from the commuter

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

Monday, July 25, 2011


I was trying to list things that I look for in a friend. Careful scrutiny of my list shows that I look for someone like me or someone who shares the same values as I do. It goes without saying that anyone who may not be like me in many ways is an ‘x’ in my list. This got me thinking as to whom I don’t want to befriend. The first person to come into my mind was a former co-teacher. What didn’t I like about her?

  Gossip monger
  Social climber

It’s a relief that I don’t get to see her anymore, but I am bound to meet people who may be like her.

It has been two weeks since I started government work. I have met my new workmates. They are slowly revealing themselves to me. Likewise, I get to reveal something about myself to them also. Let’s just say I am not keen about being a popular member of the group. Let’s leave it at that.

In a teambuilding activity we had, I blurted out ‘sh_t’, an expression, which, sad to say, is the most readily available cuss word in my profanity vocabulary. I don’t claim to be the most upright of all beings, but I do detest hearing the words ‘P---- Ina’ and other Tagalog cuss words. For me, Tagalog cuss words are the vilest morphemes ever expressed by any mouthed Filipino.

An evaluation of the teambuilding activity later on revealed that "someone had said ‘sh_t’ in the activity." Guess who that was. I take full responsibility for that although a close friend would say it is not so big a deal. Apparently, in my line of work, the acceptable expressions are only those that promote harmony and world peace! In that case, sh_t will not be helpful.

Roxas Blvd near DFA
I really must watch out the words that come out of my mouth. I’m in the best position to say that language matters. I should not forget that I should be an exemplar of good manners and right conduct! Hehe!

I have always avoided foul-mouthed people. One major reason why I wanted to severe my ties with that former female co-teacher was the presence of P.I. after every ten words in her speech. I was successful at ‘unfriending’ her, but  curses did not leave me.

My everyday interactions with public transport service providers expose me to language not fit for general audience. I remember sitting in front of the jeep to have a front row experience of the language at its worst. I pitied the kid beside me.

“Gago, garapal talaga ‘to, ”  said the driver of another driver.  “Kanina pa yan. Puno na nga. Swapang talaga.”

“Bayad ‘ho. Baclaran lang ‘ho,” said a passenger to the same driver.

“Kabihasnan lang po.”

“Sorry po.”

When the confused passenger got out, the driver said, “Hindi nagbabasa. Kabihasnan nga lang. Magbasa-basa sa susunod ha.”

Heavy traffic came. “ ’Tang ina.”

Monday, July 18, 2011

Life/Death in Paranaque

The death of a relative of a former workmate made me realize that residing in Paranaque was a good decision. 

Early Sunday morning, I received the news that the mother of my favorite co-teacher in my former workplace had passed away. My former co-teachers were to hear mass at Funeraria Paz in Manila Memorial Park at around lunch time. It would have been a good opportunity to see them again although I realized that it would be in a rather sombre place. Anyway, I couldn’t make it at that time. I would go in the evening, I told myself.

Night came, a quiet Sunday  evening, and I went alone. The ride was a breeze, the weather acceptable. I paid my respects; I didn’t stay long. On my way home and thinking like a pragmatist, I was telling myself that I would not have gone if it was far. I would have to thank my proximity to the memorial chapel. Then, I went on mentally listing why Paranaque is a good place to live in.

1.     1. Proximity to  the airport and cemeteries
2.        2. Accessibility to various types of transportations
3.        3. Less flooding, at least in my part of the town
4.        4.  Density

These are my reasons, but other residents would probably supplement my reasons:
6.       5. Popular night spots (Air Force One, etc)
7.       6. Near Casinos
       7. Baclaran!
8.       8. El Shaddai

And the list goes on….

However, there are as many reasons why it might not be in someone else’s list.

We make do of what we have, really.

But my realizations that night did not end with my appreciation for my adoptive city. When I shook the hand of my co-teacher after expressing my condolences, she smiled and said, “I really appreciate your coming.” One simple gesture, one that did not require ten minutes probably gave a grieving individual some comfort. I can’t recall when the last time I made someone feel like that. But I tell myself this now: I will not wait for someone to die for that to happen again.
Alabang-Zapote Rd., Las Pinas City

Thursday, July 14, 2011


In my first week of work, the guards by our gate were greeting me good morning. I guess that is what formal office wear does to a person. Have I gained their respect to merit me a greeting every morning?

Back when I was a teacher, the greetings came naturally as this was how students should be, but that did not necessarily mean that they respected me. I would like to think that they did, but I would also understand if they did not. I have long learned that respect is gained, not given.

Now that I am in a new organization, I'm surrounded by many people who all possess one quality I highly admire. They are all brilliant individuals. Their powers seem to emanate from the breadth of their intelligence. Being surrounded by them makes me feel insignificant, but it is this inadequacy that makes me put on that nice shirt every day and take that FX to work,  so I could learn more and do more.


Yes, I have started with my new work. I praise the Lord! The week has gone by so quickly, but the speed draws me closer to more things that I am to explore. During the first three nights, I slept very late because I was kept awake by the mixed feelings I was experiencing --- anxiety, excitement, nervousness, confusion, etc.

The nights after that were better. The upcoming days seem to look the same.

This work seems to be very different from what I had in my previous work. Although all we do is listen to speakers and lecturers the whole day, I seem to feel drained when I get home. Hence, I just want to sleep. Hence, I would not be able to write as often as I want to.

But I must keep myself sane. Thus, this incoherent post. Thus, this comforting thought that I am still able to write.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Busy unemployment

I did not watch TV the entire time during my three-month unpaid vacation, although time spent on TV was more than usual, I have to admit. I did a few other things as well. I attempted to finish a short story,  and this I was able to do. I take pride in being able to do this. For as long as I could remember, I have not completed a story. I was ambitious with this creation of mine; I couldn’t contain my excitement and felt I penned a masterpiece. I thought that I could get this published. Without anyone editing my work, I clicked ‘send’ to a magazine and prayed for the best. I viewed the  magazine’s previously published stories after that; the more I read the stories, I more stupid I felt. I told myself, “What made me think that I’d make it on print?” My work was undoubtedly amateurish and lacked in substance.  I am not being hard on myself --- I am being truthful. Seven years I taught literature, discussing the world’s finest literary works, and I should know what literary is or is not. 

Sometimes I don’t know what I’m getting myself into; sometimes I become too passionate about something, but most of the time, I am optimistic about everything.

On Monday, July 11, I am starting my day one with the Department of Foreign Affairs! I am to be an Officer. During my oath-taking days ago, I was called ‘sir’ by some of the personnel of the department. I don’t think I’ve earned that yet. All I did was pass a test.  Up to this day, I do not know what else I am to expect; I ask myself, “What am I going to do here?!” I have been dreaming of this job for years that I wouldn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize my chances in serving the department.  Other than TV watching and short story writing, I was also reading books. With whatever little extra money I had, I bought useful books at Booksale. Again, the more I read, the more I realized I had a lot to learn. My training has been on language teaching and not on diplomacy. I panicked a bit, but this worry was quickly erased by optimism. It is what kept me going on despite the diminishing resources, the difficulties and other challenges. Now, do I let a bit of insecurity triumph over my future? 

I wouldn’t worry over my rejected story; instead, I shall write some more until I have proven myself that a competent foreign service officer can write too.  ( I need this pat. Hehe)
"Coastal" commuters

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Unemployment and Soap Operas

Showbiz seems to be giving promises of wealth, fame and adulation that can entice any dreamer to pursue his or her place in lala land. No wonder why TV contests and auditions are trooped by the thousands. I have long resigned to the idea that I will never make it as an artista in this country. I laud those who are determined, though,  because they still have it in them. I have come to face some realities in life that tell me that any pursuit of fame through showbiz is simply going to be an effort in futility.

In my many years as a spectator in the Philippine show business, I have come to draw some painful facts why you’ll never see me on Party Pilipinas or ASAP. Those who still think that they can make it may try answering these questions.

1)      1) Are you mestizo or mestiza?
      If your answer is no, it cuts your chances by 50%. Marian Rivera, Jake Cuenca, Piolo Pascual, Sam (Milby and Pinto), Jillian Ward, and the list goes on….Don’t fret, there are still ways.
2)      2) Related to 1 is this question: Where you born or raised abroad? Not knowing how to speak Filipino is not necessarily a qualification.  
3)      3) If you don’t have foreign blood in you, do you have someone famous as your parent?
4     4)  Do you have something big that you’re willing to show off? By big I mean, big voice, big boobs, big dick.
5)      5) Are you drop dead gorgeous?
6)      6) Are you willing to share a bed with a movie producer or executive?
7)      7) Do you have videos uploaded on YouTube?
8)      8) Have you gone to every audition there is?
9)      9) Are you really talented?
10   10) Are you rich enough to buy yourself text votes in reality TV shows?

If you answer a yes to at least one of the questions, you probably stand a chance. I couldn’t say yes to any. Hence, I am a proud member of the audience.  

In this time when I patiently await for my job in the government, I have made the television my companion. My cable-less TV offers the best local soap operas and game shows.  I sometimes take pity on myself for being content on watching the shows although I am not surprised that I start to become an avid viewer.  TV show producers and writers have perfected luring jobless people like me into making fans out of us. Then again,  I take relief in the fact that I am starting my new work in few days’ time.  When that happens, I’ll just ask my likewise jobless brother to tell me if Amaya has finally killed Datu Mangubat. 
Air-conditioned jeepney. Sucat-Lawton Route

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Commuter's night out in a long time!!!

Spending is the last thing on my mind nowadays. I've not gone out in a long time. The most expensive non-essential thing I have spent on was a movie ticket, and it has been weeks ago! But when a former classmate and co-teacher, Noy, invited us, his former school colleagues, to experience Quezon City's night life, specifically the Scout Area, we were quick to say yes; mine was a quicker YES since Noy said he was footing the bill. The day came and I called him to give me instructions on how to get there. He said I could take any Fairview-bound FX or bus and get off at Delta and take any Kamuning-bound jeep to Tomas Morato. His instructions seemed clear, and I headed to the venue without appearing too poor for the Tomas Morato crowd. It was going to be a challenge since I hadn't gone to that part of Quezon City alone.

Anyway, this was how it went from Manila. From SM Manila (which I am very familiar with), I was among the pedestrians making our way into our respective destinations and jeepney terminals.

                                                             Morayta came into view next...
                                          It was a sunny afternoon while we were traversing Espana....

Delta. I have always wondered why it was named so. But ponderings like that are not important. A commuter must choose wisely which road should be taken....

Finally, Tomas Morato at 5:30 pm. I was too early! A true loser. hehe. Not wanting to spend on anything while waiting for the rest of the gang, I walked the stretched of Tomas Morato. I only stopped when the roads' names no longer had 'Scout' in them. So, I went back and explored other  streets near our meeting place. The establishments along the the area were an interesting mix of comedy, straight and gay bars. We didn't go to any of those. We had a fine dinner at a Mexican place.

                                   After the free dinner, we did something they all enjoyed doing.
As for me, for three hours, I told myself to just enjoy the moment, and be grateful for the food.