from the commuter

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Spanish Love Affair

LRT Train

“Que chavacano!” my Spanish teacher used to say angrily to us whenever he heard an ungrammatical statement from us. If it was his way of embarrassing us for our mistakes, he failed big time. It didn’t have the same effect as when  people remarked, “Ang barok ng English mo” about one’s English.

Since I didn’t feel insecure or stupid in my Spanish class unlike how some Math teachers made me feel years back, I went on to study the language for few more years. I reached a certain level of proficiency that enabled me to use the language in conversations and in reading. However, work came, and I started doing almost everything in English. Adios, Espanol!

The Spanish language became like an ex-lover after that. Once in a while, I was reminded of it. When I heard Spanish words in songs, I would smile for I could recognize the language while others couldn’t. When I heard people spoke it, I turned my head to the speakers but couldn’t take part in their conversation.  When I wanted to go back and learn it, I told myself it had no use anymore. Spanish to me started to become distant yet familiar still.

I am not sure how long this separation will last. I might have some form of rekindling in the future. I say this because the LRT trains I took reminded me of how beautiful the language is. There were excerpts of Spanish poetry posted all over the train. The translations do justice, yet nothing beats the original. It is always humanizing to read poetry in whatever language, and I am grateful that in my commute something reminded me of that quality when one reads poetry. 
Berso sa Metro

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Waiting at UN LRT Station

An indicator to suggest that living in a particular place may not be very desirable is when people in the area  freely give out discount cards to motels. When I received my second discount card within two hours of being in Monumento in Caloocan, I told myself that I had just added one in my list of places to avoid.
UN LRT Station, UN Avenue
It was my first time alone in Monumento because I had to get an NBI Clearance. The last time I got mine was seven years ago in Carriedo in Manila. Now, the NBI Clearance Processing Center is housed in a mall near Monumento LRT station. I cannot complain about the whole thing; I managed to get my clearance in a little over an hour of queuing and getting my fingers dirtied. The time spent for the application was acceptable.
I would have to recognize, though, the help extended by various people whom I asked to point to me where Victory Mall was. There were still many accommodating people around.
On my way home, I took the LRT to take me the other end of the train line – Baclaran. I was amazed by the worth of my 15-peso ticket. No wonder why commuters take the LRT. It really is a lot cheaper! If I took a different mode of transportation to Baclaran, it would have cost me at least 50 bucks! That experience made me consider supporting a move to increase LRT fare to an agreeable rate. Metro Manila commuters benefit from it; an additional peso may just make things better.
As I reached for my ticket in my pocket to be handed to the blue guard by the turnstile, the discount cards came into view. The cards got me thinking : Did I give them the impression that I was into short-time sex and that I might need the cards?
Although sex sells, there is nothing much to discuss here. Hehe. I choose not to, or I can talk about it in a different post. Hehe.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011



Didn’t taxis get their fare increase already? I couldn’t understand why cab drivers have to ask for extra. Worst, they ask you when you are already inside. I feel I am coerced every time this happens. “Dagdag ka na lang ng bente,” seems to be a standard response for some drivers after a passenger reveals a destination. I don’t have an extensive taxi experience, so I am clueless when this happens. I am certain of my feelings, though. I blame myself for tolerating such act.

I don’t take taxis unless I really have to. Recently, I picked up baby sister at the airport. At that point, she was the typical provincial lass with a carton box as part of her luggage. Inside her box were fresh Zamboanga fish and other foodstuff to augment my near empty fridge. In an old ice cream plastic box in another bag were garlic, tomatoes and onions. She knew we needed all those here in Manila. So, with those treats and her bag of clothes, we had to take the cab. You see, Manila airports have not been very friendly to the jeepney-riding public because hauling all the luggage to the nearest jeepney stop would require Herculean strength, which is something most people have yet to achieve. Besides, I do not approve of bringing in big bags in jeeps; I have to consider other passengers also.

I had to ignore the taxi ride home. Lamenting on it would just spoil the excitement I had for all the food to keep me happy for the next few days.

Dad is arriving in a few days. I wonder what he will have in his bag.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day Post

My dear friend Paul asked me if I could go with him to Ateneo. Being the true-blooded Lasallian that he is, he did not wish to dwell in the enemy’s place by himself. I was just too happy to oblige. Besides, he was to treat me out for lunch and fare! I couldn’t complain. Hehe. In fact, he was doing me a favor. I needed to see big concrete walls and inhale pollution as I had lately been a prisoner of my 30-square-meter mansion.
I have gone to Ateneo from Paranaque before. So, Ateneo is not exactly an unchartered territory.  I thought I was going to be a helpful travel mate. We were to meet at Robinson’s Galleria in Ortigas at 9 in the morning, an hour before the mall opening. Let’s just say he passed through three major thoroughfares  from Cavite, his residence, and the EDSA thoroughfare was one of them, and this was a weekday morning.  Seven years of teaching experience has somewhat taught me patience. So, one hour and a few minutes of waiting was still bearable.  It was a good thing that I was in an area where cellphone signals did not fail me, and where a church was nearby. Church + Cellphone = 1 hour waiting time. Again, I couldn’t complain. Hehe.
I thought we were to take the MRT, but Paul wasn’t a fan of the MRT. Like me, he disliked queuing and crowded trains, but he was the kind with more options: he had taxi money to spare.
Eventually, our trip also consisted of the less-crowded LRT2 train, tricycle  and bus rides until we parted ways. There was nothing spectacular about the commute, really. It was more of the companionship and friendship that he had displayed that made the day bearable and pleasurable albeit the heat and the walk. Days before our meeting, he told me that we could do some catching up like we did before when we were both doing part-time work for the night school years ago. He said that we could make up for lost time as he would be busy in the coming days, and even years.
His mother arrived from the US few days after we met. I am thrilled for him as he is to spend the last days of his secular life with his family before he proceeds to a greater calling away from his folks. He deserves all the time to be with his favorite people. His mother, I suppose, couldn’t ask for anything more.
He added that his mother would be able to witness big transitions in his life as he takes that step closer to religious life. His mother must be very proud and supportive. All mothers are, I think. Pride and support can be seen from our mothers when we show them that we can make sound grown-up decisions in our life.
My mother is no exception. She is finally reading my blog after that “Inquirer Young Blood” article.  She has been showing off the clipped Inquirer article to her friends.
There is no joy greater than honoring your parents. It feels great, I tell you.
This post is in celebration of “Mother’s Day, ” which I intend to celebrate every day of my life. I would also like to extend my mothers’ day greetings to the anyone who has given birth particularly to the mother-readers of this blog ( I only know one: Sheryl Dionio). Hehe. Thank you!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Commuters and Malls

It is easy to spot a commuter in malls. All one has to do is look for someone with a backpack (or an oversized bag) in the airconditioned spaces of the mall. Car-driven mall guests usually leave their bags in their cars and bring just enough luggage to the mall: wallet/purse or handbag. The commuter is still the standout mall-goer! Hehe.
I talk of commuting and malling because the average Juan does a lot of these two. Each is inseparable to the other. I know so because I am Juan. Especially around this time when it’s vacation and I am jobless, I have been doing a lot of those although I do not enjoy doing the former because  the heat is killing me! However, when I have successfully endured the commute and have reached the mall destination of choice, I am treated to the agreeable mall temperature that cools my drenched back! Perfect! Next stop, hospital! Hehe.
In this story, it is SM.
With my bag with me, I head to the foodcourt section , buy two slices of pizza, drink from their potable water fountain and take my place in one of those comfortable seats. I take out my netbook and pray for WiFi access. My prayer is not answered.  I pack my stuff, roam around and thank that there is Booksale around. Booksale buys me 20-30 minutes of additional mall time. Then, I tell myself it is time to go. “You’re down to your last eight pesos. “