Category Archives: commute

In other news: Man told to carry his weight.

People of the world, there is an urgent need for all of us to be mindful of others.

A while ago, I hopped onto the train fully aware, equipped, and prepared for the usual crowded experience as it were also rush hour. This means, I try my best to make room for more people, who also need to be on time for work like me.

As the train filled quickly, I was standing in the middle of the aisle. Then I noticed a person who, upon entering the doors proceeded to demand quite loudly that we move further down the lane when it was visually evident that there was no more room to move into. “We just have to make do with where we are” I thought.

Finally, as the train moved forward, he quietly stood beside me and proceeded to taking out his mobile phone to play a game. Which was OKAY until it became an inconvenience to everyone.

As the train made stops and the crowd grew bigger, I have observed how this man managed to shake his head each time he was pushed a little by the eager commuters but never did he take off his hands and eyes on his phone, in the middle of a jam packed        situation, right in the moment we needed him the most. LOL!

In short, we all had to carry him! He made his weight fluctuate left and right like a bouncing ball when he could have simply grabbed on any railing available – just as what everyone else was doing.

Finally, when the crowd subsided a little in Ortigas station, this same man had the gall to express his thoughts on his own inconvenience, again loudly for all of us to hear. That’s the time I spoke up to say the truth.

“Kinakarga ka po namin. Next time po humawak kayo sa railing. Wag ka muna mag cellphone.” (Next time, don’t hinge your weight on us. You could have just grabbed onto the railing but instead relied on us to carry you.”)

My words were limited and I wish I could have more time to explain. But it is what it is – as clear as day.

Sorry but it had to be me. I had to say it. Though I was fully prepared to carry him all throughout, walang problema, the lack of mindfulness, selfishness, and self-entitlement was too much that he needed someone to tell him.

I am unsure at first if I did the right thing – because as you know, “blessed are the peacemakers.” I could have held my tongue but I also live by “speaking the truth in love” because we’re all responsible for one another. I couldn’t have let the moment pass. We could learn a thing or two from strangers too.

But one thing I’m sure of is that I, 100% wasn’t looking for any trouble. In fact, I spoke the truth out of the intention to help this guy be a more responsible commuter.

It’s not entirely his fault. I understand we are all wired towards our phones and it could be that he couldn’t help it. But what I wish everyone to realize is that we all have to master an intrinsic kind of way to control our behaviors.

We all need to self-reflect sometimes. It is fairly OKAY to use your mobile phones. There are no LAWS banning that. However, it takes a certain amount of wisdom to become discerning or insightful: “Will I be a bother when I pull out my phone on this crowded place?” 

Again, this shoots off to other aspects of our lives:

“Will I bother other people if I put my music on too loudly?”

“Will I be inconveniencing anyone if I block off the air conditioning unit?”

“Will I cause someone a bad day if I just leave my piece of trash on this table?”

Friends, how many of us tie/hold our hair in place, hug our bags, hold onto the railings, give space for people, give up our seats for the elderly etc. during our public commutes — all for the purpose of being less of a bother to our fellow commuters? (Philippians 2:4)

There are lots of things we could ask OURSELVES so that we could come out on the streets more considerate of others.

In fairness, the man did seem to reflect a little on what I said.

Yes, it’s easy to think about our own sake and how hard it already is for us to ride the train, the jeep, the bus. But a little kindness and mindfulness on the needs of other people will not add to our burden.

If there’s a way we could squeeze in a little more to accommodate everyone’s needs then let’s do it. But it takes CONSCIOUSNESS and awareness first.

Oh please, I am not perfect! Haha. I have also been inconsiderate half of my life. But I am happy that God is slowly revealing things to me. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I still struggle. But I use this blog to share my learning and to come back to it lest I forget in the future.

Ultimately, we pray for the public transportation to finally improve so that no other people be robbed of their peace and personal space during an entirely harmless commute.

Let’s try harder, do better the next time. 🙂

5 Wonders of the Wunder app for Working Moms

At the height between the LTFRB and Grab/Uber clash on whether or not we should regulate these ride-sharing apps entirely, I just want to share my experience on the wonders I’ve had using another form of ridesharing app “Wunder”.

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Compared with Uber and Grab, the Wunder app focuses solely on carpooling with people within your area towards a common destination. The drivers you find here are common working men and women like you and me, who wish to earn tiny bucks by offering space in their own vehicles to compensate for gas.

When finally, I had the guts to try it, I realized that it is another effective, maybe better option that commuting moms could take over rush-hour metro rail transit or buses.

So here are the 5 wonders I’ve experienced from using Wunder:

1. We get to escape the horrifying lines at the MRT

In the many years I’ve treaded the metro, if I were given any other better option than taking a jam-packed train system on the way home, I’d take it. Not only does a suffocating train suck out the remaining energy you have at the end of the day, but it also won’t guarantee an earlier arrival time – especially during times of technical glitches. Lose-lose.

2. We get to leave at an agreed convenient time

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In your Wunder app, you get to input the time you prefer to leave home or the office. The app then sends a quick notification to all available drivers who prefer to leave at the same time you want – so it’s a win-win!

3. We get to arrive at our destination at a reasonable pace and price

Makati to Quezon City is charged for only Php 80. This price is nowhere near your Uber pool or grab pool’s offers – especially during surge hours where the prices get doubled! If you can spare an extra cash just to arrive conveniently to a destination 10 – 20km away, then go for it. And while we still consider the MRT as the fastest form of metro transportation, as it can still cut across EDSA in half an hour, carpooling doesn’t fall far behind in terms of pace. In about 1 – 1.5 hours max, you are guaranteed a safe(r), fast(er) and more convenient transportation option. (Traffic still exists!)

4. We get to be picked up at an agreed, convenient location

In my experience, I no longer need to walk to the jeepney stop (which is several blocks away from work). I simply ask the driver to pick me up at the nearest corner possible and voila! Within mins., I get to board the car.

5. We get to make new friends

Because you meet people from the same area as you live and work, and because you are all squeezed within the confines of a small car, you may be forced to chat with one another until you reach your destination!

But not all the time.

I mean, some people would still prefer to sleep on the way home. But for those who are extra chatty, Wunder may be a great avenue for you to meet new friends along the way.

When issues around the ride-sharing app world finally settle, try downloading the Wunder App to try it out for yourself!

Online Harassers Be Warned: A Facebook Support Group Is Your New Worst Enemy

Growing up as a woman has been such a blessing for me, especially when I never felt belittled by the men I know personally in my life. My classmates and org mates in college were technically my first real guy friends – and they have all been good to me. Even at work, never have I felt that my gender is an issue. Thanks to a power-woman boss, and kind office mates as well. But for the most part, I thank my strong attitude that shows in my stern demeanor, which deflects any form of harassment my way.

But not all girls have the guts (and poker- sometimes bitch-face) like I do. And not everyone is lucky to encounter “good men” in their lives. It’s a totally different story too when women go out on the streets and meet men they do not know.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

I remember when I was 16, I sat in the passenger’s seat of an FX from Sta. Lucia to Antipolo. Being that I lived at Monte Rosas along Sumulong highway that time, all the other passengers had gotten off the vehicle, leaving me alone, beside the driver, and the last to be dropped off. I felt uncomfortable so I faked my stop. But the driver did not want me to get off and offered that he drive me to my house instead. He was even asking personal questions and I was creeped out. Good thing I knew my best friend’s address so I told him that’s where I lived. He did drop me off finally, by the gate of the subdivision thank goodness – after having the guard tell him that NO ID is NO ENTRY for vehicles! But given that that was my first real “harassment” encounter, I got out off the vehicle literally shaking.

Aside from that, constant walks from points A to B on any street in Metro Manila I’ve walked on had me receiving unwanted remarks from men – also called catcalling. “Pa-sipsip naman diyan (during a time when I was casually drinking from a 7-11 Slurpee cup while about to ride a jeep), the howling whistle, to the hatid na kita” remarks. There had been worse.

One time, I got out of the gate of PhilAm village in North EDSA, when a black car drove against traffic, backward, just to talk to me. “Papunta kang Guadalupe?” he asks. I said no and continued walking to SM North. He followed and said “Sabay na kita.” and I was like.. WHAT THE HECK I am NOT interested dude!

When I was already working, but not yet married, I was waiting for a jeep from Gil Puyat bound for the office. An American approached me and casually said something to the likes of “Hi, I think you’re beautiful. Listen, I need a wife…” – and being an older girl with an impatient attitude and much more confidence I yelled “NOT INTERESTED!!!” for everyone else to hear. He shied away.

And though I am not proud of this, I have also engaged in shouting matches with perv drivers who scout my legs each time I get on the jeep. I don’t even mind if people hear me, because I will defend myself no matter what it takes. One time the erring driver even defended himself and said “Bakit ka kasi nagsuot ng palda at dito ka pa umupo?” to which I replied “Pwedeng wag ka nalang magsalita nakakahiya ka.” And he never said a word after that.

Even in the age of Uber, I always give my drivers 5 stars. But some have received 1 star from me for one reason alone, looking at the direction of my “privates” each time I get on the car. With a comment as short asmanyak, I am not afraid to report it to Uber.

You see, not all women will keep quiet when harassed. I do not want to get into fights on the streets. But when people bother me, even as I walk peacefully to wherever I need be, I will not be silent.

HARASSMENT ONLINE + NEW FB SUPPORT

And this is also becoming a trend on Facebook these days – because believe it or not, harassment doesn’t only happen on the streets now but online as well. But if in the past, not all harassment stories make it into the limelight, this time a new Facebook Group called “Catcalled in the Philippines” actively posts and exposes men who never thought they’d be found out – trying to score sex or anything equal from real women in social media.

Just one message to the group’s admin and the erring parties, Hokage Groups or individual perverts – single or married, young or old, will have their own share of the limelight.

AGREE or DISAGREE

Don’t get me wrong, I only followed Catcalled in the Philippines because I can relate to other women’s stories on catcalling and the likes, but there are some things that the group does that I do not fully support. Such as, maybe exposing the full names of young boys. I understand that the group is after “teaching them a lesson” but I believe that some boys don’t know what they’re doing yet. These are the generations that were already born with Facebook, Facetime and advanced social media offerings that use these technologies to date and meet people. I am against humiliating them for the whole world to gang on. However, I am pro exposing them to their parents, their wives, girlfriends, and friends, close community.

If it gets any worse than that, such as maybe threatening to rape someone or exposing pedophilia, I support reporting him or her to the PNP.

Just as any other network or philosophy, there are some things we agree to and some we object to. But in the case of this group, the only good thing that came out is that more women these days are not afraid to speak up. While it’s true that doing something or speaking up in real life could be intimidating, sharing one’s experiences online to a group of men and women who understand you and believes in you is quite liberating.

I have read scary stories – some from women who did not want to be named. You could just shake your head in disbelief knowing that there are experiences such as those. And if sharing it to the group would make women feel less victimized and more empowered, then it’s okay by me.

PROTECT YOURSELF FIRST

Let me just add, there had been stories recently where women complain about having their photos shared in exclusive groups or chats. It just feels ironic each time I check on the online accounts of the complaining women – especially when I find there half-naked photos of themselves, or pictures of them doing suggestive poses. All public – for the whole world to see. I am not victim-blaming, and I surely support selfies (because I do them too) but my job as an online specialist taught me that most SEO companies for instance who need to create multiple accounts online do admit to getting photos of random people worldwide to use. In short, we cannot control how people who may get access to it will use our public information. So be careful what you post online. To be more specific, always think before you post: “Can this photo be used negatively by anyone?”.

Because no matter how seemingly innocent the photo looks to you, online predators will find a way to transform it into a bad material to satisfy their personal fetishes.

CHANGE BEGINS WHILE YOUNG

So in this age, we need to be wiser. As a mom to a boy, I will do whatever it takes to teach him how to become a gentleman. Someone who respects men and women enough not to engage in lewd acts online and offline. Should I be blessed with a baby girl, I will teach her how to defend herself. Train her to be kind – and wary at the same time. I want her to not be afraid and to always realize that whatever experience she encounters, I will always always always believe in her and that she should not be afraid of telling me anything.

Let’s all come together to make this world a better place.