Archive for March, 2005

Metropolitan Mall Hospital

Following my surgery, I’ve been chained to a hospital bed for a week. I thought there was nothing that would make me feel worse than the pain in my belly, the constant nausea, and the feeling of the catheter moving as I move, uhh, down there. I was wrong.
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Another day, another jeepney ride

With nothing better to talk about, I’ll let you in on what usually happens whenever I take the dreaded ride home via the jeep, the Philippine’s most wonderful mode of public transportation. (Yes, I’m too lazy to learn how to drive.)

It’s the second jeep I’m going to take to get home — luckily I’ve got Karen, my daily commuter buddy with me to deaden the pain. We wait at the side of the road for a jeep to pass by, like hookers waiting for the jackpot. Since it’s rush hour, there’s a crowd to contend with and it’s always good to keep in mind that everyone is your enemy and there is no such thing as mercy.
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The Good, the Bad and the Holy

Local news never fails to amuse me and at the same time manage to incur a headache. ABS-CBN and GMA (two of the more popular channels) both had their local news program playing at the same time so I would alternately watch both shows.

Now like all things Filipino, the news shows had all the gory, inconsequential and stupid bits of news, interspersed with news that actually seemed important (But who cares about that, hey? I mean really.). And both shows also had a theme going on — since it’s Holy Week, the news was peppered with all things holy. In the Filipino’s case, all things related to religion, even if it’s absurd.

Absurdity #1. GMA’s show does a bit on how one congregation refuses to follow the Catholic rule of not eating pork during the Holy Week. Camera sweeps on the subdivision, pan on the church. Zoom in on walking, ordinary Filipinos, zoom in, zoom in, look they’re eating pork. Gasp, dismay.

They interview the priest of the church. The priest expresses his disappointment in his flock and urges them on national television to see the error of their ways. There is a hint of fire and eternal damnation in there but it is only discreetly (and tastefully) mentioned.
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Summer Break in a Cynic’s POV

School terms in Manila end this week.

Undergrads wait expectantly for that much-deserved uno, or that hard-earned tres, or anxiously try to delay the retribution of the let

Pacquiao Country

A few hours before Manny Pacquiao’s much-anticipated (at least in Manila and boxing circles) match against Erik Morales, the Philippines has been talking, thinking, living, breathing nothing but Manny Pacquiao updates. Or maybe because I work for the sports section. At any rate, anything that can be said about the subject has been said; anything that can be written has been written; and anyone who can be asked for his opinion on the matter (from old referees to Mike Tyson) has been asked.

Yes, Manila is ready to rumble. Or something.

Now for the superstitious: what’s tomorrow being Palm Sunday got to do with this fight? Will it be an early Biyernes Santo (Good Friday) for Filipinos, or will he lift the entire nation up from its dreary existence with a win? Stay tuned at 10 a.m. tomorrow. Bring your own cornik.

Late Night [Stomach] Rumble

The following is a tale of a hungry paper pusher working late. Let this serve as a notice to all regarding nighttime deliveries

It’s dinner time, I should be home. But I’m still in the office, at the heart of busy Ortigas. By this time, the inner voices of my stomach call out for food. I then quickly dial the nearest available fast food chain for a quick delivery.
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Wandering fools: 3, Commute Hell: 2

I went to a barangay in Novaliches to give infant supplies to the people there, accompanied by The Professor (I’m taking a page out of J.K Rowling’s style here and say that He-Should-Not-Be-Named) and a classmate. It was fun in a chaotic way.

This is the first time I’ve actually visited a barangay so it was fascinating to watch how the system worked — the Deputy ordered three of the ‘barangay tanods’ to accompany us as a safety precaution against the overenthusiastic people (apparently riots have been known to break out when it comes to free supplies). At first I thought that it was rather silly, but I was proved wrong when we were almost mobbed by the impatient folk halfway through the supplies. It came to the point that we had to stay in the barangay vehicle and hand out the supplies through the windows.

We ran out of supplies around 530p.m. and The Professor oh-so-graciously dropped us off in the middle of nowhere, leaving us to puzzle out how the hell we were going to get to familiar ground. He did give us directions on how to get back to Katipunan before leaving us, but believe me when I say that the directions he gave were screwy.

Being forced to commute from Fairview at night to get home is an adventure. We took a bus going to some place called “Ilalim” (at least that’s what the conductor kept shouting), which actually means beneath in English but can also be aptly called Hell. We didn’t dare to ask how much the fare was since if you so much as inquire about commute fares the drivers/conductors (that’s what they call the guys who collect your fare here) don’t even bat an eyelash when they give you an outrageous price — and you’re forced to pay that much since you don’t know if they’re lying through their teeth or telling the truth. So we took our seats and donned bored expressions, handing over our fare like this was a daily commute we took. We made a wild guess that it would be 20php or less for two people and it paid off — it really was 10php per ride.
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Prison Standoff

Want to hear a funny joke? There’s this guy at this maximum security prison a few blocks from my house who managed to steal a gun from a guard then kill three guards, wound several others and still manage to stay alive for over 18 hours now.

Makes you wonder, what is there to negotiate? He’s still in jail, he’s down to about how many bullets and yet still manages to keep over 400 inmates, 200 police and the media circus at the palm of his hands. Silly SWAT team… Silly “No negotiations” government…

Anyway, traffic going home is a mess but besides that, there’s this really funny logic going around that I stupidly did not catch.

News Sources:

BBC

CNN

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Sporadic bursts of thought, then I’m off

One thing I love about tall buildings (Discovery Suites in Ortigas in particular) is the view, especially at night. :) The view from their top floor is fantastic and at the same time, dizzying.

And I don’t know what you call that road, but the new one that cuts straight from somewhere after Katipunan to Ortigas was a terrific idea. Kudos goes to the people who built it. It cuts the traveltime immensely, letting you forego the traffic jam (especially at 5p.m).

The weather nowadays is absofreakinglutely horrid. One minute you’re drenched in your own sweat, next you’re running towards the nearest shelter in fear of getting sick thanks to the sudden downpour. Then it’s a play between hot and cold at night. Eargh. All we need now to complete the show is the red river and the locusts eating our buildings.

And one thing I noticed about our Flickr pool: the Manila Metbloggers sure love taking pictures of traffic. Lol.

Fly away with me

Yesterday afternoon, I faced a difficult decision to make: take the bus or MRT going to Quezon city from Makati? It may seem silly, but with the terrible traffic conditions and the scorching weather, it’s essential to make the right decision if you want to arrive at your destination in one piece or at least in a good mood and still fresh.

In the midst of weighing the pros and cons of each, I suddenly raised my hand and hailed a cab. That was probably the best cab ride I’ve ever had in Manila. From Ayala Avenue, the cab driver turned left at Paseo de Roxas and went up the Buendia flyover going to C-5. From there, we went up and down several flyovers along the stretch of C-5 from Makati all the way to Quezon City.

The latest installment to the set was the Boni Serrano – Katipunan (?) interchange, which composed of a flyover and 2 underground tunnels. It was the cause of terrible traffic jams and several vehicular accidents, which of course, resulted to numerous complaints. Today, hoever, I wonder if they’re still complaining.

The entire trip from Ayala Avenue to Katipunan took about 50 minutes — an impossible feat if we went via EDSA.

My trip back to Makati is different altogether. From Katipunan, I took the new LRT to Recto, and planned to take the old LRT to Vito Cruz. While the new LRT was (once again) a pleasant experience, the next leg was something typically Pinoy.

Instead of riding the old LRT, I decided to take the jeep to Divisoria. The wide expanse of C-5 and the strict discipline enforced at the LRT presents a stark contrast to the lively world of Divi.

The road that can accomodate 4 lines of vehicles was reduced to letting only cars pass one at a time. Street vendors and their wares crowd the streets and at least a meter of the road from the gutter on both sides. Pedestrians and street peddlers squeeze around what little space left as vehicles of various sizes pass through the very busy street. Vehicles move at a snail’s pace. Jeeps, buses and FX taxis stop every 3 feet loading or unloading passengers, causing everybody behind to also stop.

Divisoria has been like this for as long as I can remember. I do however remember a time when one of the main streets, was surprisingly clean of trash and vendors. Sadly, that only lasted for a couple of months. It wasn’t surprising though, that the street went back to how it was before. Whenever traffic enforcers try to get the vendors off the road and back in the streets, the vendors would just move their wares back by a meter, and move back when the official has walked off.

The contrast between these two experiences shows us two things: That there’s hope for us to progress as long as we support and promote the development of infrastructures. However, if we always protest change and refuse to be disciplined, we’ll always remain in this state.

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