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Epic journey




Jullie Y. Daza

Jullie Y. Daza

It could’ve been worse, Sal. Count your blessings.

You’re not female, pregnant, or PWD.

The weather was fine, no need for an umbrella.

You traveled light, sans bags or backpack, otherwise you’d have strained your seniorly back.

Your route consisted of four jeepney stops. You were wise not to jumble, rumble, tumble with the LRT crowd, saving you from being groped, rubbed against, or robbed.

You didn’t have to scale those Mount Everest-like stairs to reach the LRT station, queue for a ticket.

Having smartly chosen the old, reliable, low-tech jeepney, you had no fear of your train being struck by lightning and fire, or breaking down, which would then have forced you to walk on the track. No doors to unlock by force, no aircon to conk out, no suffering the smells of humanity, no “siksikan” to validate what existentialists insist, that “hell is other people.” No wonder your critics dared to question your manhood for shirking the LRT-MRT part of the commute.

Why you opted to take the longer, more arduous route from New Manila, where you began your epic adventure, to go all the way to Marikina and from there to Malacañang is a puzzlement for the streetwise to figure out. Whatever the reason, isn’t it nice to have a halfway house from which to save time (even if it means covering a greater distance), see more of the city under stress. More commuters ought to travel like yourself, with the eyes of a tourist to enjoy the city’s sights and delights.

Your monumental achievement, capped by a kind stranger giving you a lift on his motorcycle on the last leg of your trip, has inspired a congressman to demand that all elected officials and Cabinet secretaries leave their government-issued vehicles at home on Mondays so they can commute the way you did; indeed you have the makings of a pro! But ask the author of the bill to change Public Transport Day to Friday. As you may have realized from your adventure, Fridays are worst in Manila, contrary to the expression TGIF. After bravely empathizing with the masses, you are now a certified Manilan. Suffering is good for the Sal.


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