from the commuter

The photos which I took myself are random images of commuting and life. Enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


A view from the Jollibee store in ATC

The school year is ending, and so is my employment with the school I have served for seven long years.

Around this time last year, I was also bowing out  of the school that I had been teaching for six years. With my resignation letter in place and clearances accomplished, I was waiting for the official last day of my employment. What to happen after my last day was still very uncertain, though. There was no definite work nor schools willing to take me in. The numerous jobs I applied for weren't calling me back. It was truly a difficult time.

I was having mixed feelings on my official last day of work. A part of me was rejoicing, yet another part of me was dreading many things; one of them was the possibility of me being unemployed, which was something I had not experienced before. Immediately after graduation I was the toast of my family and classmates for securing a job in one of South Manila's best schools. I was earning good money and became financially independent. I feared that my fortune might change. I did not want that to happen.

I had my phone with me, waiting for that ring from an employer. No ring took place. Acceptance, something I had very well managed to do, was a painful comfort. I took that big risk of resigning from work without an assurance of a replacement work; therefore, I must bear the consequences that went with it.

I have never regretted anything I did.

Midday of my last day, I did not regret saying "yes" when I was offered  to teach in the night school after my boss learned I was still waiting for a job offer. It was a perfect set-up, I thought. I would report to work at one pm since I had planned to work on my master's paper in the day. In addition, I bargained for one thing.  I told them that I could resign within the school year I wanted provided that I give them one month's notice. My last day became my first day of employment.

An hour after that offer, my phone rang. It was the school along Ayala Avenue in Makati asking me if I was willing to teach Communication Arts.

It has been a year since those life-changing decisions had to be made. I am making one as I write this. Every day I make decisions. The decisions I make chart my future.

My leaving the school, this time for sure, is a decision I have made. I do not fear my future now although I will be technically jobless for a month. I am unceasing in my prayers now. I know good things will happen out of this. I shall not be afraid, I tell myself.
...will be changing routes soon

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Red for Japan!

My co-teacher Steh proudly wearing her nice red shir
All employees of the school are asked to wear a white or red top for the next three days as our way of showing support and condolences for disaster-stricken Japan. I am slightly defying this order by wearing maroon. You see, I take the the public transport a.k.a. jeep to get to my school in the posh Ayala-Alabang Village, and all construction workers must enter the village using uniformed-color shirts and they take the jeep, too. Today just happens to be red t-shirt day for our dear laborers.

By entering the wealthy village using the jeep, I am already branded as poor; I owe it to whatever dignity I have left in me not to be identified as a construction worker. I have got nothing against these wonderful skilled workers, but I just would not want to be marked as one. I am never a fan of labels and unappealing uniforms.

Tomorrow, I shall wear white, perhaps although, personally, I don't think it has to be seen in the color of the shirt or the pins one wears to express grief over or support for something. I am one with everyone whose prayers are for Japan. I laud the school, however, for the awareness they are trying to raise among the members of the school community. Japan is devastated by the triple catastrophe it is experiencing. Whatever little help we could give will surely mean something. I give them my prayers.
That's me wearing a maroon shirt

Monday, March 21, 2011


“Sing,” the choir master said.

I did as told.

Then, she moved on to the next kid.

She was looking for new members to be part of the school’s NAMCYA-winning choir group.

When she heard me sing, I did not have to look at the expression of her face to know the probability of me joining the choir; I knew all along that I could never be a part of anything as great as a chorale group. It was more of fear masked by obedience that made me ‘sing’ in her presence.

Few months after that, I was bidding my classmates and schoolmates farewell as they boarded the ship to Manila to represent our region in the NAMCYA Children’s Choir Division.

They were the toast of the school, having brought honor to the school and the city. They put on these nice costumes and performed in the presence of top school and city officials. It was enviable, I had to admit, although I was happy listening to the music they produced from the opposite side of the stage.

Apparently the feelings still remain even after many years has gone by. I learned to abhor any videoke session with my workmates, for I remain to be the spectator. My growing admiration for anyone who could sing was met with frustration. Videoke invites after the first few were immediately rejected.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Passenger Series 4: The entrepreneurs

Taho Vendor

Rubberized Animal Toys Peddler

I'll never know how much they make in a day, and I'll never know the difficulties they experience either, but I my interactions with them give me a picture of a life I don't want to experience.

I stare at the likes of them when I see them in jeeps for that is as close as I could get as to experiencing the life they lead. I vow not to be in a position where I could hardly make ends meet. I owe it to myself and to my family. I do not completely blame them, though. Sometimes, life gives us apples; sometimes, something else.

Although they experience hardships that I do not want, and they take their trade to places that I will never go to, I share their worries also. Perhaps, our difference is just a few hundreds of pesos, but our concerns are more or less the same.

Addressing these concerns is what keeps us moving. I go to work teaching the kids while they peddle their goods in search of profit. At the end of the day, we  either begin thinking of what we will do next or we stop thinking since it's going to be pretty much the same the next day.
Business Attire: slippers, sando shirt, white shorts and backpack

Long day ahead

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Man waiting along Makati Avenue

How I relished the moment when I was mistaken for a student and was given a student discount not so many months ago in a jeep, but the truth still remains that I am getting old. Each waking day is a day closer to old age. Morbid it may sound, but it’s definitely true. An existentialist once  said that we start to age the moment we are born. No one can defy the course of nature. Knowing this fact, I have learned to embrace this reality and the responsibilities that go with it since there's nothing much I can do about it. The number I write for age seems to be proportionate with the responsibilities I carry. But like I said, I embrace it, or I think I do.
The moment I started receiving my cellphone bill, at 21,  was when I felt I was becoming an adult. Growing up, I saw my parents pay the countless bills we got. Hence, I have always associated bills payment with the maturity and responsibility of an adult individual. I did not enroll in those automatic debit facilities that some banks offer because I enjoyed going to SM to personally pay my bills. At first, it was a joy lining up, with the bill and cash on my hand; however, years after that cellphone bill, I saw myself paying for more bills which I started to detest doing: there's the Meralco, Maynilad, Citibank, Pag-Ibig that came. They seem to be calling for my attention every pay day! When  that happens, and it happens all the time, I regret growing old. At this point, I just really want to on my parents' nest again, carefree and debt-free! But my parents opted to give me their wings which I accepted wholeheartedly. I am flying alone, and it feels lonely sometimes. I thought that the power of adulthood is endless, but the things I do as grown-up seem to be pulling me down. My wings are clipped by the bills that make it under my door.
In times like these, I rely not on my wings as SM Bills Payment beckons; I take the jeep. I go there everytime with a clearer plan for much more important kind of maturity. I will be free from all these obligations very soon, I tell myself. I can't wait when that happens. But for now, I shall endure,  I shall learn. I guess it's part of growing up, or, perhaps, I have not grown up yet.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Passenger series 3: The fetcher

At around lunch, Johnny, not his real name, is fetched by a lady from a nearby day care center after a morning of fun-filled learning. Johnny, still with baby powder around his neck,  proudly shows his hand, which is stamped with a star from his class, to the lady. They approach the jeepney terminal togther; she holds the boy's small hands, and, at the same time, carries his equally small bag. The boy grips his juice and chocolate bar inside a paper bag. She lets the boy take his seat in the jeep; that's additional seven pesos of student's fare. She would occasionally smell and kiss her ward's small head. Every gesture shows her affection for the little boy. When they reach their stop, they carefully alight from the jeep. Other passengers help the small boy outside as the lady flash them a smile. They cross the street to their townhouse, leaving me smiling.