The Selfie’s Counterpart

‘Selfie’ is the most popular term among today’s generation. It mainly focuses on nothing but one’s self. Since this one’s very main stream, making a difference wouldn’t hurt, will it? I ought not to do a ‘selfie’ type of essay, but to turn to the opposite direction. Sometimes, there are things beyond our camera lens. Some things behind our selfie’s that were not captured even captivated.

The morning starts with an alarm, not from my phone, but from someone else’s mouth. “Peste ka!”, the lady shouts while scolding her kids. That was loud enough to open up my eyes and alert my consciousness. I jump right out of my bed, that voice still lingering in my ears while preparing for school. Apparently, I can hear it clearly because the noisy lady is just six feet away from my room’s window. Ready and prepped, I walk to where I can catch a ride for the jeepneys. The transition of the night to the day sky starts. Some people are already awake at that time, most are elderly people. I pass by some chickens as the owner cleans their fences. Brushing debris on that fence was a tough job as it may look. Being careful not to step on those chickens, Sari-sari stores were opening now. There were a lot of things to fix if you have a Sari-sari store. The owner does it every day. As I walk further, I notice people dozing off on their parked jeepneys beside the narrow alleys. I saw the jeepney and waved my hand in a downward motion. Still feeling sleepy, I ride the jeepney going to the LRT (Light Rail Transit) Station. Looking at the people inside the vehicle, I notice that most of them will possibly go to the wet market where the jeepney will pass through. Some are students and employees. The common thing that I always notice from them is that almost all of them have their earphones on, listening to different kinds of music. Sometimes, it’s loud enough to make me hear and jive with what the person beside me is listening to. At the LRT station, Blumentritt, to be more specific, people are rushing and waiting in line to buy tickets. Others, including myself, have stored value tickets to avoid this agony. Bags are always checked by the guards, who at the same time, are always talking about Mayor Erap Estrada’s way of governing the city of Manila. Sometimes, they argue about it, because one is pro-Erap and the other is a leftist. While waiting for the train to come, I can still see people. It looks like they still want more time to sleep. Again, most people have their earphones on. People wearing formal attires, students wearing lanyards with their school’s name and people talking on their cellphones are pretty much a customary sight at the LRT Station. The train comes. Almost every day, the train is so full that when the door opens, people seem to pop out of the train. Some people still dare to force themselves just to get inside even if all you can see is a wall of people standing firmly and unmovable in front of the door. Inside the train, some are wiping their sweat, looking down at their watches and looking pissed, maybe, because of the awfully crowded environment inside. The lucky ones, who are sitting, have the opportunity to take a nap.

As the train progresses station to station, it seems the density of the crowd remains the same. At Gil Puyat station, where I should get off, a lot of people look like they are late for work.  People briskly walk to the exit, but end up in falling in a slow moving line. The real burden is finding an available ‘Guadalupe-signed board’ jeepney. This particular type of jeepney is like a celebrity. Most of these jeepneys that pass through the LRT station are full, and if not, people will literally run after that jeep just to take a ride. If there is an awfully crowded train, jeepneys can have that as well. Most people, probably gone out feeling fresh, is now bathed in their own sweat. Some, eating a hamburger on the way, maybe because they didn’t took breakfast, and some are checking the time. I’ll arrive at school just before the time, but that’s another story.

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon; I’m going home. A similar story repeats, but there’s a difference; a better mood is visible on people’s faces, though some still looks like they carry the world on their backs. That earlier awfully-crowded jeepney is not that congested now. People are more relaxed, in fact, so relaxed that they fall asleep in the jeepney. When the jeep is near the PNR (Philippine National Railways) Buendia Station, two badjaos will ride on the jeep, the younger one will give half envelopes to the passengers, asking for alms, while the older one sits at the back, striking a can with her hands and singing a badjao song. Eventually, no one will give them even a single centavo and they will just jump out of the jeep. I always see an ID hanging just above of the dashboard of the jeep, but the picture in the ID is not the driver itself. As the jeep approaches the LRT station, traffic starts to occur. The road reblocking below the LRT is actually the main cause of it. Below the overpass is where I will start to walk to the LRT. Different kinds of things are being sold beside the side walk. Isaw covered with crunchy batter, Betamax (chicken’s blood), barbecue and freshly cut shawarma are the most common ones. Judging by their smell and looks, it makes my stomach crumble, but I don’t know if that’s clean or not. Entering the Gil Puyat Station, bags are checked again by guards. They actually don’t talk much in this station. The line for tickets is much longer compared to the other station, but the transition is fast. Seeing the same kinds of people, but this time, they are not much in a hurry. The train arrives with just a few passengers compared earlier. Most of the passengers are asleep, and many, are couples that make their affections a public view. They cuddle, hug, and even kiss inside the train itself. They don’t even care about the people around them.

Arriving at Blumentritt Station, almost all that I see are people wishing that they are already home, laying their backs on a comfy couch. The vendors in the market continuously sell at the sidewalk and a never ending arrival of consumers still flood the market at this point. Sky is as bright as what you will expect it to be and as hot as a sunny summer day. Riding a jeepney to home, every person that I see are unique, but they actually have similarities. All have their own way of living, but have the same type of environment that they live in. Comparing them makes me wonder. It’s like making myself think out of the box and look at a portrait of people around me; connecting them to each other. I arrive home.  Tired and sleepy, I take a nap, wake up, do my assignments and sleep again. The cycle goes over and over again as another day starts.

Acuzar, Rico Raven


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