Sunday, February 16, 2014

Exploring Manila #OFW14

It was the last quarter of the year, 1980, the 5th day of October that we arrived at the port of Manila, Philippines.

As we came down aboard the ship, the feeling of being in Manila gave me hope to survive and fulfilled my dreams. But as we walked in the crowd of different people, saw different faces; we were wondering where to go and where to stay. In our hearts, we can survive believing that someday, luck will resides in our lives.

“Friend, are you the couple…I mean in the ship coming from Bacolod City?” asked a man with his wife and child.

“Yes, what about?” I asked doubting him.

“Where’s your baggage, are you travelling without…I mean bag, pouch or anything?”

“Why are you asking?” I angrily asked.

“You know, sorry about this…I was observing you both and I presumed that you are runaways? Am I right friend?”

I looked at him squarely, thinking that since we were new here and nowhere to go, I had to release my trust with this guy. I thought that maybe, just maybe, he could be my friend like Edward. “Yes, you’re right. Where are you staying? Can we stay for awhile in your house?” I asked him bluntly.

“Okay, I’ll talk to my wife for a minute. Stay here, I’ll be back.”

Ayah heard our conversation; she patted me at the back, and said, “Yes Marc, it’s better to be with him while we don’t know where to go. At least, we can get acquainted with them and the place too.”

He’s back smiling, tagging along his wife and child. “Friend, it’s okay. What’s your name, by the way?”

“I’m Marc and this is my wife, Ayah Isabel. And you?”

“My name is Michael Luna, Mike for short, and my wife Lina.”

“Nice meeting both of you, thank you so much Mike and Lina.”

We walked a few meters away from the port, hailed a taxi cab going to San Francisco, Del Monte in Quezon City. I totally observed the place where I came from, the port, the ships, the passengers and the buildings along the road. Ayah too, was looking outside the taxi cab window.

We arrived at the Luna Family feeling aloof and wandering if this was our new beginning. Michael showed me the way on how to survive in the city through telling stories, and giving valuable information about the people. His wife Lina too, taught Ayah on how to do the house chores, babysitting and cooking.

Two days had passed; we forced ourselves to find jobs at once. It’s morning time when we walked from Pantranco Bus Terminal up to Circle Roundabout, then, to West Avenue. As we searched, I noticed a sign, “Wanted Waiters and Waitresses.” We went inside the establishment, asked about the job opening. The man in-charge seated us along with the four applicants. We filled-up forms and submitted. He called me first; I stood up and we went inside the room. He told me to take off my clothes, then my pants.

“Sir, I’m applying for a job as a waiter, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but also, we are screening applicant through inspecting their naked self, for health purposes. Go on take off your brief…quickly…”

“Sir, sorry….I can’t do that…”

“Why are you so hard to understand? You want the job? Then do it!”The man angrily shouted at me.

I grabbed my clothes, put it on, hurriedly left the room, grasped Ayah’s arm and went away. We stopped under the tree to think something fruitful before our money lasts.

“Marco, love, can we go to Baclaran Church? Lina said, it’s a big church. Come! But we don’t know the direction and we don’t know the fare. We don’t have enough amounts for transportation.”

“Come on, it’s morning time, we have much time to roam around. As usual…walking…”

“Okay love.”

We asked the lady selling cigarettes and candies and told us to ride a jeepney, with Baclaran signboard. We tried to decipher some jeepneys with that signboard but in vain. The more we tried to asked people about Baclaran, the more complicated for us. I decided to come back from where we came from, Pantranco Bus Terminal. We walked again to find solutions the whereabouts of Baclaran Church.

“Okay, come, we ride a jeepney and discover later on,” I ventured to say to Ayah.

"Yes Marco, I’m so happy!”

We stopped a jeepney, seated, asked the driver where the destination was and how much the fare for two. As we travelled, I observed that the passengers were looking at us. We arrived at the front of a church, asked the driver to stop and we came down from the jeepney.

“Ayah, love, I think this is the Baclaran Church. Come quick!”

“But why there are vendors selling those herbs at the sidewalk? Marc, some of them I knew of.”

“Don’t mind that; come let’s go inside the church.” We held our hands together, went inside, made sign of a cross, and kneeled together. Still holding our hands, we prayed solemnly closing our eyes for almost five minutes.

I opened my eyes, moved my hand which Ayah felt by responding it. I whispered to her, “Let’s proceed our wedding vows this way.”

“Ayah, do you love me as I do?” I began to ask her.

“Yes, Marc, I do love you, now and until forever.”

“You promise to me that I am the only one in your heart?”

“Yes, my love, I promise.”

“You promise to me, that we love each other, in sickness and in health, until death do us part?”

“Yes my love, I am yours until death.” I stood up, get a red rose from the Virgin Mary’s flower vase, came back to Ayah and kissed her.

“Now I already kissed the bride.”

“I love you Marco Fernando.”

“I love you Ayah Isabel.”

Still holding our hands together, we went outside the church. I asked one of the sidewalk vendors.

“Is this the Baclaran Church?”

“No sir, Quiapo Church.”

“Then, where’s this Baclaran Church?”

“You have to ride going there, after the bridge, the Luneta Park, over there….” answered the boy.

“Okay, thank you! Bye!” We left at once going to where the boy was pointing. “Ayah, you heard what the boy said, “Luneta Park after the bridge…” This is the bridge now; we have to cross up to the other end.”

“Yes Marc, but I’m afraid…and....look… there’s human waste at the steel structure…yaksss…dirty!!” Ayah screamed.

“Go on walking my love, cover your nose and don’t look that awful thing.”

We walked for a few meters more, more buildings came to our view and continued walking. We didn’t care about other people, if they’re looking at us, or asking to themselves why we were walking all throughout. For all I knew, we were saving our money until I can find a suitable job. We reached the Luneta Park, seated at the bench, observing people who passed by, watching other things that excite us. I knew we were happy for the first time; we touched this park and we roamed around feeling contented.

“Marc, let’s take a rest over there.” Ayah pointing the garden.

“Okay, it’s lovely, green and beautiful to seat.”

We savored the precious moment that God bestowed upon us both; to love each other. We roamed round and round the whole park, knowing each structure in details. We continued walking back to Quiapo Church. We discovered the Manila City Hall, Post Office and Metropolitan Theater.

We continued walking, memorizing the streets from where we came from. We turned right up the underpass, walked again until we saw the University of Santo Thomas, then, the big white church and asked the sidewalk vendors for its name, “Santo Domingo Church,” they said in unison.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A freelance writer who meticulously structured and maintained blogs just for you:A LIFE SO FAR AWAYand my other business blog:SHOPPING eMALL Thank you for your valuable time. Follow my business & writings and you'll find what life's meant to be.

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  1. Notice from the Author: Just click the + sign at the topmost portion of this page, and your comment link will appear here. Thank you.

  2. Ayah and Marc have been through a lot, I hope that their lo=ve will last forever.

  3. It's nice that Ayah and Marco was able to tour Manila and go to the churches as they went to Manila.

  4. Love prevails... I hope that's how this story will end for the lovestruck characters.

  5. Stowing away from home to a place where you've been gone yet is a big challenge. It is like staying in a jungle where you are not certain that some fierce animal is luring somewhere to devour you anytime. These fellows anyway are so daring and they're together to face this kind of life's adventure.

  6. Haha Quiapo Church and Baclaran Church are too far from each other. One must be able to notice quickly that it's not Baclaran Church because there are signs anyway.

  7. So they didn't go to Baclaran. hehehe

  8. It feels really romantic how they explored Manila together.

  9. Will definitely check the next part of the story! Kaabang-abang :)

  10. I wonder where else this story will take the lovers...

  11. Oh a love story, I think there's a lot of obstacles that will come their way. I hope they'll manage to stay together whatever happens.

  12. I hope the couple lands a job soon, that is, before their money runs out, and I hope that their search for work allows them to travel more albeit unintentionally to add to their experience and love story.

  13. I hope they will find a decent job soon.


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