from the commuter

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

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Long Wait

I write this post at the airport, waiting for my boarding. I arrived three hours ahead of my estimated time of departure. News reports and the authorities have advised airport passengers  to do so. I am being obedient as I do not want a repeat of a near-missed flight two years before. 

I never liked waiting. Good if I have company, but this particular flight home  has only myself to keep me company.  I have traveled alone previously and the same feelings on waiting are reinforced by this useless airport exercise. I have failed to bring a book with me, but I have my netbook to keep me occupied for the next hour. When the battery drains, I shall think of other amusing things to do. 

In my list of amusing things is to observe people. I am already making some as I write this. For one, there is a mother sleeping opposite me. She’s so big that she’s occupying two seats. Others, who couldn’t find seats, make the stairs and floor their resting place. In front of me, a Chinese guy in black drinks his Cinnabon hot drink which I suspect is coffee. He’s got earphones plugged in. Beside him is a guy playing with his handheld gadget, which looks like an android cellphone. He is nonchalant of the things around him. A Caucasian guy in his thirties walks in, searching for a seat in a sea of waiting passengers. He gives up and leaves with his baggage in tow. 

I wonder how  would other people see me. I guess they’d say, “a chubby guy is surfing the net with his computer.” The chubby part may be correct, but I am not online. There is not a whiff of free wifi anywhere. Hence, a word document is on.

With half a page still blank, I think of what else to write. I tell myself to talk of my future. My future has something to do with the future of this blog. Why? Because my future tells me that my desire for a car and many other things can materialize by next year. The thought excites me --- driving my own car, getting home smelling of car air conditioning and not of sweat and pollution, exploring areas of the city that have not been done so before.  I have my good fortune to thank for.

You see, 2011 has generally been a good year. I started with my new job in the government sector, and I have to say that this job is certainly the best. With this new job, I was able to travel to Puerto Princesa for free; more travels are to be had in the future, for sure. I have lost count as to how many important people I met and shook hands with. An offshoot of my new job is my more stable finances although much has yet to be desired on that department. I have also met an incredible new set of co-workers. Most importantly, I am happy.

To be happier in the 2012, I tell myself to aim high and to excel more. I have made some major plans including fixing my condo unit and acquiring a car. The former is more doable since we are talking of a few thousand pesos for the walls and divisions. The latter, the car, poses to be a challenge since it will require a lot more money. Still,  I looked at flyers and other materials related to purchasing a car. I became optimistic since a Hyundai model can be had for a downpayment of P18,000 and a monthly payment of a little over P10,000 a month! It is possible, assuring myself. 

I did my math after that. Parking space at P4,500 a month, gasoline probably at P4,000 a month, parking tickets and maintenance that go with keeping a car were factored in the computation. Yeah, I could very well afford it; I’d just have to skip breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next five years. 

But I never say die. The 2012 is 12 months long. It may not be next month, but I’ll work hard for it in the third of fourth quarter of the year. I will have made some progress by then I hope. But for now, I shall be commuter, a dreamer.

How about you, what plans do you have?

November 2011: At the pre-departure area of Puerto Princesa Airport
November 2011: While waiting for my ride home at NAIA Terminal 3

December 2011: Gate 116 of NAIA Terminal 3

I guess I have said a lot. This is what waiting does. My netbook has few minutes left in its battery. The PA system has just announced that our flight is delayed. After I save this document file, I shall strike a conversation with the lady beside me whom I hear is a household service worker from the Middle East. She looks forward to going home like the many others waiting for the PA system to announce “Passengers on Cebu Pacific Flight 5J 8** bound for Zamboanga may now start boarding gate ***.”

Happy New Year!
December 2011: Arrival at Zamboanga International Airport. Waiting for my luggage by the single carousel of the airport

(I published this post when I was in Zamboanga already, a day after I had written the post. There was not a free wifi connection at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 where I finished the post. This is also my entry to Gasoline Dude's Blogversary Writing Contest)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

The Christmas season takes me everywhere. Once in a while, a trip to Quezon City or Makati is a welcoming break from my mostly south destinations. I get to see the Metro Manila lights that never fail to amaze me, the buildings illumined richly, and the festive yet busy people finding their ways to the malls and shopping bazaars. It's Christmas in the Philippines, and I am in the most fortunate place to be in. In a few hours, I shall be going home in Zamboanga. Last year, I wanted to spend Christmas in here in Manila, but my cousin decided to tie the knot in Zamboanga, and I am to host her wedding reception.

Prior to the short Christmas break we were given, I have been very busy, hence, the lack the post. However, I have been taking pictures of the busy Christmas season here in Manila and would like to share them with you. My trusty Nokia phone is slowly giving up on me, but it still manages to take some commuter photos.

Sucat Streets adorned with simple decorations

All roads lead to and from malls. This one is taken near Edsa Ext where the Mall of Asia is.

Scenes like this discourage me from going around town.

Young Christmas Carolers entertain the shoppers at SM Makati. Nothing beats kids singing Christmas songs.

Puto bungbong for sale! A common scene near churches after simbang gabi.

The next posts will be written in Zamboanga.

It is going to be a happy Christmas for me. I hope it is the same for you, too! Felices Pascua y Muy Prospero Ano Nuevo!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Weight post

I was carrying one extra bag to work this morning. My ex-soldier workmate then commented, "Dami mong dala ah."

I had to admit that I was going to the gym later after work.

Further interrogation took place. "Bakit? What made you?" asked another male workmate.

"The mirror. I didn't want what I was seeing," I told them, eliciting a few laughs. I have gained some extra pounds from all the eating and the new job! I have not been doing my laps in the pool as I used to. 

During lunch, another workmate observed that my lunchbox was small. Yeah, it is small, and before its contents were consumed, there was no rice in it. I really am serious about losing weight.

When asked by the same workmate why I was dieting, I said in jest, "My market value is depreciating."One person added, "Yeah, meat market." I laughed with them.

What I am to subject myself into in the next few days will not be a laughing matter. I shall go to the gym often and shed off that unsightly sight that causes some of clothes to retire early. This day, December 6, 2011, I weigh 154 lbs. I intend to lose ten or more in the coming weeks. When I lose all that weight, I will be happier. I need not have to see a Santa Claus in me this Christmas.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I hate it when I am called “mama,”  pronounced with a glottal stop after the second syllable, as  it connotes old age and namelessness. Although it can be translated as mister or man and fits any adult common-looking Pinoy, I don’t wish to be called by it. Other than its connotation, it is the name I use to address jeepney and bus drivers in Manila; I never got to calling them ‘boss,’ the other popular form of address to drivers.  This gets me to ask, how do drivers feel when I call them that? Well, I don’t see their face cringe at the sound of it unlike in my case; I guess it’s ok.

I write because I was recently called ‘mama.’

It was a Friday night. At six, after a long session at work, I took the train from Pasay-Taft MRT to Ortigas to celebrate my former colleague’s birthday. I never liked that Pasay Taft area; it’s very busy at any time of the day, and foot and vehicular traffic is just crazy.  An MRT commuter can’t do much about these, really. So, like the hundreds or the thousands who converged at the station to make use of the affordable mass rail transit on a rush hour weekend, I readied myself for combat. The growing number of people waiting for the next train meant aggression, something I could very well do. As for the imperturbable majority who just wanted to go home, the sight was ordinary. 

Then, the train arrived. Passengers from the north alighted. Protecting my bag, I squeezed myself in with mob. I was a  meter away from the entrance, occupying my less than one-square-foot space. As we stopped at every station, I was pushed farther back. 

It was my time to get off, at Ortigas. I was two meters from the exit. I had to force myself out as the train riders crowded by the doors; I didn't want to be locked in. Then the words came out, “Mama, dahan-dahan naman” - from a protective mother guiding her two kids out of the train. 

I knew she was talking to me although her back was facing me. I could not deny it, as I was directly behind her, pushing her. I kept a few distance from her after getting off the train, but I saw her comforting her pubescent daughter who appeared to be having difficulty breathing. 

It was no longer about being called ‘mama’ that made me uneasy. I let myself lose sight of them. I was guilty of losing acceptable behavior. But I couldn’t think of a more acceptable behavior in circumstances as that, can you?