Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Of Traffic and Obama

It's the second day of Garrett and Gab at the Bible camp, a week-long church activity, more known as Daily Vacation Bible Study (DVBS). It's held for children and youth ages 3 to 16 years, and open to all. This is their second year. They are committed to it and happy to be part of it that they are okay waking up at 5:20 am for five days during summer vacation. We travel from Taytay to Quiapo. Yesterday, we brought a car. Today, we took the Santolan-Recto train, alighting at Legarda.

We got caught in the traffic frenzy yesterday owing to Obama's visit. Roads were closed either by police or by militants. I am so poor at directions and spatial orientation, in general, that my driving is confined to the few places I frequent. I was clueless how to get out of Manila. I ended up on Lacson Avenue, sweating my way through the little roads before that, as I was holding my urge to pee, praying for a gas station. I took an abrupt turn at the corner of Fajardo and Lacson streets, found a uniformed policeman inside a half-closed restroom, and begged him to hurry up. I was desperate! And then I asked for directions from the officer. He suggested I take Espana and exit via Quezon City. I did just that, cutting cars from the corner I came from to make a U-turn on Lacson. I drove straight until I came upon two cabs -- with doors kissing -- that wouldn't budge. One driver came out shouting at the other driver. I was right behind them on the middle lane. The cars that were ahead of me either overtook them on the left or right. Silly me, I followed a jeepney that overtook from the right side. And then I got stuck, together with the cabs, causing more traffic! Imagine that. I was sandwiched between one of the cabs and the yellow rails that lined the road. I didn't dare move fearing there wasn't enough space to get through. Thank, God, the cab drivers decided to move apart and carry on. I was relieved that it happened after my call-of-nature trip to the gas station.

It took 2.5 hours to reach home. I couldn't curse the traffic and what or who caused it. I was excited to catch the early evening news and see yesterday's state visit by the president of the most powerful nation. I kind of like Obama. I dream of going to the US. I like seeing Obama give speeches, and was curious as to how our own president fared alongside such a powerful, charismatic, political figure. I caught the speech Obama gave at the state dinner. It was freaking creepy I thought, hearing him praise the two late Aquinos' legacy, the throw of dictatorship, the show of people power to fight for democracy and keep it, and how he referred to the good spirit of the Filipino, citing a local word "kalooban." Seeing the dictator's son and the convicted plunderer (an ex-president) applauding in the audience after the toast, that's creepy. Seeing presidential sister Viel Aquino exchanging pleasantries with Sen. Enrile got me wondering who was behind the seating arrangements. I caught something nice though. I thought Pres. Ramos was truly witty having kept Obama for a few seconds while shaking the other's hand in greetings as the latter was enroute to his diplomatically assigned seat.

Oh, the Philippines! Nowhere is it more fun, indeed! And I wouldn't trade it for another. Really.


The State Dinner venue, Rizal Hall, Malacanan Palace. Photo grabbed from Facebook page of Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines.
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