s very informative; of course if you access its offline version it will not give you the real-time schedule of the buses arriving, but you’ll still be fine.

Other notes: I did not stay long enough but the place was pretty safe for me. The sidewalks are wide and pedestrian-friendly. Their pedestrian crossings are plenty and accessible. Depending on the time of the year, it can get chilly at night so if you are sensitive to the breeze (aka lamigin like me), better to bring anything to cover you up when you walk. I brought tank tops and sleeveless sundresses which were suitable during the day but when nighttime came, I felt chilly. It probably contributed to my feeling ill on my 3rd day of vacation.

Hawaii is 18 hours behind the Philippines. Expect your body clock to act up after a few days, unless you’re the kind who adjust easily (lucky you!).

Unless you have mapped food places to get your meals from, it helps to go to Target or Food Pantry to buy groceries to save. Stock up and just refill your water, buy fruits, bread and spreads, juices, and other daily nourishment essentials.

I stayed mostly in Waikiki so people from different countries and persuasions abound. It’s very exciting to see. Connect and talk to them when you can! The residents there are very friendly, too. At least the ones I encountered; I was lucky there’s no untoward incident at all. And hey, it’s Hawaii, so expect a lot of Pinoys!

I’ll be sharing my experiences about the spots I went to in the next posts. For now in case it’s not getting across as I intended, I fell in love with Hawaii! I am definitely going back. You should, too. I promise, it’s worth it.

Related posts:

I know that was you, God.

In the hustle and bustle of work days, we have to step back and think about how God saves us in many different ways, like a parent always ready to catch a kid even before bad things happen.

Okay, I admit there were times I was taught hard lessons because my carelessness and overall unmindfulness (fine, katangahan hahaha) have taken over me. Maybe at this point on, I will learn to crawl out of that zone (and let us not jinx it please).

I decided to go home early today, and minutes after I rode my ride I checked my phone and found a text message from my Mom telling me she’s in Robinsons. I called to tell her I was on my way home yet she said we can hangout for a bit at the mall (free dinner, Judie, free dinner). My initial reaction was irritation because I’m a spoiled brat like that I was set on going home early. I was ready to throw kamalditahans when I felt something heavy at the right side of my bag when I was alighting the jeep. I looked and there’s a man with a backpack covering the space between us. I pulled my bag and stared hard (good thing pala, nagiinternalize na ako ng kamalditahan by then). He was taken aback and said, “Uy nagulat ka, miss?” Bale ba naman, I think I kind of hit him on the nose — sa laki ko ba namang ito at sa laki ng braso ko, imagine nyo bigla ako nagjerk ng braso sa isang masikip na jeep. I hardly ever think of a comeback that easily so I continued staring at him and stomping my feet hard as I was getting off the jeep.

I could have said aloud pala, “Akala ko kasi may dinudukot ka sa bag ko” to alert fellow passengers. But I didn’t. My tiny instinct was at work then, and for that I’m thankful.

I had a short moment of doubt that the man may have been a fellow worker like me (bihis laborer sya). But the seemingly empty backpack and the heavy thing which I can only assume was a hand ready to go in and take stuff from my bag were very clear MOs we have heard before.

So as my title goes, I felt more guilty feeling bad about that slight change in my schedule. And maybe God decided, naku kakawala lang ng phone nito, huwag na muna mawalan ng isa pa. Hahaha! But seriously, my thought after that was, I know it was you, God. Thanks for saving me. Again. 

My 30-Hour-a-Week Lover

I wrote this 2 years ago. I don’t think my preference has significantly changed.

Quality - Quantity (2)
Halata ba na gumamit ako ng Canva?

I meant to share this crazy computation since I conceived it one humid commute along Quirino Avenue. This was borne out of an impression that a man may think I would be clingy and may demand most of his time when we get into a relationship. I know I do not need to break it down like this but, just for fun, let me show you how easy it is to be with me. Well, THAT IS if you hate clinginess (is this even a word), Saran wrappiness (maybe not a legit word), and all that jazz. If you are the kind of man who is into tethering your girlfriend 24/7 to your man-shirt and man-pants, then it is a different story, and more importantly, I do not want to be with you.

See, we have 168 hours in one week. I am gainfully employed, with average social interactions outside of work, and so into television shows and books. So, in a week, I devote:

  • 49 hours   – Sleeping. I am not young in that I can no longer stay up until 3 am and go to work the next day. I have to get 6-7 hours of sleep per night if I don’t want to get sick on the 4th or 5th day of the week. I treasure weekends when I can sleep in longer.
  • 45 hours   – Working. Which includes my lunch break. I may stay beyond that but I don’t count them as work, being that I am only paid for 8 hours a day.
  • 12 hours   – Commuting. This is an average of the total time I spend five days a week going to and from work and my regular weekend plans, which means no out of towns.
  • 12 hours   – Reading. This is a conservative average. It could go higher but I try not to get too invested in faeries, necromancers, political spies, horny billionaires, and demon slayers, so let’s keep it at that.
  • 7 hours   – Watching TV or movies. Again, a conservative average.
  • 5 hours   – Socials. I have to have time with my friends and not always with you, my lover.
  • 8 hours   – Personal time. This includes actual grooming time and other lady quirks. But it’s only roughly one point something hours a day. I do not wear makeup other than lipstick which always gets smudged off when I eat my cheese bread in the morning so I don’t need much time beyond taking a bath and other personal, TMI activities.

If we add them up, that’s 138 hours in a week. That leaves me 30 hours to be with you.

Just 30 hours. You are free to suggest whatever we can do during this time.  I could make adjustments and include you in other activities like commuting, watching movies, socials, and sleeping (that is 49 hours I am willing to devote not purely to sleeping, wink wink). At best, this is what I can offer.

Kidding aside (well, who says I am kidding in the first place?), it only means there are forms of freedom I can no longer give up. And I think it is healthy to have something like that. Some may say I am actually busy with all these things going on in my life. But if you focus on that 30 hours, that is still a void.

Just putting it out there because even with all these fun times, sometimes it can still get pretty boring and sad. Now don’t tell me be careful what you wish for because you just might get it (just might get it); don’t ruin it yet. It’s only 30 hours I’m trying to fill.

However, if you want to be with me longer, we can talk about it. Madali naman ako kausap.

A different kind of road rage.

For the past five years, madami na akong naipong anecdotes of my encounters with taxi drivers.  I have shared a few of them before.  See, it seems mahilig ako mabiktima ng mga manongs na yun.  One of my friends said yung itsura ko kasi either madaling kausapin or mukhang madaling maisahan.  I don’t know how any of them figured in my experiences with the drivers.

Some of these encounters were outstanding.  May parang baliw na nagpo-prophesize.  Meron naman malakas mang-inis.  Minsan me war-freak.  Yung iba parang gago lang.  Merong minsan gusto mo mag-tumbling sa pinagsasabi.  May nagpainit ng ulo ko na ngayon di ko na matandaan kung bakit (though malakas kutob ko it had something to do with ginugulangan ako sa pamasahe!).  Yung iba, cool lang.

Lately, I’ve been having a deluge of these manong encounters.  Eto may kuwento ako pero let me remind you, I am not a bit proud of what I did.  Kaso, pasensya na, I am also not sorry.  Kay God lang pala ako nag-sorry.  Pati nanay ko nagulat sa akin kasi nawitness nya kung paano ako mag-unleash ng galit parang si Hulk.

Matandang payat na kalbong driver kasi yun isang maaliwalas na Linggo ng umaga.  Papunta sana kami sa Tabora para mamili ng gagamitin sa halloween party namin.  Di naman mainit ulo ko to start with, in fact, ang saya ko pa pagsakay kasi kinukuwento ko sa nanay ko na magka-grupo kami nung crush ko sa The Phantom of the Opera cheverlu namin sa office.  Anyway, nag-suggest lang naman ako na from San Andres, sa Taft na dumaan si manong, kasi off-peak hour yun, meaning nakahambalang ang mga nakapangingilabot na trailer trucks sa Osmena Highway.  Dun pa lang nagpakita na ng inis si manong.  “Ah, wag na hong makialam sa dadaanan ha.  Driver ako ,alam ko po papunta dun.”  Ooookay.   Hinayaan na lang namin kasi Linggo naman, walang traffic.  Aba, ilang sandali, papunta na ng Roxas Boulevard si manong.  So nagtanong lang si mother kung anong daan ang ite-take nya…kasi pinakamadali yung lalabas ka ng Taft dire-diretso na sa Divisoria.   Aba, nag-hyperventilate ang manong na kalbo saka ba naman kami sinigawan,” AKALA NYO BA NILOLOKO KO KAYO? EH IDINADAAN NGA KAYO SA TAMA EH.  HIRAP SA INYO PARA KAYONG NILOLOKO.  BAGONG SALTA SIGURO KAYO DITO! 1970 PA LANG NAGMAMANEHO NA AKO SA BUONG MAYNILA!”

So kalmado pa kami nun, ineexplain namin na, hindi naman, pero baka SINCE PASAHERO KAMI, HELLO, eh pwedeng sabihin nya kung saan kami dadalhin, ‘no?  Eh kaso dumakdak pa rin.  Nabuwisit lang ako nung sinigawan nya at minura ang nanay ko na parang sya ang bumubuhay sa amin.  Tapos ako.  Eh gago pala eh, kaya ayun, sinabihan ko syang tama na sa kakasigaw.  Alam ko twice ko lang sinabi yun pero after the incident, sabi ng nanay ko, limang beses ko raw sinabi yun at pataas ng pataas ang boses ko.  Pasensya na, tao lang, what happened after that was something I will never be proud of pero minura ko sya ng bonggang bongga.  Verbal abuse tlaga…eh ganun din naman sya eh.  Sabayang pagbigkas talaga kami parang linggo ng wika!!! Feeling nya kase, matanda na sya kaya TAMA SYA SA LAHAT.  Tanga ka, wag mo ko hihiritan ng ganun.  So ayun, hininto ang taxi sa service road, bumaba na daw kami kung ayaw namin ng daan nya.  So bumaba kami.  Gusto pa bayaran ng nanay ko yung metro na itinakbo namin pero (sorry ulit), sinindak ko ang nanay ko na, “MY, BUMABA KA, WAG KANG MAGBAYAD + (SOME MORE EXPLETIVES PARA SA FOAMING IN THE MOUTH NA MANONG)!”  Sobrang gigil ko tlaga nun.  Tapos sumisigaw pa rin sya na mga ignorante raw kami sa Maynila, at parang laging niloloko.  As this was happening, yung mga onlookers na taxi drivers din nagsisimula ng mag-inch papunta sa amin.  So nagwalk out na lang kami.

Ako naman pag nailabas ko na at tapos na ang moment, okay na ako.  Hindi ako matanimin.  Hahaha.  Pero alam ko, rudeness to the extreme level talaga on my part yun.  Pero wala kasi kayo dun eh.  Basta iba! Pero alam nyo, ngayon, naisip ko, baka may problema sya kaya ganun.  Narealize ko paulit-ulit sya dun sa “ignorante” at “parang niloloko”.  So baka may prior bad experiences sya na parang ganun.  He flared up without warning, as in! Hindi naman sya mukhang bangag, to be fair.  Sya lang yung tipong “know-it-all, street smart kuno” na medyo may edad na.  Kaso wala naman sya license na magganun di ba?  Sumisigaw talaga na akala mo pinagbibintangan namin sya ng homicide!!!

Atsaka as passengers, makinig ka pag me instructions sa yo kasi babayaran ka naman eh! Ngayon, kung medyo masikip ang daan na gusto ni pasahero at gusto mo magsuggest, e di sabihin mo ng maayos.  Eh alam nyo ba ang daan na alam ng since 1970 na driver na ito??? Yung babaybayin ang Roxas Boulevard hanggang makarating dun sa may papuntang pier na ang labas dun sa may Citibank Binondo…entrance to Divisoria na nga naman!  Holy guacamole, ang layo nun kaya!!! Alam nyo bang nung binaba nya kami, nagtaxi kami ulit at sinunod ang route na GUSTO KO, ayun, 5 minutes nasa Divisoria kami kasi since Linggo,  walang traffic sa may Manila City Hall!!!   Hay, ewan ko ba kung ano meron sa driver na yun!

Ang isa lang sa di ko nagawa ay kunin ang plate number at body number ng taxi nya.  Kaso even if I did that, isumbong ko man sya sa LTFRB, parang wala naman atang batas to punish rudeness or verbal abuse to passengers…meron ba??? Tsaka what if di naman sya mareprimand ng taxi operator nya kasi kanya pala yung taxi? So di bale na lang din.

Kaya every morning, napapatingin ako sa drivers na humihinto pag pumapara ako ng taxi.  Hindi ako natatakot sa kanya, ayoko na lang sya maging driver ulit, dahil papasok sa office, I really do have specific instructions kung saan dadaan at kung saan ako ida-drop off eh sa ugali nang yun, di ko tlaga sya uurungan ulit.  Sorry.

Ang biggest lesson na nakuha ko dito??? Mag-jeep na lang papuntang Divisoria.

Tsaka sige na nga, wag pumatol sa matanda, wag magmumura, at kung sino daw ang naaapi ay syang pagpapalain.

Okay, I got over a not-so sensible and painfully long post.  Next time, I will aim for something coherent and good-natured.  I just had to tell this story.

Wednesday conversations

I am still reeling from the scene that made me melt. It was probably nothing to other people but watching it made me so hot, I don’t know why. Oh well.

Back to my real life, here are some real quotes today:

Cab driver: So doon ka ba nagtatrabaho (my office – of course I told him where to drop me off)?
Me: Opo.
Cab driver: (in a mocking tone) Eh bakit wala kang sasakyan?

Cab driver: May asawa ka na ba?
Me: Wala pa ho.
Cab driver: Bakit, gusto mo ba Amerikano?
Me: Hindi ho.
Cab diver: Pero may boyfriend ka naman?
Me: Wala rin ho.
Cab driver: O e bakit naman? (looks at the rearview mirror) Di ka naman pangit.
Me: Eh hindi ko rin ho alam.

See, I frequently get “victimized” by drivers like him. Siguro kasi they see me as a non-threatening kind of person. Atsaka sumasagot kasi ako. This is why dapat nakapasak na sa tenga ang earphones pagsakay pa lang sa taxi, para wala ng tanong tanong. It’s a form of abuse, you know?



yummy friend: (laughs) Ah alam ko na kung magkaibigan kayo ni GD.
Me: Bakit?
yummy friend: Dahil pareho kayong other woman.

Click here for more quotes…

my bigtime driver

Telling drivers where I work usually gets them all worked up with questions and-or stories that are hard to refuse to listen if only to preserve my respect for people. And it’s not as if it’s unavoidable because that’s the first thing I tell them when I open the car door. My only lucky savior moments are when I stick the earphones to my ears as soon as my ass touched the seat, and when they think I’m not an employee, but in fact an applicant. The latter would not totally save me from having a conversation but at least I could act innocently as regards the rules.

I’ve had my lion’s share of commuter tales. Today is no different. Pagsakay ko pa lang, the driver started yapping as I put on my accessories. Narinig ko na lang sya coherently doon sa part na he’s relating his Israel sojourns as a son of a diplomat. Nabigyan daw sya ng US visa when he was 15 but was denied when he applied for renewal nung 20 na sya. It was a loooong story that ended with, “anak na ako ng diplomat hindi pa ako nabigyan, what more ang mga ordinaryong tao lang”. I found out ten minutes after that his other stories about his passengers all ended with the same punch line.

He told me about people who are applying for visas na ang yabang agad eh hindi pa nabibigyan. Mga passengers going to or from the Commision on Filipinos Overseas office na pupunta na abroad at nag-seminar na. Mga foreign passengers na ubod ng yabang pag minamata ang mga kagaya nyang driver. Mga astang mayaman na masungit sa taxi driver.

All of them were, allegedly, thrown the line that ran along, “anak ako ng diplomat at kung saan-saan na ako nakarating sa mundo” or its variation, “baka nga ang mga narating ko hindi mo pa napuntahan.” Parang sagana sa humility chip si manong lately ano?

Ironically, of all his stories, nakuha pa nyang i-match ng pagmumura ng malulutong na p**ang i*a ang mga “mayayabang”
na taong na-mention nya. Hay buhay.

At the unloading station, he told me,”O miss pag Ambassador ka na diyan, bigyan mo ako ng eternal visa.”

Hanep. Patay tayo diyan. Kablag.

Isang maikli lang

I’ve been a commuter for close to 13 years now. Halos lahat na ata ng commuter tales naipon ko na. When school goes on a short break in two weeks, I hope to share some of them with you. Very relatable, lalo na kung commuter ka din gaya ko.

Let me just share this one though.

Nag-tataxi ako every morning to the office dahil ayokong dumating na dugyutin sa office, okay? So awa ng Diyos, pagkatapos nung isang manlolokong driver noong bandang 2004 pa, my morning trips to the office have been breezy.

Minsan lang, naiinis ako.

May mga drivers na siga, ang hilig mang-away ng kapwa driver na nakagitgitan nila sa daan. Alert ako sa ganyan and I always tell my driver na hayaan na at wag pansinin. Pero merong war freak talaga (parang ako kung minsan, eh?). Sila yung tipong tapos na ang gitgitan, ayun at tatapat pa sa sasakyan nung isa, at makikipagtitigan. Minsan magmumura pa. Madalas sa hindi, papatulan naman sya nung isa. So ayan, magsisimula na ang ridiculous karera sa daan, na akala mo naman they got nothing to lose kung magkabanggaan sila.

Anyway, I had a brush with that scenario this morning at hindi nakuha yung taxi driver ko sa malumanay kong pakiusap na hayaan na lang at wag na patulan yung nasa CRV. Eh matigas ang ulo, gusto atang may patunayan. Anak ni damokles talaga, yung mga nakikipag-girian na ganun, galit na galit ako talaga. At sinabi ko sa mamang driver na mabuti sana kung babanggain sya o babarilin sya sa pang-a-agitate nya eh sya lang ang maagrabyado! Wag syang mandamay, pwede ba!

Well, that’s minor compared sa mga taxi drivers na napakahilig tumabi sa ga-higanteng trailer trucks na upon closer look, nakapatong lang talaga yung container vans doon sa trailers. Maryosep. Pero sa susunod na yun. Basta kapag nakasakay ako sa ganoong taxi, ang higpit ng kapit ko sa upuan. Takot ako mamatay ng ganung ka-tragic ha. As I said, next time na lang – and if you travel the busy roads of either Quirino Avenue or Osmeña highway, maiintindihan nyo ako lalo.

ang nakakalokang kuwento ni mamang taxi driver

(warning: paglalahad lang, walang kinukumpirmang katotohanan)

i know many of you have heard of the urban legends and other creepy stories about marcos and his minions. some stories that came about with regard to his utter greatness and forthcoming vindication, like those of elvis and hitler, are too absurd to be true. and this taxi driver’s tale is one version of those stories.

the driver was middle-aged and he spoke good english.  seeing our month’s worth of groceries, he started his story with, “by november, don’t worry, the exchange rate will be 1 (dollar) is to 20 (pesos).” (aba, hokey yun.) he then said, “magkakagulo in the next two months”, then he went on with this “young man”, who is about to become the next leader of the philippines. “bata” daw ni marcos.

habang nakataas ang kanang kilay, i asked, “how young is he?”

“thirty to thirty-six.”

“has he been around? do we know him?”

“yes, you’ve seen him, but you don’t know him.”

oooookay. in english tlaga yang usapan na yan ha.

(i already have an idea of where this story might lead.)

he further added, basta magkakagulo kasi nga dun sa takeover nitong si “young man”, it will be bloody and the ultimate goal is to “wipe out all politicians.” ohhh…..siyempre sumakay na lang ako. “nakakatakot naman po kung ganoon, baka gawing shield ng mga politicians na ito ang mga ordinary citizens tulad namin dahil obviously they can’t just give it all up.”

“exactly, iha.” uyyy, kakampi na nya ako.

ang projection daw ng takeover na ito ni “young man” ay two months lang to execute the grand plan, pero anything can happen. pwedeng longer than that, probably years pa.

anyway, i never had the chance to question him further, i don’t even look him in the eye, mahirap na ha. i don’t believe in kulam, hipnotismo, mga nuno sa punso and the like, pero mahirap na makipagsapalaran. sa totoo lang, kamukha nya si rafael alunan III, kaya kahit papano napapatingin ako. naks.

sensing that it’s his cue to talk, he went on with the ff:

1. by november, 1 is to 20 na ang palitan ng dollar to peso, by feb next year, 1 is to 1 na at by january 2007, isa na lang daw ang currency ng mundo. anak ng pating, astig di ba?!

2. the US and 127 other countries (so napaisip tuloy ako kung gaano kadami ba talaga ang mga countries sa mundo…) owe marcos a great deal of money na nag-mature na daw noong january kaya payback time na. kung kelan nila inutang at kung saan kinuha ni marcos ang pampautang, aba, hindi ko na tinanong.

3. babagsak ang amerika. okay, what’s new. nasa UP pa lang ako eh ito na ang mga hope against hope ng ibang kakilala ko. sa kalakaran in the next year or two, -79 ang magiging halaga ng US dollar. “ganito na lang, bumili ka ng isang item worth $150, pero ibayad mo, one peso and fifty cents, may sukli ka pa.” well, di ko naman nasabi sa kanya na, “pasensya na ho, mahina po ako sa math.”

4. dahil ayaw bayaran ng US ang utang nila kay marcos, they had four of marcos’ doctors killed, replaced by CIA doctors na filipinos din. they injected him with something kaya daw sya nagkaroon ng lupus, sakit of unknown origin and unknown cure. mairesearch nga ito. hmmm.

5. since they can’t bring marcos down just like that, nag-plan b sila. (eto, hawak na kayo sa upuan) nung na-political asylum sa boston ang aquino family (yes, ang pamilya ng paborito kong si kris at ng crush ko since kahapon na si noynoy, buwahahaha), it’s not because ninoy has a heart problem, but because he has cancer and is to die na rin naman. the US asked him, “so papayag ka na lang ng ganyan, mamamatay ka ng hindi mo man lang napapabagsak si marcos?” (o di ba, nag-tagalog siguro tlaga sila!) well, you basically know what happened to ninoy, at yun daw eh orchestrated ni ninoy at ng american government.

6. recently, may meeting sa manila hotel ang mga chinese businessmen. andun daw si GMA, nag-speech. dumating din si “young man” kung saan, to make the long story short, naging conduit si lucio tan para makapag-usap sina “young man” at GMA. btw, he said na “maliit na tao” lang daw ito si “young man” so nagtataka ako kung bakit hindi na lang sila nag-usap ni GMA, tutal, malamang, magkikita sila ng mata sa mata (old flavier joke, i know). pagkatapos daw ng event na yun, dumiretso si GMA na-i-withdraw lahat ng pera nya sa landbank sa makati, si mike naman sa HSBC, lahat papunta sa bangko sa US. kung ano ang napag-usapan nila, hindi sinabi nung driver. please note that while this story is being told, nakatingin lang ako sa bintana ng taxi, kunwari ay nagmumuni-muni sa sinasabi nya. magaling ako dyan.

7. sa 6 years na nakaupo si fidel ramos, nagkaroon sya ng 2 malls sa south africa at sa isa pang bansa, isang port sa mexico, dalawang cargo ships (amelia 1 daw at amelia 2—di ba, ang discreet? di man lang ba pinangalanang rosemary 1 at rosemary 2?), at kung anu-ano pang mga pag-aari at swiss bank accounts. sabi, he’s one of the richest man sa mundo, sa liga ng mga magnanakaw. huwaaat? at si joe de venecia, yoda himself, no offense, ay ang nagmamay-ari ng oil cartel sa pilipinas. well, kung sinabi nyang si JDV ang may-ari ng gumagawa ng M&M’s, thus the inspiration of the M&M mascots, baka napangiti pa ako.

well, yung sinabi nyang si ramos ang mukhang nagcocontrol ng nangyayari ngayon sa laro ng politika ni GMA eh medyo hindi absurd yon, di ba?

pero going back to the “grand plan” nitong si “short young man”, isa lang ang naisip ko. HE IS TOO MUCH A NICOLAE CARPATHIA OF THE LEFT BEHIND SERIES. hindi ba???

ayokong i-judge na sobrang disillusioned yung driver although sa akin eh iyon tlaga ang una kong naramdaman. ang lakas ng trip nya no?

pero katulad ng maraming pagkakataon, i did not argue with him. i never did, pagdating sa mga political ideologies. sila may hawak ng steering wheel ano? tama ng makinig ka ng makinig dahil for all you know, sa hirap ng byahe, ang isang pasaherong “willing to listen” lang ang kailangan nila, hindi isang kadebate.

ang nasabi ko na lang sa kanya, “i hope we will be able to see the day na maayos na nga ang pilipinas.” sagot nya sa akin, “may awa ang Panginoon, iha.”

at lahat ng yan ay naganap lamang sa biyaheng equivalent sa 85 pesos na patak ng taxi meter. sana lang hindi na ulit ako makasakay sa kanya bandang november dahil hindi ko alam kung ano magiging reaction ko.