Pasay Rotonda: At the Crossroads

Whether you find yourself inside a mall somewhere in Monumento, malapit sa bantayog ni Andres Bonifacio, or sa dulo ng EDSA Extension, at the end of the day, you’ll need to go home. But after going to a mall to buy something o tumambay lang, did you have that feeling that you wasted a few hours of your life? And that those hours should have been spent doing something better?

At some point in your journey, mapapaisip ka if you’re in the right road, or kung tama ba yung destination na pinili mo. Being in the crossroads could catch up with you in different stages of life. Minsan tinatawag itong “quarterlife crisis” para sa mga young adults in their twenties.

Image credit: Travis Cruise
Image credit: Travis Cruise via Flickr

Looking back, nagkaroon na pala ako ng tatlong major crossroads: the first one when I decided to go back to Manila even though I intended to work in our province for good. The second one was when I resigned from a well-paying job so I could serve as the National President of our church youth organization. Lastly, the most recent, is when my family and I decided to move to the United States para sa isang mas malaking ministry service opportunity.

Continue reading “Pasay Rotonda: At the Crossroads”

Tags: , ,

EDSA Extension: Ito ba ang aking destinasyon?

Kung monumento ni Andres Bonifacio ang nasa Northern end ng EDSA, isa ring monumento ang makikita natin sa Southern end nito. Pagtawid mo ng Roxas Blvd, dadaan ka sa EDSA Extension patungo sa napakalaking monumento ng kapitalismo at konsumerismo: ang Mall of Asia. Tatambad sa iyo ang isang malaking globo na tuwing gabi ay umiilaw at nagpapakita ng mapa ng mundo, at paminsan-minsan, umiikot ang iba’t ibang uri ng advertisement.

Pilipinas na yata ang may pinakamaraming shopping malls kung icoconsider natin ang ating land area. Every 10 kilometers yata ay may malaking mall. Imagine, may mahigit 50 malls ang SM all over the country at marami diyan ang nasa Manila. Kung isasama natin ang Robinsons, Ayala Malls, at pati na rin yung mga mas maliit na players kagaya ng Puregold at Waltermart, sobrang dami niyan! Kung titingnan mo ang dami ng mga taong nagpupunta sa malls, iisipin mong hindi naghihirap ang mga Pinoy.

Mall of Asia ang isa sa mga biggest mall sa ating bansa. Imagine, tinambakan lang naman ng lupa ang kinatatayuan ng MoA, dati dagat talaga yan. Pero ngayon, sobrang daming tao ang bumibisita araw-araw. Kung kailangan mo ng mga damit, gadgets at iba pang gamit, dalaw ka lang. Bili dito, bili doon. Hindi lang iyan, uso na rin ang pagbili ng “experience” at memories ngayon—manood ng sine, mag-ice skating, mag-bungee jumping, sakay sa MoA Eye at tingnan ang cityscape ng Manila. O di kaya, mag-celebrate–kain, inom, coffee, at kung anu-ano pang foods.

EDSAExtension
image credit: Byron Alcantara via Flickr

Pero ito ang siste, welcome ka dito kung may pera ka. Kung wala, hanggang amoy ka na lang, hanggang window shopping, at least puwedeng magpalamig, o di kaya’y tumambay sa may park area para makita ang polluted na Manila Bay. Naalala ko tuloy yung kanta ng Yano na “Esem”: “Patingin-tingin, di naman makabili. Pasulyap-sulyap di makapanood ng sine. Walang ibang pera kundi pamasahe. Nakayanan ko lang pambili ng dalawang yosi…” Tapos sa korus nito, isinisigaw ng bokalista: “Nakakainis ang ganitong buhay…”

Continue reading “EDSA Extension: Ito ba ang aking destinasyon?”

Tags: , ,

Magallanes: Divergent Roads

Paglagpas mo sa intersection ng EDSA at Ayala Avenue, you will approach Magallanes Interchange. Kung pupunta ka sa Manila, take the outermost lane. Kung didiretso ka naman ng EDSA papunta sa Pasay Rotonda or sa Nichols, take the left-most lane at aakyat sa flyover na diretso lang.

Kung pupunta ka naman sa Alabang, sa Airport, or sa ano mang city or municipality sa Laguna o Cavite through the South Luzon Expressway, take the middle lane. Aakyat ka rin ng flyover pero it will curve to a circle and bring you towards SLEX. Ngayon, kung hindi mo alam ang tamang lilikuan mo, you might end up going back to where you came from: mapapa-North Bound ka na naman sa EDSA.

In the past decade or so, ang laki ng development sa South. You have progressive cities such as Alabang, Parañaque, and Las Piñas. If you go further South, you’ll also encounter Dasmariñas and Tagaytay in Cavite. At siempre, makikita mo rin ang rapid developments sa Sta Rosa. Bukod sa mga Real Estate developments sa mga lugar na ito, makikita mo rin na maraming companies ang nagtatayo ng offices dito. In fact, if you want a less hurried life compared sa Metro Manila, you could probably relocate in these areas.

image credit: jaydigital via Flickr
image credit: jaydigital via Flickr
Continue reading “Magallanes: Divergent Roads”

Tags: , ,

Ayala: Traffic sa Fast Lane

After crossing the Guadalupe bridge, you’ll soon approach the intersection of EDSA and Ayala Avenue. If you turn left, you’ll go to the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, where a lot of big name companies hold their offices. If you turn right, you’ll find yourself in the middle of Ayala Avenue that serves as the main thoroughfare of the Makati Central Business District.

Either way, maraming nagtataasang buildings ang makikita mo, and on any given workday, maraming well-dressed yuppies ang naglalakad mula EDSA papunta sa mga offices nila. Nevermind the morning heat and the sweat, mas mabilis pa ring makakarating sa office if you walk.

Isa rin ang Ayala Avenue sa mga parts ng Metro Manila na hindi natutulog. Kahit gabing-gabi o madaling araw, maraming yuppies ang nag-uumpukan sa mga baba ng buildings for their coffee and yosi break. Several years back, nagtratrabaho ako sa isang Call Center sa PBCom Tower at nagkataong 4am ang umpisa ng shift ko. Pagdating sa Ayala corner Makati Avenue, may taxi na nakatigil dahil naka-red ang traffic light. Tumigil din yung taxi na sinasakyan ko. Noong nag-green na ang traffic light, umusad na kami. Iyong taxi na kasabay namin, nandoon pa rin at nakatigil. Apparently, nakatulog yung pasahero. Ang siste, pati driver nakatulog pala!

Ayala-Avenue
image credit: steph.en via Flickr
Continue reading “Ayala: Traffic sa Fast Lane”

Tags: , ,

Boni-Guadalupe: Shifting Lanes

Kung dumaan ka sa Crossing Ibabaw, asahan mong luluwag nang bahagya ang traffic pagpasok mo ng Boni hanggang tumawid ka ng tulay sa may Guadalupe. But then again, it might not. Superepic level kasi lagi ang traffic sa EDSA tuwing rush hour. Nag-calculate nga minsan ang isang friend ko na nagbiyahe from Ortigas to Makati. Sabi niya, ang average speed niya ay 5 kilometers per hour. Imagine! Mas mabilis pa ako maglakad.

Because people are in a hurry to arrive at their destinations, they frequently change lanes sa EDSA, hoping na mas mabilis ang bagong lane na papasukan nila. Swerving ang tawag doon at puwede itong mag-cause ng mas matinding traffic, or worse, magdulot ito ng aksidente. Kaya nga ang six lanes ng EDSA madalas nagiging 8 lanes dahil sa galing sumingit ng maraming drivers.

Hindi lang sa lanes madalas mag-shift ang mga yuppies. A lot of yuppies also shift career several times. In worse cases, some yuppies can work for as much as 3-4 companies in a single year. Hindi ko alam naging collectibles na pala ang dami ng pinagtratrabahuan.

Karamihan sa mga parents natin at mga members ng previous generation, kung ano ang first job nila, doon na rin sila magreretire. That was the norm noong time nila. Sa atin, having a one-track career is the exception. It’s not uncommon to see long resumes of young professionals na nagpapakita ng apat na companies or more within the past four years or so.

EDSA-Guadalupe
image credit: Alfonso Evere via Flickr
Continue reading “Boni-Guadalupe: Shifting Lanes”

Tags: , ,

Swerving after Crossing Ilalim on a Monday Morning [Poetry]

Emerging from Crossing Ilalim, we follow
the light, and the lanes of EDSA.

Along with thousands of cars, buses, heading where
offices are located. Fast-moving
(though unreliable) train drowns
engine sounds, blaring horns
from taxis, buses, AUVs swerving,
navigating,
to the least congested lanes.

But on this Monday morning, EDSA traffic is heavy
as usual. From the front seat
of this passenger van,
billboards obstruct my view of the sky
as we try to cross
the Guadalupe bridge—

Smiling models present
the latest
gadget, underwear, toned body, diet
trend, and there’s also a verse about
the fulfillment of my dreams.

Oh! There’ll be another weekend mall sale:
up to 75% off.

There’s a price for everything,
even at discounted rates.

Can I pay 75% off the price
of the things I want most
in life?

Or should I go to Divisoria and haggle
for a lower-priced, made-in-China, version
of the dreams
I want to wear.

Our van shifted to the left to avoid
the stalled bus, and another one
stopped right ahead to pick up
more passengers.

I spotted behind us to the right, a red Mustang.
Made me wonder who would buy muscle cars and drive
them on the streets of Manila:
Zero to 160 in 10 seconds… And the best
speed you get on EDSA this Monday morning is 5 km/hr.

We shifted once more to the left, and moved.

Stopped.
Moved
just a bit.

And the traffic light turned

Red.

Tags: ,

Cubao Traffic [Poetry]

Along EDSA—
My journey’s interrupted
By every sudden brake. Stopping
On every street, every traffic light. My life
(here atop the Santolan flyover) is going down
Into the waiting mouth of Cubao. I’m so hungry.
But inside this bus, like rag on a clothes line
Along EDSA where the plants and trees have died,
It’s hot. And humid. My insides are on fire. Sweat pours out
All over my body. A part of me gets left behind with every stop…
Wave the fan! Feverish fan!  Sigh. So much for our hurried lives.
There’s too many of us chasing after; being chased by
Time.   I better buy
Candy and peanuts
While waiting
For the bus to

Move.

Tags: ,

Ortigas: Relihiyon, Rebolusyon

On any given day, sobrang traffic mula sa Kamuning Flyover hanggang paglampas mo ng Cubao. But it eases up a little bit pagdating mo ng Ortigas. Marami na kasing mga sasakyan ang sasampa sa flyover, either to go to the Ortigas Business District, or magpatuloy Southbound EDSA. But as you travel through this part of EDSA, you can never miss the imposing statue of Virgin Mary on the left. May chapel din sa ilalim ng statue. Ito na yata ang Northern marker ng Ortigas Business District. Nasa likod lang ng statue ang Galleria, malapit lang din ang Megamall, at napakaraming buildings na nagsisilbing opisina ng mga top multinational and local corporations.

image credit: Linglong Ortiz, Presidential Museum via Flickr
image credit: Linglong Ortiz, Presidential Museum and Library PH via Flickr
Continue reading “Ortigas: Relihiyon, Rebolusyon”

Tags: , , ,

Timog Avenue: I Just Want to Have Some Fun!

Kung nasa Southbound lane ka ng EDSA at nalagpasan mo na ang North EDSA, hindi mo mami-miss ang Kamuning flyover. Kung ayaw mong ma-traffic sa Timog Avenue at sa Kamuning dahil sa dami ng mga bus terminals doon, take the flyover. Oo naman, heavy traffic din sa flyover during rush hour. At least, pagbaba mo, malapit ka na sa Cubao Ilalim. Kaunting tiis nga lang dahil sa sobrang daming mga bus na nakapila sa Cubao Ibabaw. Tahimik man ang Timog Avenue during the day; it comes alive at night. Lalo na kapag natapat ang payday near the weekend—super traffic sa area na ito because a lot of yuppies go there to eat, drink, and be entertained.

image credit: unlawyer via Flickr
image credit: unlawyer via Flickr

Hindi lang naman mga restaurant, bar, at iba pang entertainment joints ang makikita sa Timog area. This is also where the stations and headquarters of GMA7 and ABS-CBN are located. Kung may korona ang mga streets along EDSA, Timog Avenue ang title holder ng “Entertainment Center” ng buong Metro Manila. Kung super pressured ka nga naman sa work, at todo kayod ka throughout the month, puwedeng puwede pumasyal sa area na ito para mag-unwind at mag-relax.

Continue reading “Timog Avenue: I Just Want to Have Some Fun!”

Tags: , , ,

North EDSA: Ito Pala ang Rat Race

After entering EDSA through the Balintawak Cloverleaf, madadaanan mo ang Muñoz, and then you’ll approach the intersection of North Avenue, EDSA, and West Avenue. You can’t miss it. Nandiyan ang SM North, isa sa mga dambuhalang malls hindi lang sa Pilipinas kundi sa buong mundo! Katapat lang nito ang isa pang mall—Trinoma!

image credit:
image credit: MyStreetsPH

It’s not an exaggeration kung sasabihin mong may mall ang bawat sulok at gitna ng Metro Manila. Konting tumbling lang, mall na naman! Hindi lang ang SM North at Trinoma ang palatandaan ng North EDSA. Dito mo rin makikita ang pagkahaba-habang pila ng mga tao paakyat sa unang station ng MRT.

Have you heard the term “di mahulugan ng karayom”? That’s exactly the scene sa MRT North EDSA tuwing umaga. At bilang isang bagong miyembro ng work force, that is the kind of mornings you will face. Every. Single. Working. Day.

Continue reading “North EDSA: Ito Pala ang Rat Race”

Tags: , , ,