|Image from habagatcentral.com|
MRT STATION, TAFT AVENUE
A female passenger disembarks from the train at the southmost station of the MRT line. The station is crowded, as usual, but for some reason she notices guards and MRT staffers screaming and filtering out the folks who had just disembarked from the train.
She looks up at the escalator, and sees guards filtering out passengers with stored-value tickets to go through the station overpass while the rest of the hoi polloi – including herself, with her one-time use ticket – are asked to chuck their tickets into large bags being held out by MRT staff.
Then she alights the stairs to the overpass, where she looks down and sees a camera crew pushing their way through the massive crowd below.
This can only mean one thing: Her beloved – or at least his less-attractive stunt double – is shooting his damned movie. Again.
Incensed by the fact that he has still not acknowledged her after their “date” at the Manila Peninsula (during which time he may or may not have seen her drowning her sorrows in chamomile tea) she makes a turn on the overpass, and reminds herself of certain things…
- Do not – repeat, DO NOT – crane your neck over the railing to make sure that it is him, and not his less-attractive stunt double. First of all because you know that the shoot is probably happening at several different places at once (the sidewalk, the MRT concourse, the long stretch of road on the reclaimed area before you get to Mall of Asia), and second because you have been there and done that at a location where you were less likely to get trampled to death. You still have your dignity; it’s best to keep it that way.
- Take a cue from his character instead by walking fast and blending straight into the crowd on the overpass, keeping your wits about you while clutching your purse for dear life. Extra points if you can make your face as intense as possible.
- Remind yourself that any robber or mugger who tries to ask you for your money or your life will be very disappointed to learn that you do not own a smartphone. God help them if they go through all of that trouble over a cheap (and outdated) Nokia that they could have just borrowed from the laundry-woman next door.
- If you do get lost – and you will, since you have not been in this part of Manila for the last 20 years – do ask for directions, but do not put any hope in them. Any chance you may have on riding the jeep that will take you where you need to be will be dashed when you have to compute the number of transfers.
- Walk as fast as possible until you find the jeepney that you will need to take to wherever you’re going. Especially if it’s the Mall of Asia, because they will call out to you.
- Hello, you know how to take a jeepney. You don’t have to be a snob about packing into a tight space while your driver blares out “Bring Me To Life” on his stereo. Just keep your guard up.
- The only reason for you to take a cab is to guarantee for sure that you will get to wherever you’re going… and even then, those bastards might screw you over. Know your basic rates, and always ask for a receipt.
- When you get home to QC a few hours later, however, pat yourself on the back for surviving this whole thing.
- As for the aforementioned beloved, do not threaten to replace him with Novak Djokovic or Benedict Cumberbatch (or both) for putting you and the residents of Pasay City through this madness. Remember, all will be forgiven when he pays you back with a stored-value MRT ticket and a box of rose macarons.
- And if it helps, try to imagine him reciting the English translation of Sonnet 66 by Pablo Neruda, which would actually suit his voice pretty well. (No, really!)