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.

As soon as we got the fare right we discarded all pretense of knowing what we were doing and told the driver (in sugary sweet tones) that we were going to Tandang Sora, did he know where that was and could he please drop us off there?

Also, bus seats are good for two. So imagine my discomfort when the conductor squeezed beside me. I fished through my bag and brought out my housekeys, which I proceeded to insert between every finger (pointy side up) and then curled my fingers into a fist. Needless to say he left after half a minute of eyeing me flexing my fingers.

We disembarked from the bus at Tandang Sora (it was already dark by this time) and wound our way through the sidewalk market filled with people hawking wares from handbags to pakwan (watermelon).

This is the part where we got lost.

Like I said, The Professor’s directions were screwy so we found ourselves gamely walking onward, knowing that eventually we’ll see something familiar.

Eventually we caved in and asked a woman for directions on how to get to U.P. She was nice enough to oblige us and pointed out the route as well as what to take. After two crossings of a major intersection, we finally found the blue trike that, at that time, already looked like a holy chariot. We had the foresight to ask the lady for fare prices and by this time confidently handed over the exact fare. When we finally arrived at the U.P. Terminal I took charge — finally a place that I knew how to get around in.

All in all it was fun, but extremely dizzying.

2 Comments so far

  1. Ain (unregistered) on March 16th, 2005 @ 12:06 am

    Amazing. I wouldn’t have been able to commute like that. My solution whenever I’m lost is to take a cab. har.

    but the conductor must die, he was obviously a perv.

  2. kyameel (unregistered) on March 16th, 2005 @ 2:16 pm

    Hehe. That’s what I usually do when am lost as well. As long as I can fake it, I just try to figure it out and navigate my way through. Horror stories of people “pouncing” on you when it seems you don’t know your way around is scary. So I fake it when I can.

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