Kalsada Diaries

Kalsada Diaries #2: Cavite to Calamba: A Test of Patience (part 1)

Disclaimer: Pardon my sick title. I really have no idea what to entitle this entry because a lot has happened earlier.

It was a typical Monday morning for me. The day before, I planned on going back to Elbi at 6:30 AM to avoid the heat during the commute. Unfortunately, thanks to the curse of the alarm snooze (whoever invented this has ruined my life lol) I woke up at around 7 to 7:30 AM. Seeing that I cannot do anything about it anymore, I just let it go and carried on with the morning. As usual, I prepared my things, took a shower, dressed up,  ate breakfast with my parents; and after 45 minutes, I’m ready to go. Daddy offered to drive me to the terminal in the next town (Dasmariñas), but we have to go to our laundry shop branch in Trece (which is the next town to us; if you’re coming from Manila, you’ll pass by Dasmariñas first then General Trias – where we live – then Trece) to pick up our kasambahay who just had her dayoff. I agreed since I also need to buy a medical cream for my skin. After buying the cream in a drugstore, we dropped our kasambahay off on our subdivision’s gate and then off we go to the terminal. And then it all started.

We arrived at the terminal just in time for the van to travel. I was the second to the last passenger the driver needs to take off. As I sat down and paid the 60-peso-fare, I noticed how humid the van’s atmosphere is. At first, I let it go, thinking the engine haven’t been running for long so the aircon needs time to cool. However, when we reached GMA, I started to wipe the perspiration slowly making its way to my cheeks from my forehead. It was incredibly hot! When I checked the aircon, it was working good; but it was only intended for the people at the back. You see, the van has rows. The driver’s and two passengers in front, our row, then two more rows at the back. The front row has their own aircon so they have no dilemna. Another aircon was above our row so the direction of the air was to the back, leaving our row hot. I tried to lower down the vent to give our row a little air but to no avail. At that rate, I started to think,  medyo nalilito yata yung aircon kung aircon siya o heater. My patience and tolerance were really tested so I chose to handle the situation maturely. I wiped and wiped my face, arms, and neck as the aircon failed to do its duties as an aircon. I texted my dad about the circumstance I am in but he didn’t reply. Anyway, the entire ride went that way with four of us on our row hot and perspiring. Partida, wala pa akong dalang pamaypay o tubig kaya sobrang init talaga. I hope the driver or operator or whoever is in the authority will do something about that van’s aircon.

Besides the heat, there was a passenger on our row that disturbed me. She was talking so loudly over her phone. I kept looking at her because she was SO NOISY. I tried plugging in my earphones and listen to music to shut her voice out of my head, but I failed miserably. You see, I grew up in a home that never shouts. Our family talks mildly. Yes, there are times we get angry and frustrated but we do not result to a shouting spree. So when I heard that girl shouting, I immediately felt furious and irritated. She was very loud! Sample? “HELLO?!! OH KAMUSTA KAYO JAN?! OO, MAMAYANG 12 PA NG MADALING ARAW AKO JAN MAKAKARATING SA LUCENA!!! OO!!! NASA BIYAHE PALANG AKO PAALIS NG CAVITE!!!!! HINDI!!!! GUSTO MO LOLLIPAP?! E KENDEH?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!” Ay grabe talaga, friends. I think she’s around my age judging from her face and body. I kept laughing at my thought, probinsiyana rin naman ako pero hindi ako sumisigaw sa cellphone at naaalok ng “lollipap.” She went like that for half an hour. Everytime a call ends, she’d dial another and have a really loud conversation again. Madaming load si ate. At about half of the ride, when she was silent because I think the person on the other end of the line is talking, the driver called her attention and said, “Ate, pahinaan naman konti. Marami kang kasamahan jan.” Luckily, she listened to the driver and had quieter conversations since. Nakakaloka si ate. I thought it was going to last forever. Kuya driver, ikaw ang hero of the day!

This is all for now, I think. I still have two more kwento about today’s commute from Cavite to Calamba and I promise I’ll include them in part 2. I seriously need to review now so I’ll keep you guys hanging for a while. Lol.

Ciao,Rom. 🙂

Random

Hindi Dapat

(Isang reaksyon ng isang ordinaryong estudyante ukol sa kaso ni Mary Jane Veloso)

Ang mga nangyari kay Mary Jane Veloso, isang OFW na nasa deathrow ng Indonesia nitong mga nakalipas na mga araw, ay isang napaka perpektong repleksyon ng nangyayari sa mga maralitang Pilipino. Sa kadahilanang walang makuhang trabaho dito sa Pilipinad, nagbaka-sakali si Veloso na siya ay makakahanap ng hanapbuhay sa dayuhang bayan upang mapakain ang kanyang pamilya, mapaaral ang kanyang mga anak, at mabigyan ng magandang buhay ang kanyang mga kamag-anak. Ngunit imbis na makapagtrabaho, nahulihan si Veloso sa paliparan ng Indonesia na may nakatagong heroin – isang pinagbabawal na gamot – sa maletang ibinigay sa kanya ng kanyang recruiter na napagalamang ilegal. Nangyari ang lahat ng ito noong taong 2010, ngunit ngayong 2015 lamang nahatulan ng pagkamatay.

Napaka saklap ng kinahinatnan ng ating kababayan. Bilang nakatapos lamang hanggang first year high school at nagmula sa isang mahirap na pamilya,  lingid sa kaalaman ni Mary Jane ang panlilinlang na ginawa sa kanya ng recruiter na ito. Lingid sa kaalaman niya na hindi dapat tumatanggap ng maleta o bagahe ang isang tao mula sa iba kapa siya ay paalis ng isang lugar sa pamamagitan ng eroplano. Lingid sa kaalaman niya na dapat may ginawa ang gobyerno para hindi siya mahatulan ng kamatayan. Lingid sa kaalaman niya na responsibilidad siya ng gobyerno ng bansang kanyang pinagmulan. Lingid sa kaalaman niya na dapat binigyan siya ng legal assistance simulat’ sapul pa lamang ng kanyang kaso. Lingid rin sa kaalaman ng kanyang pamilya’t mga kaibigan na nasa deathrow na ang kanilang anak, ina, pinsan, pamangkin, o kaibigan. Lingid sa kaalaman ng kanyang pamilya na dapat pinapaalam sa kanila ang tunay na kalalagayan ni Mary Jane sa ibang bansa. At lingid rin naman sa kaalaman nating lahat, masakit man marinig o mabasa, na may isa na pala tayong kababayan na papatayin sa kamay ng mga dayuhan dahil siya ay biktima ng human trafficking. Masakit malaman na hanggang ngayon, mula sa dalawa hanggang sa pitong daang kaso ng paghatol ng kamatayan sa mga Pilipino, wala pa ring aksyon o panukala ang naihahain upang maprotektahan ang mga karapatan ng mga OFW.

Bilang isang estudyante, wala man akong magawa sa pamamagitan ng malalaking bagay, napagtanto ko na may magagawa naman ako sa maliliit na bagay – tulad ng pagsusulat – upang maipahatid sa ibang tao na bulag at bingi pa rin sa mga nangyayari sa kanyang lipunang ginagalawan; at ito ang dahilan sa pagkakasulat ng artikulong ito. Isa lamang ang mensahe nitong artikulo: ang ipamulat sa tao ang mga bagay na hindi dapat, hindi tama, at hindi makatarungan.

Hindi dapat.

Hindi tama.

Hindi makatarungan.

Hindi dapat nangyari ang paghahatol ng kamatayan sa isang OFW kung nabigyan lamang siya ng marunong at tamang legal assistance ng gobyerno.

Hindi tama na ngayon lang umaksyon ang Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) kung kailan may hatol na. Mapapatanong ka na lamang, “Anong ginawa nila sa nakalipas na limang taon?”

Hindi makatarungan na walang nagpaalam sa pamilya ng biktima ang nangyayari sa kanilang kamag-anak – lalo na kung ito ay nasa ibang bansa.

Hindi dapat mangingibang bansa ang mga tao kung may trabaho na naghihintay sa kanila sa kanilang mismong bayan na may sapat na sweldo para makamit ang kanilang mga pangangailangan.

Hindi tama na hayaan mo ang isang miyembro ng iyong pamilya – tutal sinasabi mo namang ikaw ang “ama ng bayan” – na mamatay sa kamay ng mga banyaga dahil alam mong inosente ang iyong anak.

Hindi makatarungan na pumatay ng tao upang makamit ang tunay na hustisya. Laging tatandaan na ang kamatayan ay hindi batayan ng kung gaano kaganda ang sistema ng hustisya sa iyong bansa.

Hindi dapat nagbubuwis ng buhay ang isang tao sa pamamagitan ng death penalty na nangibang bansa para matugunan ang mga pangagailangang dapat ang gobyerno niya ang tumutugon. Wala sanang umaalis ng bansa kung alam nila at nakikita nila na may maganda at maliwanag na kinabukasan para sa kanila.

Hindi makatarungan ang sinapit ni Mary Jane. Hindi makatarungang mamamatay siya sa isang kasalanan na hindi niya ginawa.

Ang nangyari kay Veloso ay isang malaking sampal sa ating gobyerno at mga namumuno. Isa itong sampal na nagpapahiwatig na oras na para buksan nila ang kanilang mga mata’t tenga sa dapat na pagpoprotekta nila sa mga OFW. Isa itong sampal na nagpapabatid sa kanila kung gaano ka-hindi epektibo ang kanilang sistema at kung gaano kalala ang kanilang pagpapabaya. Isa itong malaking sampal na gumigising sa kanilang mga natutulog na isip at diwa na may mga bagay na dapat unahin bukod sa pagpapayaman sa kanilang angkan. Isa itong sampal na nagsasabing hindi kailangan ng bayan ng lider na kilala lamang dahil sa kanyang pangalan o mga magulang. Ang kailangan ng bayan ay isang lider na handang tumugon sa kung anuman ang pangangailangan ng kanyang nasasakupan; na kapakanan ng mamamayan ang inuuna; na marunong makinig sa mga suhestiyon ng mga tao. Hindi namin kailangan ng mapaniil na liderato. Kailangan namin ng gobyernong maka-tao.

(Disclaimer: Ang opinyon na ito ay ayon lamang sa aking mga nabasa, narinig, at nalalaman. Hindi ko nirerepresenta ang anumang organisasyon o kilusan. )

Kalsada Diaries, Random

Kalsada Diaries #1: Walking Through Calamba Traffic (plus reflections)

I study in a university one province away (Laguna) from my home province (Cavite). Although this is the case, I was forced to rent a dorm since the travel to and from Cavite will take at least 3 and a half hours (time consumed by traffic included); plus, my daily allowance cannot sustain that. However, I go home to Cavite every Friday afternoon right after the end of my last class which is at 4 PM. So I arrive at home around 7:30 in the evening. Or, if I’m lucky enough that there is light traffic, I’ll arrive an hour earlier. This is my weekly routine. You know, attend classes from Tuesday (I have no Monday class this sem. Woot woot!) to Friday then back to Cavite. I do not complain. It has always been the same route on the way home; but there’s this one instance I tried something new just for the sake of trying something different (and something that my lungs and my mom will protest against hehe).

It was yesterday, April 10, 2015 at around 5:20 PM. The traffic in Calamba (a city in Laguna) was attempting to beat EDSA’s though we all know EDSA traffic is unbeatable. But yeah, that’s how it is. Anyway, normally, it will only take me an hour to arrive at the terminal called Crossing Calamba (where I ride a van going to Cavite) from Los Baños. I flew from Los Baños at exactly 4 PM, so you could just imagine how long was I sitting in that jeep exposed to the extreme heat, smoke, dust, etc. Around 5:25, since I was already the only passenger of the jeep (I was also amazed by my patience at the moment), I finally decided to climb out and start walking since it will save me a lot more time than if I wait for the jeep to bring me to the terminal. And so I did.

I walked from a little before SM Calamba to the terminal which was around 3.5 to 4 kilometers. I don’t know what got into me yesterday that I decided to bring my laundry home so I was carrying this huge bag and my back pack. Thankfully, I was wearing my sneakers so I didn’t have much trouble walking. So anyway, as I was nearing the intersection where I’ll have to climb an overpass bridge to get into the terminal, I noticed how long the traffic already was. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to snap a picture of it because I was scared that my iPod or phone would be snatched. What really surprised me was when I knew the cause of the traffic: NONE. Yes, my dear reader, n-o-n-e. None. There weren’t any accident nor parade nor a politician trying to rub his name off people’s faces. I knew immediately it was just the volume of those vehicles. Yeah, there were too many. From large buses to insect-like motorcycles and tricycles. Name the type of car, it’s there. Then I saw the drivers’ and the passengers’ faces. “Those were the looks of boredom and hopelessness in there.” I thought to myself. Some commuters, due to impatience, pulled their wallets out and paid the driver then climbed out of the vehicle and started walking as well. Their faces were a mixture of annoyance and relief for they knew they were going to save time if they would start walking than wait for the traffic enforcer to give the go-signal for their lane.

As I finished climbing up the stairs of the overpass and started walking, I saw the volume of vehicles just below the overpass and I cannot help but reflect on the long lines of vehicles on brakes without having enough reason to be on brake (except probably for disobeying the traffic enforcer or for causing an accident or something). Sometimes in life, we get stuck in a “traffic” because of a hindrance that doesn’t actually exist. We get stuck in a traffic simply because there were people who got in line first before us. Often, we tend to feel as if we cannot get into our destination anymore. We tend to think there is no more hope left. No more fuel to ignite the fire within us. No more reason to wait. No more reason to keep believing. No more reason to not give up. No more reason to fight. No more reason to keep trying. We are so focused on getting to where we want that we tend to overlook the ways in which we can get there. The car or tricycle or jeep may not move, but our feet will always be. Yes, the wait is long. The fight is exhausting. Still, the victory and arrival at the destination is worth it no matter how long the road may be. At times, we don’t need to ride a fast vehicle to get us there; sometimes, what we need is our feet. And courage. And a little bit of smoke and dust. 😉

That’s it for now, I guess. 🙂

-Rom

P.S.: Please do not try what I did. Only expert walkers do that. I mean, c’mon, I walk to class every single day. 3.5 to 4 kilometers is nothing to me. Though I don’t advice everybody to do the same. It takes practice. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Loljk.

P.P.S.: GOV. RAMIL HERNANDEZ, PLEASE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE TRAFFIC IN CALAMBA! Kthnxbye.

Random

Lessons from UP #1: Being a high school Valedictorian doesn’t matter that much

I can still remember the triumphant feeling when my high school adviser and the school principal summoned me to the latter’s office to tell me I will graduate as the Valedictorian that school year and that I should start writing the draft of my Valedictory Address. I was so proud at that moment. Imagine, I will graduate as the Valedictorian! Plus, I am the first UPCAT passer from my school. Yes, I came from a little school; so little that no one ever believed that an UPCAT passer will come from there.

I felt so proud.

Until I finally walked the halls and streets of the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

Damn, I was humbled to the core.

I thought being a Valedictorian is something to be proud of when you are in UP. I was wrong, because most of your classmates were also Valedictorians from their respective schools; because in UP, or in college, in general, you are all equal in the eyes of your professors.

I realized that being a Valedictorian in high school would not guarantee high grades in college. Personally, I am struggling with school this second semester compared with the last semester (but this is a different story). Yes, those study habits you used to achieve the Valedictorian status might help you get high grades, but I realized that college is different. Your status is only one of the things that might matter (because eventually, people will forget about you and your statuses). In the end, it is what you do to reach those statuses.

Right now, I could already say that got over the fact that I was a Valedictorian. For me, it doesn’t matter anymore. Sometimes I regret being one because I feel like I wasted my high school time with academics rather than feel the bliss of my youth. But yeah, I guess it’s already in the past so I have to move on and face the present. I still laugh at myself for being so proud and attached to my Valedictorian status. I mean, “Duh?! That’s high school! Everything is a big deal!” So now that I’m in college, I guess it’s really time for me to move on and somehow forget my status and put my focus on the more important things – like my Library Research Paper in English 2. -____-

Valedictorian noon, Simpleng tao ngayon,

Rom. 😀

Random

Why SPEC Is More Than Just A Subject: Realizations On Living and Dying

I have a subject this second semester called SPEC. It’s course title is Reading in Speculative Thought, but we call it SPEC for short. It is crucial for Philosophy majors like myself to take the subject so it would not interfere in the future semesters as we take our major subjects that were guaranteed to be more tedious. Some view SPEC solely as an academic subject that you need to pass; but for me, it is so much more. It tackles life, and how we can use philosophy to meditate on it. (Of course, there are various ways of meditating and philosophy is just one way of doing such activity.) And the opening subject we are going to discuss in SPEC is Dying – a great a way to start the sem. Lol. We were required to read each chapter of the book entitled The Examined Life written by Robert Nozick – a philosopher – before class starts. Since SPEC is only held during Wednesdays and Fridays, I read the assigned chapters on Tuesdays and Thursdays; except the chapter about Dying.

I read the chapter today (Saturday) out of my innate curiosity on death and mortality. On the 2nd page of the chapter, I caught myself rereading and reflecting on something Nozick said:

“But when you no longer have the capacity to do what is undone, or when you have done all that you considered important, then – I want to say – you should not be so very unwilling to die.”

As I was reflecting on it, somewhere deep inside the realms of my soul starts to question, “If this was true, what, then, are the things important to me? How will I know if I had done something important if I have no idea on what these things are?”

I hadn’t come up with answers yet, but I do not lose hope that I will be able to find my answers. This is why I am looking forward to this class/subject. I know it won’t answer all my questions, but I do know that it will answer most.

Another striking statement Nozick mentioned was this:

“We should live, I want to say, as though some aspect of your life and being were eternal.”

I haven’t thought about living life this way, but it made me realize that even though everything (both the ideas and concrete representations) is finite, this fact should not stop us from living the life we’ve all dreamed about. For instance, hope. People argue that hope is not something that will last forever for there will always be . However, we should not stop being the beacon of hope of the future civilizations to come. There are so many more aspects in our existence that we are encouraged to think of as something eternal in order for us to live our lives in full significance. 😀

-Rom

P.S.:  The Examined Life is really a must-read! 🙂

Random

Lubak na kalye no more (Hay sa wakas!)

Earlier this afternoon, I and yayabells picked my sister up from her school. We were surprised on the way to see that the roads were under construction. And I have never been happier to see this progress for it means better road travel and no more matagtag days!

Photo credits to Kelly Cordial
Photo credits to Kelly Cordial

You see, in my 8 years of studying in the same city as my sister’s school is located in, this road (it is a loooong road built inside a subdivision) has always been my source of headache every afternoon when dad and I (but now, it is me, yayabells, and the driver) pick up my sister.  Sobrang lubak-lubak ang daan. I had to hold my things and books tightly every time we pass through this road because if I don’t, my stuff would topple down the entire car floor. Good thing is that I don’t have to endure this anymore. Thanks to college.

But praise God! The municipal government (and probably the subdivision’s developer) finally started to reconstruct the road. Never mind the inconvenience its going to bring to motorists and residents, it will be temporary; but the “no-headache-feeling” anymore will surely come kaya sana matiis na lang nating lahat ito.

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Clingy Semester

2 weeks before the “supposed-to-be” end of the semester, I already had my schedule and tasks planned out. I had planned out when will I write my papers, submit my projects, review for the exams, etc. Everything was already perfect and ready for execution. But then, something happened.

Typhoon Ruby HAPPENED. Because of this typhoon, classes were suspended from December 5 (Friday) until now December 9 (Tuesday), hopefully classes/exams will resume tomorrow. At first I felt glad because I was able to go back to Cavite early since I felt sure that the typhoon will not last long and I will still be able to follow my plans. Unfortunately, that first suspension of classes was followed by another then another then another. The UPLB OSA kept on sending messages to students/employees informing them that classes/exams are suspended due to the aftermath of Ruby. And every time classes/exams get suspended, I can’t help but feel devastated because (1) I have to adjust my schedule and plans, (2) the semester gets extended, (3) my agony is prolonged for my last exam in IT1 is postponed, and (4) THE MOST AWAITED SEMBREAK IS CONTINUALLY BEING WITHHELD.

As I have observed, a lot of my friends who are not from UPLB were rejoicing that there were suspensions; but not us UP students. We were praying and hoping for the classes to resume so we could have our sembreak early and that the new academic calendar will be followed. We want to finish everything already since it is the end of the semester. But heck, this semester is very clingy because of typhoon Ruby! Papatunayan daw ni Ruby na may forever! Gaaah.

Anyway, I just want to write this down because I cannot contain my frustration anymore. I do not want to complain/rant anymore – this will be the last. So there. I just feel disappointed because this is my first semester as a UP student and it’s.. not going so well-ish. But yeah, life happens hard, so we have to deal with it harder.

Happy sembreak (please come soon) to us, Iskolars! 😀

-Rom