Amusing Drivers

On the contrary to my entry, Commuters are Survivors, there are some commute experiences that aren’t so bad. Take, for instance, my taxi ride to school this morning.

When I got into the cab, the old manong driver spoke in English, asking me where I wanted to go. This went on with him making observations on a passing motorcade of cars with adverts taped to them, while I mostly kept quiet, smiled and nodded politely, and wondered if he usually acted this way with all his passengers.

Somewhere along EDSA, he turned on the radio to DZMM and listened to the radio show there. Oldies were playing and Rico J.Puno’s rendition of Barbara Streisand’s Memories came on. The man started to sing enthusiastically. It was a hoot.

When the song ended and the DJ commented, “Ang galing ni Rico J! Di mo akalaing bastos! (Rico J. is good. You wouldn’t think he’s obscene.)”, Manong laughed and launched into his own commentary about Rico J. and this 70’s action star/politician  who was known for making jokes about how much a button on his suit cost, much to my amusement.

He carried on to muse lightly on the Marcos administration and how Rizal Park used to be quite a national treasure during the Marcos regime. Some of the things he said:

On Rizal Park

Dati may mga speaker pa. So kahit saan ka pumunta, may music. Tapos, every hour iniiba yung music: minsan may rock, minsan soft music… Yung CR malinis pa! Halos pwede ka nang kumain dun sa loob… Ang mga restaurant doon, hindi fastfood. Yung class na class, pero mura… Napabayaan eh. Ngayon, ang dugyot na!” The last part said with disgust.

-which became about Nayong Pilipino and Intramuros:

“…Alagi kasi ni Imelda yan dati eh. Pati Nayong Pilipino may mga aquarium na panay exotic fish. Tapos may mapa pa ng Pilipinas… Ang Intramuros dati wala pang iskwater yun!”


Dati MIA pa yun: Manila International Airport. Ang linis linis at maganda pa. Number 2 sa Asia. Katumbas ng Japan.”

From C-5 (Pasig) to Taguig, he started pointing to buildings and factories:

Dati lahat iyan mga pabrika… Ito, sa mga Concepcion… Dati yan gawaan ng electronics. Pinopondohan ni Marcos ang mga nagpapatayo ng pabrika para lahat ng nakatira malapit dun may trabaho na… Dati, base ng Army lang ang Taguig… Gobyerno ang may-ari niyan dati. Bandang huli, binenta na. Pinagpilahan. “


Basically, I gathered that Manong is maka-Marcos, and that some cab drivers have a lot of interesting things to say.

It’s like that other time when I was in a cab with Zeny and we were trying to psychoanalyze Hyden Kho’s actions. We chalked it up to kamaniakan, when the cab driver suddenly jumped in and started talking about how it wasn’t really all that different from what other people do for kicks. He went as far as to give an example: “Parang yung mga tao na may malaking salamin sa kisame sa ibabaw ng kama.

You can imagine how awkwardly that trip went.


Commuters are Survivors

Communting in the Philippines seems like a fight for survival. (And, in some cases, it actually is.) With the incredible lines and tedious crowds, I’d take my train ride in Seoul, Korea, any day of the week. Their rush hour train cars may be “full” and there might be some elbowing, but it certainly doesn’t compare to the way our MRT (smaller than S. Korea’s) gets packed like a can of sardines. Plus, most of the stations I’ve been to have defective ticket machines, which is one of the reasons for the long line in the first place… Goodness forbid you get smooshed up to someone who neglects to apply deodorant. People here don’t just elbow, they cram their whole persons into an overfilled train.

The buses aren’t much better. You, at least, get the option of avoiding a crowded bus and getting on a more spacious one, since there’s always a line of buses everywhere. The downside: a lot of bus drivers here suck. They brake suddenly and overtake like there’s no tomorrow. Just check the news: a lot of traffic accidents here are caused by negligent bus drivers who insist on speeding and overtaking. Perhaps they forget that a bus isn’t the size of a Mini Cooper.

I’ve also mentioned to people time and time again that some cab drivers are the scum of the earth. But a whole lot has improved since the flag down rate was raised to P40. Only a small number of drivers ask to charge extra these days. They seem pacified. –at least, for now.

Today, I have encountered another commuter’s nightmare. An idiot. This one liked to collect pet bottles, screw their lids on tightly, then wedge the bottles under the wheels of approaching buses. The result would be a flattened pet bottle, but not before the crushing weight of the bus blew their lids off with a bang at high pressure and breakneck speed. In fact, the lid of an empty Sting Energy Drink flew uncomfortably close to my general direction. I wanted to whack the guy with a baseball bat. He was even amused, laughing at his activity! Instead, I opted to move as quickly away as possible and let karma deal with this dumb shit.

Derek Ramsay, endorser of Sting Power Lime, please kick this guy's ass.

As if it isn’t enough that commuters have to be weary of thieves and mad-hatter drivers…

He might just go Hulk on you...

I want there to be a politician who knows what it’s like on the hellish commute circuit in Manila. There may be so much controversy surrounding the appearance of NAIA to people who come in and out of this country every couple of weeks, but I hope no one forgets those who have to suffer through the particularly inefficient public transportation system EVERY. FUCKING. DAY.


I promised my dear friend Eva to write a blog about her shop, and I’m a bit late because I couldn’t decide which site to put it in. Luckily, this blog’s birth has presented the perfect opportunity for me to say my two cents worth on the store.

Located in the artsy sanctuary known as Cubao X (for more info on Cubao X, read this) UVLA is a unique establishment that sells accessories bags and antiques, but also exhibits artworks of varying mediums (so far, they’ve featured paintings, hats, and necklaces).

According to Eva, UVLA is a sort of plankton.

The store is run by the Yu family (mum and daughter pictured), and they each contribute their own types of products. Aunty Eva makes exquisite necklaces from antique brooches, Uncle Nathan restores/makes/sells various antique toys and trinkets, and Eva designs bags/wallets with adorably cheeky (chic + cheeky = chic-ey?) messages on them. In addition to that, the space has been known to showcase for-sale “homemade” mini-chandeliers, furniture, clocks, and accessories that help to form the eclectic anything-goes feel of UVLA.

Every month, the shop’s set-up changes to accommodate whatever exhibit is ongoing and I always spot new products. It’s a fun place to be in. You’ll be amazed at the range of things in there. Do come visit.


UVLA – Look for it in Cubao X in the part sandwiched between Mogwai and Bellini’s. Then, spot the door that looks like it once belonged to a dungeon and proceed to the 2nd floor.

Store Hours: Varying, but usually open on the afternoons of Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

NBS… Pagtitiis.

I am (–or used to be) a voracious reader. When I was younger, I was an avid collector of various ‘pocketbook’ series: Sweet Valley, Buffy, Harry Potter, etc. And now that I am a great food enthusiast, I look for cookbooks, magazines, and humor. So, naturally, I lived and breathed National Bookstore. It was almost impossible for me to describe my delight when I got to go there every couple of weeks to pick out the book of my choice.

Unfortunately, I don’t have so much time to read now. But when I do try to buy a book, I get dismayed by the fact that NBS isn’t what it used to be. –I could be wrong though, perhaps I don’t remember the way things were and that that is really how they’ve run things since the beginning.

The service isn’t so helpful. Yesterday, I was in the Robinson’s Galleria branch, not knowing what to get. I found the database computer (the one in the middle of the room, not behind a the customer service counter) unmanned, so I decided to look for the poetry books myself by typing the word ‘poetry’ on the search field. The results came out, and I browsed a list of books from both international and local authors alike. A moment later, I found the middle-aged saleslady standing behind me looking rather impatient.

Saleslady: Ano po ‘yon? (What is it?)

Me: I’m looking for a book of poetry, but I haven’t really decided what to get. Do you have Filipino poetry books?

Saleslady: Foreign authors lang po meron namin. Walang local dito. Doon po. *points to something at the bottom of 3 shelves away, serious look still on her face* (We only have foreign poetry authors. No local ones. Over there.)

Me: Ok. Thank you.

*Note that the computer database said that there were several local poetry books.

Funny enough, today I found myself in the Main branch of NBS with a friend who was looking for a book from the Filipiniana section. I asked the cashier ladies to help me out, since there was no line on that floor and they weren’t doing much. The cashier searched her computer briefly and said, “Paki check na lang po doon.” *points to shelves of the Filipiniana section* (Please check there.)

I know people don’t really try to make it an issue in the Philippines and maybe it’s because NBS is a supposedly simple and no-frivolities/it’s-all-there bookstore, but the service is really lacking when compared to Fully Booked where friendly members of the staff go as far as to personally lead you to the right shelf and pull the right book out.

Also, I’ve noticed that NBS Ali Mall isn’t categorized all that well. I thought it was because of the renovations they recently did to the store, but it’s been a couple of months and books of certain categories are still not organized according to the author’s last name. It sounds so geeky of me, I know, but imagine looking for a CD in your favorite music store and finding out that they don’t even bother to sort according to the artist name. Wouldn’t you be upset too?

Update May 17, 2011:

I went to NBS Market! Market! on Sunday (May 15) because my mom needed some white pencil things. Upon arrival, I decided to take my chances in looking for a book that I wanted to read, so I asked a nearby salesgirl to point me in the direction of the Filipiniana section. Instead, she asked for the title of the book I was looking for. I was pleasantly surprised, since the service seemed promising. And then, the kicker: Apparently, the whole Filipiniana section was “displaced” (i.e. not in their proper shelves).

I gave her the title and she proceeded to the customer service section, while I stood there waiting and found another computer database close to where I was standing. Upon checking, I found that, this time, the computer was for customer use because of the fancy, user-friendly lay-out.

According to the computer, my book could be found in Shelf No. 9. Alas, because of the displacement, the idea of Shelf No. 9 was a myth. The salesgirl eventually came up to me and looked at what I was looking, and we both saw that the book was out-of-stock. I asked her to point me to the Filipiniana section, nonetheless, since I figured that I might as well see if there were other titles that would interest me. She smiled apologetically and pointed to the general fiction section… Ah, there it was, the Filipiniana section wedged between some Neil Gaiman books and other general fiction books.

Because I Can’t Write in Multiply Anymore…

Another blog. That is correct:

Let me just say that I logged in to Multiply to finish an entry I made a month earlier, cringed at all the ads/plugs/spam and 1 active user, and decided that it was time to say goodbye.

I already have a blog here… a food one, but it’s not so active, since I have told myself that I should only write culinary gems there. However, seeing that my normal day-to-day existence is less than glamorous, I’ll take the baby steps and write everything here.

This is my new warehouse, people. Howdy!

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