Saturday, June 20, 2009

Manila day I Part III

Air Force One
Somewhere in the Pacific


I have been thinking about this leg of the flight for the longest time. This is what has worried me the most. No, I have faith in pilots the world over. These people do an amazing job day in and day out.

What worried me the most was the passengers on the plane. A bunch of Filipinos in an enclosed space always seem to turn into a disaster. Hopefully this would be better right? Nothing will and can go wrong with this flight. Why? cause I said so thats why.

I HAVE ONE RULE WHEN FLYING. Never to check in anything...thus I have no balikbayan boxes. I want my crap to be with me at all times. Simple right?

As I haul my luggage onto the plane, a dude was shoving some luggage onto the overhead bin above where my seats where. Did not think anything of it until I found out I don't have space for mine. Just kept my cool, figured hey it does not look like a full flight, there should be ample space for me right?

As I search for space, my fellow passengers, being Pinoys as they are, just couldnt resist the urge to be epal, giving unsolicited advice to anyone who would give them the time of the day thus causing a commotion. I guess it is an innate thing for Pinoys to do, they always have a thing to say about anything, no matter how mundane it is.

But no...."Ay hindi yan kasya jan!" "try mo dito! dito!" In unison on the top of their lungs!!! ahhhhhhhh. First of all did I ask for your opinion? You think I can't figure it out myself? I guess if my luggage wont go in tht overhead bin, there's a good chance its not going to fit right? So shut up!

Then came the words Ive been dreading to hear: "Sir we have to check that in!" NO FUCKING WAY I said to myself. I in turn gave the dude who took my spot in the overhead bin the look I gave the last time I was in a fight in elementary school.

I wanted to strangle him and 10 other passengers at that point. If they were not acting like total epals, the FA would not even noticed me or my bag. My luggage shouldve been safe in an overhead bin, without the threat of it manhandled by baggage handlers or worse being lost.

I'm only spending 8 days in the Philippines, unlike all of these idiots who managed to haul all their otherwordly possessions in 5 boxes weighing 85 lbs each. they can aford to lose a box or two. I can't. My other hand carry only had shoes. What will I wear if gets lost? How am I going to retrieve the damn luggage.

As I attempted to throw a diva fit. I was reminded that YOU DO NOT WANT TO MESS WITH Flight Attendants. It's a fact. It is something that 9-11 brought about. FAs has police powers and they are not afraid to use it. So after saying "But I don't have any clothes in my handcarry!" I just sat down took a deep breath, and after the FA took my luggage away, said in a voice that everyone can hear: "You people better pray they won't lose my luggage."

So you can now imagine how stressful the 10 hour HNL-MNL flight was for me. Besides thinking about the possibility of my luggage being lost or worse stolen, I was already plotting what kind of pain to bring those who have oppressed me. The dude who stole my spot, and whoever owned the luggage he was storing it for.

As we land, of course not after the annoying round of applause you hear ONLY from trips overseas to Manila, I run outside to the carousel, not after shoving the lady whose bag the other dude shoved it for.

My bag! my bag! yes....there it was. It was not lost, thus reviving my faith on all baggage handlers worldwide.

In the tunnel, you are reminded right away that this is the Philippines. Muggy, sticky, hot. I guess kinda like sex. You probably don't care for it but you gotta have it. I tried to control my gag reflex because the last thing you want at that point is to be mistaken for someone who has the ah1n1 virus. I mean that could be the worse!

So I walk out the airport and as I grab a yellow cab (they charge 70 bucks flag down and 4.00 thereafter) again I take a deep breath and say to myself....Welcome to the Philippines!!

From the cab, I ask the driver to take me to BF Paranaque, my hometown. Thank god I did not rent a car. If before getting to Manila, I had some illusions of renting a car and driving home, that quickly dissapated. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to drive the streets of Manila. There are no rules, merely suggestions.

The streets look the same, but yet looks so much different. I recognize some of the places but there has been so much changes done in the last 15 years or so. The roadside ihaw ihaws, the craziness, all too familiar for me. The traffic though is a totally different story.

From now on, when I get stuck at the Bay Bridge for the morning commute, I shall never ever curse or blow my top ever again. Once you've experienced Philippine traffic you will be able to survive any kind of traffic anywhere in this world. Guaranteed.

Finally I get home. Not after spending 375 pesos on cab fare. (made it 500 even with tip. Just because I'm generous like that) By the way, the cab driver tried to pull a fast one on me by pretending to not know where BF Paranaque was. What kind of cab driver would not know where BF Paranaque is huh?

Surprised my nieces and nephews who had no clue I was coming. Shocked my sis. Great day, after a long journey, seeing the faces of all these people who are important to me makes this ardous trip worthwhile. I am back!

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