Since I do not have a car, and there is no one to pick me up from the airport after an official trip abroad, the logical choice was to take the cab. Lucky for me that I live near the airport because had my residence been far, I would have scrimped and took the jeep instead. Airport cabs in Manila are twice and even more expensive than the regular ones. It was late at night, you see, and all I ever wanted was the comfort of my bed as soon as possible, after staying out of it for days!
I revealed my destination; the taxi dispatcher wrote it down and radio'ed someone. Few minutes later, a yellow taxi pulled up in front me. The driver was overly friendly and hinted that a tip in a foreign currency would make his day. I have not met a driver as enthusiastic as him in my several years of commuting, and then I analyzed his behavior. The only possible reason I could think of was that he must have mistaken me for a returning OFW. I was not offended; in fact, there probably were reasons for him to believe so. I had a huge luggage; I came out of the terminal 1 airport with many returning Filipinos; I dressed casually unlike my colleagues who wore their business jackets. However, I was not the jewelry-wearing kind which I attribute to some seafarers and OFWs that I know.
I managed to inject that I was government employee, from the DFA, returning home after a meeting abroad. After my revelation, I must have blown his bubble because he no longer pushed for the dollars that I was not earning. He changed the topic and started asking me about passport processes, and I answered briefly for I was nearing my place.
The trip left a sad taste in the mouth as I got off. I gave him forty pesos extra as consolation, so he would not feel so bad that he got a peso-earning passenger. I wonder if his previous passengers felt the same as I did. What I felt should not be experienced by anyone; that was not a nice welcome, and certainly not a nice first-hour experience in one's native land. That all OFWs are rich seems to be the perception of many. This kind of thinking should stop. Can't people just wait to be tipped? What I know and what everyone in the service sector should know is that tipping is for exemplary service rendered.
In hindsight, I told myself that the driver got me home safely, and that was what the forty pesos was for.
As for the events that happened before that taxi ride, I was in Brunei attending a meeting. Technically, I was working there, hence I can be called an overseas Filipino worker, but not the dollar-earning type. The work is not worthy of discussion in this blog. The things I did after the meeting is worth mentioning, however. We were able to squeeze some picture-taking activities and a little sightseeing on our last day before we departed for Manila.
|That is the Brunei Airport which was still being renovated. The country is preparing to host Leaders from East Asia Summit.|
|I heard that car to people is 1:5.|
|Jollibee lords supreme in Brunei. There are more Jollibee stores than Mcdonald's in Brunei.|
|This Times Square will do, although Times Square NY is also something to look forward to.|
|The captain of our ship. We cruised in Kampong Ayer, Brunei's famous water village.|
|Houses on stilts like in my hometown.|
|Their water village is very organized.|
|Beautiful and organized structures at Kampong Ayer|
|Mosque with gold domes|