Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I must admit that the past 4 weeks or so that I have been commuting between home and office has been a liberating experience. I guess it is similar to one leaving the cell phone at home and finds out that the "distractions" of having to check you cell for text messages or silencing it when an unexpected or unwelcome call is received are suddenly inexistent. It is also similar to when one leaves his watch and though at first conscious of something missing from his wrist, eventually forgets the timepiece while also being set free from checking the time every so often.

I did commute when I was in high school and then during college and grad school. I knew the peak periods particularly because I tried my best commuting when it wasn't so difficult to get a ride. These days I found that it's pretty much the same as when I last took public transport on a regular basis. I do miss the trains in Japan but riding the jeepney everyday is both an experience and an adventure. Pity those who dismiss the jeepney as a utilitarian mode. It might not be mass transit in the mold of the LRTs, MRTs and the modern bus services but it serves its purpose and may be considered safer than riding a bus these days.

There are, of course, exceptions to the jeepneys I prefer to ride. They call them the "patok" jeepneys and they seem to have thrown caution to the wind as they speed up and weave through traffic with stereo systems at full volume. Never mind that the music is incomprehensible, drowned by the unnatural bass or that the artist seemed to be screaming a demonic language. Never mind that the conductor is somewhere outside, hanging on a beam while continuously hitting the vehicle on the roof to communicate with the driver. I guess there's one application of the Morse code in modern times.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Matrix

While riding a jeepney on my way to the office this morning, I noticed the fare matrix hanging from the ceiling just behind a front seat passenger's head. It was an old Taytay-Cubao jeepney, one that I may have ridden on when I was still a college student commuting between our home in Cainta and K-Mart, the old UP-Katipunan jeepney terminal. I was curious enough to check how much it cost now for my old commute and was not much surprised to see the amount to be 14.50 pesos. Back in the late 80's I only paid 2.50 pesos for the same 10-kilometer ride from our subdivision gate to K-Mart. And that should have been 2.25 pesos if the driver even bothered to charge a student's rate. I also remember that the Katipunan jeepney ride at the time cost 1.00 peso (the minimum fare for the first 4 kilometers) while an IKOT jeepney ride was 75 centavos. Time really flies by when were so preoccupied by many things and inflation seems to set it pretty quickly, too. I guess, it's our turn telling younger people how much fare cost when we were their age as well as how much a bottle of Coke or a piece of pandesal cost back then. Our parents did so when we were young and even now, reminding us that a peso could get them by a couple of days since a bottle of softdrinks cost only 10 centavos and you could get a decent meal for 25 centavos. Back then drinkable water was probably free and I still couldn't believe that it would be in my generation that we would be buying bottled water when back in the 80's my mother would shrug off the Perriers and Evians in the groceries as something not at all having any demand here. Life goes on...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Quick February

February always goes by quickly. It's probably one of my frustrations for a month that's always been lucky for me. I even remember being disappointed in college for exams not falling in February and instead being scheduled in the first week of March. It was like losing a golden opportunity to perform well. Of course, people will say that one needs to study well for an exam and not just rely on luck. Well, I did study well for my exams and I always thought that being lucky is not such a bad thing. After all, feeling lucky may be likened to a placebo and can be a good morale booster in such times of trials (or exams).

March is very much welcome though. A quick February also means that the summer break is just around the corner. It's warmer in March but the nights still offer a frequent cool breeze to soothe both mind and body after a day at work.