Mga Adventure sa Manila

Mga Adventure sa Manila

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Nang una akong tumapak sa Manila ay nang dumating ako galing sa Davao kasama ang iba pang mga aplikante na magti-training sa PAL. Escort namin ang namayapa nang si Bud Aseoche. Kasama ko sa grupo sina Abet Yu, Boy Asistido, Rey Porras, at Fred Derequito. Hilong-hilo ako paglapag ng eroplano sa airport – culture shock! Diretso kami sa boarding house sa Baclaran, malapit sa Airport Road na namumutiktik ng mga beer house.

 

Dahil tinipid ko ang training allowance, hindi ako namasyal tuwing weekend na walang pasok sa training center. Isang beses dahil sa tindi ng hatak ng adventure, sinubukan kong lumabas ng boarding house at sumakay ng DM Transit. Namangha ako dahil noon pa lang ako nakakita ng “konduktor” ng bus na babae. Animo karton sa pagkatigas ang uniporme dahil sa almirol. Panay lang ang tingin ko sa labas bintana – window tripping. Nang lumapit ang konduktora, nagbayad ako. Ilang beses din siyang lumapit…panay din ang bayad ko, tatlong beses! Yon pala, ang paglapit niya ay para lang makita ang tiket ko kaya nakalahad ang kamay niya, subali’t dahil di ko alam, hindi ko pinapakita ang tiket, at bayad lang ako ng bayad, tanggap naman siya ng tanggap!

 

Narinig ko sa kwentuhan ang Avenida, maganda raw. Sinubukan ko ring puntahan. Sa kalalakad ko, nakarating ako sa Ongpin St. na bahagi na pala ng Chinatown. Namangha uli ako. May nakahalata yatang manggagantso, nilapitan ako sabay pakita ng isang retrato – maganda ang babae, tsinita. Tanong niya kung type ko raw. Dahil kabado ako, tumanggi ako, pero sa kapipilit niya at curiosity ko na rin, sumama ako. Malayo ang nilakad namin bago makarating sa Trinidad St.,  na kahanay pa rin ng Avenida pero malayo na sa sentro. Sabi ng bugaw, pahinga daw muna sa kwarto, sabay turo ng pinto. Dahil napagod ako, tumuloy na ako at humiga sa kama, pero hindi ko binuksan ang ilaw. Maya-maya pa may pumasok, malakas ang amoy ng pabango, lumapit at minasa-masahe ako. Bandang huli, pumayag ako sa sandaling masahe. Pilit niyang sinasabit ang pantalon ko sa isang bahagi ng dingding pero hindi ako pumayag kaya itinabi ko sa unan. Nang umabot sa puntong may nasalat ako sa kanya, nagalit ako at nasipa ko siya. Bumalandra siya sa dingding at sabay noon, may nabuksang butas na ang takip ay umiikot pala! Nataranta din ang “babae” at lumabas ng kwarto, ni hindi ko nakita ang mukha dahil madilim sa kwarto.  

 

Nagmura ako kunwari habang nagsusuot ng pantalon, t-shirt, at sapatos. Ang brief at medyas ibinulsa ko na lang dahil hahabulin ko nga ang “kaguwang”.  Hinanap ko rin ang bugaw na tumakbo palang palabas ng maliit na bahay. Susundan ko sana subali’t nakita kong pagdating sa kanto, may apat na siyang kasama, kaya ako naman ang nagmadaling umalis at pumunta agad sa bus stop. Nang may dumaan, sakay agad ako nang hindi man lang nagtanong kung saan papunta ang bus. Nakahalata yata ang konduktor na bagong salta ako kaya siya na ang nagbanggit ng mga lugar na pwedeng babaan. Pinili ko ang Luneta. Dahil sa naghalong niyerbiyos at pagod, bumili ako ng softdrink sa isang kiosk, habang tinitingnan ako ng mga tao. Naawa yata ang tindero, sabi sa akin, “sir, baligtad ho ang t-shirt nyo…”. Noon  ko pa lang naalala na hindi ko rin naisuot ang medyas at brief ko. Sa comfort room ng Luneta na rin ako nag-ayos ng sarili upang magmukhang disente uli. Nagpasalamat ako sa pangyayari dahil narating ko ang Luneta for the first time. Three weeks after, may nabasa ako sa diyaryo, reklamo ng lalaki na doon din dinala pero nadukutan dahil pumayag siyang isabit ang pantaloon niya sa dingding na may butas pala! Ang nagmasahe, bakla…kaya pala may nasalat ako noon.

 

Hindi pa rin ako nadala. Quiapo naman ang sunod kong pinuntahan. Madaling puntahan dahil sa landmark na malaking simbahang Katoliko. Habang naglalakad ako, may lumapit sa aking may dalang nakarolyo….pabulong na sinabing bold magazines daw. Buy one take one daw at nakabalot na. Mura kaya binili ko subali’t nang bubuksan ko para tingnan, sabi ng nagbenta sa bahay ko na lang daw buksan at baka mahuli kami ng pulis, bawal kasi. Sa boarding house, nang buksan ko, para akong pinagsakluban ng langit dahil ang nakabalot pala ay dalawang issue ng Liwayway. Akala ko ay Playboy man lang o Penthouse na pwede ko ring  i-share  sa mga kasama ko.

 

Dahil sa mga adventure na yon, nabawasan ang pinaka-iingatan at tinitipid kong allowance. Pero okey lang. Inisip ko na lang na para akong nagbayad sa isang tour guide….

 

 

 

Globalization…Dead-end for the Filipino Nationalism?

Globalization…dead-end for the

Filipino Nationalism?

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

The country had its first taste of “globalization” with the Open-Skies Policy that opened the so-called gates of the country’s aviation industry to the rest of players from all over the world. When before, negotiations were almost next to impossible due to red tapes, the policy changed all those in favor of the players to be able to enter the Philippine skies with a breeze. Small domestic airlines mushroomed with one emerging to be the stiffest rival of Philippine Airlines, touted to be the country’s flag carrier. Domestic and international fares plunged due to cutthroat competition.

 

The government was hopeful that tourist arrival would triple or even quadruple, yet, for the several years after the aviation industry was globalized, the country did not beat Thailand and Indonesia, even surprisingly, Malaysia in terms of inbound tourism. Room occupancy of hotels did not improve much as expected.

 

Government properties were privatized even Fort Bonifacio viewed by some government officials as a liability, for conversion into a modern business center in line with globalization, with the proceeds supposedly to be used in the modernization of the Armed Forces. But, according to observers, whatever procurements being made now for the said purpose are done with the use of borrowed funds. There was an attempt to auction off to investors from Malaysia, the Manila Hotel, one of the important historical landmarks of the country, but fortunately, checked just in time. There was a rush for other auctions – National Steel to Chinese and Malaysians, Petron to the Saudis, Subic to the Taiwanese.  Globalization, indeed!

 

Condominiums mushroomed but due to their prohibitive prices, only foreign traders are able to buy units. It seems that these structures were built in expectation of the influx of medium scale foreign business investors from Hongkong, South Korea and China. Malls are practically full of them manning their stores with the help of Filipino sales clerks. Even conglomerates that develop these socialized facilities are never without foreign incorporators.

 

The country has been tied to the provisions of the globalized commerce. All doors of the country have been opened wide. The vulnerability of the country has been exposed and this is what China, the most interested country saw – the weaknesses of the country hinged on the squabbles that caused the turmoil after the toppling of the Marcos dictatorship. Those who took over proved to be far from being satisfactory in regaining even just a bit of respectability for the country. The government continually reeked with corruption. Even the image of the so-called People Power that inspired other countries, is slowly melting!

 

Observers jokingly say that while during the time of Marcos, only one was corrupt, today, practically government people can always find an excuse to filch money not only from the government coffers but directly from their countrymen and foreign investors.  Opportunity for corruption has proliferated. Even janitors and messengers in some government agencies are found to own expensive cars and houses in exclusive subdivisions!

 

A sane Filipino will never understand how the government could insist that globalization has brought progress to the country because of the influx of investors. Common sense dictates that these foreign investors came for selfish motive – to“earn” revenue out of their short-term investments such as assembly factories and call centers that can be uprooted and transferred to safer countries anytime where labor is cheap in case of problems. And, their profits are deposited, where else, but in banks in their home countries. The poor Filipino employees are on contract – five months, very few lucky to be on renewable basis, hence, paid pittance wages, not even enough for a family of three or four. In other words, the globalization did nothing to check the ever ascending unemployment rate because, what the country experiences today is a short-term and seasonal employment trend. Simply said, what we have now is an “on and off” phenomenon of survival due to short term and seasonal employment. Simply translated, it is like saying, “we eat now, tomorrow we don’t…. we eat now, tomorrow we don’t…..”

 

What the country also needs to develop are the countryside – vast agricultural lands and its other natural resources. It is ironic that rice technicians from other Asian countries come to the Philippines to learn the rudiments of modern techniques in rice propagation at International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Laguna, after which they go back to their countries to put into practice what they have learned. At the end, their countries export rice to the Philippines!

 

Several times, the President mumbled praises on the Filipino labor force with global reliability. At home they are paid minimum wage, some even underpaid, and worst, on contract basis. In other countries, they are paid comparably high wages. But shall we stop there? What will happen if there will be a global slump in production due to inevitable reasons? These “modern heroes” will come home to become idle as there is no solid foundation for Philippine-based opportunities.

 

Globalization calls for efficiency as a very important tool to be competitive. Simply put, weaker and inefficient countries are at the mercy of stronger and efficient ones that became such due to their advanced high technological capabilities. We need not go far for this because by tradition, we have the so-called third world countries, a classification to which the Philippines belong. How can we then expect, to march towards progress if this is the case?

 

 

Ang Pahamak na “F” at “Sh”

Ang Pahamak na “F” at “Sh”

ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Usapan ng dalawang estudyante na ang hilig ay tumambay sa computer shop:

 

#1:       Pare…huwag na nating iboto si Brenda bilang presidente ng Student Council.

 

#2:       Bakit?…teka, yon ba yong babae na akala mo palaging bagong galing sa parlor dahil palaging nakaalsa ang buhok, kaya nagmukha siyang may pugad sa ulo?…yong inglesira, pero hirap namang mag-pronounce ng “th”?

 

#1:       Oo, pare…yon nga. Wala ka kasi kahapon nang nag-room to room campaign, eh. Okey na sana ang pa-ingles-ingles niya na may halong tagalog, pati ang pagtalsik ng laway niya kung mag-pronounce ng “th”, pero ang sama pala ng tabas ng dila niya.

 

#2:       Bakit?

 

#1:       Aba’y tawagin ba naman niyang utot ang buong klase! At may isa pang masamang salita na binanggit! Nakakahiya talaga at nakakainis! Pinagmukha niya tayong tungaw!

 

#2:       Aba’y masama nga…ano ba ang sabi?

 

#1:       Ganito kasi ang isang bahagi ng speech: “I am fighting for our karapatan bilang mga students na matatalino nitong university. Lahat I will do for you…and I want you all to be fart of my struggle! I will work hard na makinig ang administration to give us mga bagong upuan so that everybody can shit comfortably.”

 

#2:       Aba’y masama nga! Tinawag tayong utot ng kanyang pagsisikap? Ano siya sinuswerte? Aba’y kung mapapa-utot siya sa pagsisikap, sarilinin na niya ang pagbuga ng kabantutan…maski pa sa buong campus! Huwag niya tayong idamay! At pati ang pagdumi natin…wala na siyang pakialam doon. Dapat i-petition siya upang ma-kick out sa school!

 

#1:       Tagilid pare…ang tatay ni Brenda, pinag-iingatan daw ang  taynga ng Presidente.

 

#2:       Ganoon kalapit ang tatay niya sa Presidente? Nakakabulong sa Presidente ng Pilipinas? Bakit anong trabaho niya?

 

#1:       Private barber ng Presidente, pare….private barber!

 

 

Tagilid nga! Para bang kalsada na maski diretso, kung marami namang malalalim na lubak dahil dinaya ang pagkagawa, kinurakot ang budget… ang mga tao ay talagang patagilid-gilid sa pagtahak nito.