12 Jun One Day in the Philippines
You wake up as common Filipino on the 12th of June. The sun is shining and you can already feel the signature warmth of the Philippine sun. You get up, eat your breakfast, take a shower, brush your teeth, and get ready for work. You step out of your own house.
You are greeted by your friendly neighbors, each tending to their own front yard so that it remains clean and trash free. You have all learned how difficult it is when the rainy season comes and the drainage becomes clogged with trash. You even check your front yard yourself. Everything is in clean and good condition. You walk towards your garage.
You have an option whether to take a bike, a car, or just commute. Since your car is in coding and your office is too far to bike, you opt to just commute. You step outside your gates and start your way.
You arrive at the loading and unloading zone where the jeepneys are in their proper line, moving every five minutes as enforced by the traffic aide. You only need to wait for about five minutes to get aboard. As you go inside, the man in front of you silently puts his cigarettes away as he reads the no smoking sign. You smile and politely ask him to give your fare to the driver. The driver gives you your change even if it only costs 50 centavos.
Now you walk to the MRT. It is a breezy process as you walk towards the guard and get inspected. It only took you about five minutes to get a ticket or maybe even less. You promptly fall in line for the train. Everyone was lined properly and so did you. The train arrived within 10 minutes. Before boarding, the passengers going in waited for the passengers going out to actually get out before they went it. This sped up the process. You got it and even got a nice, clean seat.
You get to your station. You alight and walk towards the stop light. You wait for the signal to go green before you cross the pedestrian lane. You promptly look left and right before you do. You’ve heard how many road accidents have been tallied and you become very cautious because of it.
As you reach your office, you smile at the guard and show him your ID. You also present your bag for inspection. It takes a few minutes and you get on your way. You sit at your desk and you start working. You’re especially motivated today as you have just gotten a raise. You have worked so hard and honestly that your boss finally noticed and gave you a promotion. You decide to become more productive and be more efficient at your job. After all, you always have the option to be this person or not.
After a long day at work, you can finally visit your mother at the hospital. She is comfortable in her private room, which is paid for by your health card so you don’t need to worry about the bills. The only worry is about her getting better and she seems to be okay and recovering. Now you go home.
You get to bed and smile and think what a wonderful life you have in this country. You feel great for staying here and actually helping it grow and flourish as the pearl of the orient. You fall asleep with an astounding zest for life and excitement for tomorrow.
Now isn’t that a great picture? If you have an American dream full of glitz, glamour, and Hollywood, we have this. This is the Filipino dream. More than a century after our so called declaration of independence, we are still not free.
Maybe it is our fault collectively that we went through so much crap that we just decided to be apathetic about it. We yap like Chihuahuas in social media, hoping that every like and share will actually push someone out of their comfortable swivel chair and go out and do something. But we’re chained. We are chained to the idea that we will never make it. That what I narrated is just a dream. That we are all here, living our lives, waiting for it to pass, knowing that we won’t go any further than this. The optimist in me is dying.
No matter how much people tell me to go abroad and just leave this place, I’d rather stay here. Call it martyrdom, but I believe in this country. I believe that one day; I can make it to office on time even if I take on EDSA on a weekday during rush hour. I believe that one day; I will go back to MRT because they finally fixed and it is no longer a death trap and my human rights won’t be violated anymore when I ride it.
I believe that one day; I can go to LTO and actually get something useful out of there like a license or something besides my burning desire to torch that place down. I believe that one day I ride a bus and see that their freaking speed gauge is finally working and that the percentage of me dying a virgin in a bus is dramatically lessened. I believe that one day; I can finally witness an election where nobody says they were cheated. I believe that if we take it one step at a time, we can actually make it.
Our freedom from this hell hole we call home is not by leaving. Our freedom starts when we decide to stay and do something about it. It starts when we use our anger to fuel change. It’s not the best formula to success but let’s make do with what we have.
In this coming election, let’s start our freedom. Let’s choose wisely. We know what we need and how different it is from what we want. Television ads don’t fool us anymore, neither do their jingles. Choose a leader that will give us hope and inspire change. We might have chosen crappy ones in the past but we still have tomorrow to look forward to. Let’s give Emilio Aguinaldo something to be proud about.
And also, it’s totally fine if you like the jingles. They get stuck in my head too.