A Double Whammy Serving for Breakfast

Tuesday. 9:38am at 31 degrees Celsius. As I listen to The Bravery’s Believe on my iPod, I began to feel a warm and stingy sensation in my scalp down to my forehead. Then suddenly small tear-drop-like sweat from my scalp’s pores began to roll down on my face one after another. That’s it! A few more minutes of waiting in this humid condition, a few more inhaling of carbon monoxide I’ll be sweating profusely. I’m beginning to turn like a French or coffee press ready to be pressed and I’ve been standing here for almost an hour now.

And one more thing, I haven’t had a breakfast yet.


The first serving

The intersection of San Marcelino and Remedios streets in Manila are already congested with traffic by private cars and pedicabs, small and big-scale cargo trucks from Pier 15 and public utility vehicles such as taxis and jeepneys, and even by pedestrians who live and work nearby. Both right side corners of San Marcelino and Remedios streets (if you’re towards the East direction) is where all commuters of an FX taxi ride (a phased-out Toyota Tamaraw Asian Utility Vehicle) going to Ayala Avenue, Makati City usually convene. A virtual terminal I could say for the white and the blue collars alike — that includes me. This is just a normal weekday scenario every morning. And it’s getting worse each passing day.

While waiting for the redemption from this humid condition, I was sandwiched by a chubby woman with her hair still wet from a shower and a slim woman holding sheets of worn-out tabloid newspaper that she just picked up near the pavement where she was standing. Both women whose height are most likely five foot and three inches. Few minutes later, out of desperation, the chubby woman with an old-rose colored racket bag have asked me and the slim woman if we’re also waiting for an FX taxi ride. We said “Yes”. She asked me again, “Where will you be dropping off?” “In front of Manila Bank.” I said. Then she offered me and the other woman a proposal of getting a regular taxi that will take us to our common destination. Sort of a carpool, I guess. The slim woman and I agreed to her proposal. And there, the chubby woman goes, she hailed every taxi she can find available. Hailed there, hailed here.

After a few unavailable taxis passed by, we got an available one — a Toyota Vios taxi. “Perfect.” I said to myself. For sure, the air-conditioner is 100% cold and running. So, the chubby woman went in first at the backseat. As for me, at the front, beside the driver. But when I was about to come in, I saw the slim woman still standing on her post uninterrupted. I’d called her attention by calling her “Miss”, and the slim woman responded by turning her head and looked at me while she pointed her index finger to the other side of Remedios street. That’s where I saw redemption. An upcoming FX taxi after an hour of agonizing wait. Few seconds later, the FX taxi was already at the back of a Toyota Vios taxi the chubby woman just hailed for our supposed carpool. And there we go, on board the FX taxi, off to our respective work stations.


The second serving

Just when I taught that I’ll be arriving a little less late, our ride took roughly five minutes just to turn right to Singalong street from Remedios street where we first board the FX taxi and roughly ten minutes just to take a left turn to President Quirino Highway from Singalong street. And from President Quirino Highway, turn right to President Osmena Highway, it took us roughly 20 minutes. That time, I am not a French or coffee press at all. But a left over ham inside a microwave oven reheating at 100 degrees Celsius. Spinning. My cold and hardened sweet sauce has started to melt and dripping. And I’m getting agitated already.

From President Osmena Highway to the intersection of San Andres street, it took us ten minutes. This time, it’s not only the traffic itself, the other side of the highway lane to Nagtahan is under repair since March. The highway lane to Makati City is temporarily turned into a two-way lane shared from the commuters coming from the south.

From the intersection of San Andres to Makati City via President Osmena Highway or South Expressway, our travel time was normalized. But then, as we enter into the vicinity of Makati City, traffic starts to build up again. Welcome back to the concrete jungle. I arrived in the office at almost 11am. Perspiring and thirsty.

And one more thing, I haven’t had a breakfast yet.

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About battlefield_man

Jocas A. See. Visual journalist. Visual communication designer. And a casual tourist

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