Illustrations by Trisha Carpena
Miley Cyrus’ song “The Climb” has never sounded more true than when you’re actually climbing. It's my climbing jam, along with a few One Direction songs in my playlist. Now while Miley's song can be interpreted overcoming an obstacle in life or a journey but to me, the song is about literally climbing a mountain and here are my stories.
Just recently I climbed Mt. Tibig and going up, it was really steep early on which made it even more tiring to climb up the rest of the way. Somewhere along the halfway point, there was a clearing and our guide pointed out the summit and I thought, "oh my god, I'm gonna die. That's too far. I'm never going to make it there alive" But guess what? An hour later, I made it. Every climb I do, I've heard myself go: "I can't do this" "I think I'm dying" "I can't believe I agreed to do this. Again."
Now I'm not saying I'm a pro or anything like that because I'm not. My first climb was Mt. Pinatubo in 2009. Back then I didn't know the extent of what we were going to do. I thought it would be an easy climb. It wasn't. My next climb after that was February of this year. Even now, 5 years later, no climb is an easy climb. My only form of exercise is going up and down the stairs in my house to eat my meals. But you don't need to be fit to climb a mountain. My dad always tells me whenever we climb, "it's all in the mind." If you think in your mind that you'll make it, you will.
The Philippines is full of places to explore if you know what you're looking for. This year, my cousins and I promised ourselves we'd climb one mountain every month. And so far, we've stayed true to that promise. Before our climbs, we research mountains we'd want to go to and plan our trip going there. Usually our climbs would be 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on a mountain's difficulty and since we're beginners, we take mountains that are at most 4/10. (Find out more at www.pinoymountaineer.com)
The most rewarding and my favorite thing about mountain climbing for me is seeing the view at the summit. I usually take a minute to rest after reaching the summit and just take in the view in front of me. I always get awed by nature’s beauty. I’d think that just because I’d be climbing a mountain in the same area of another one, the view would be different but no, they’re not. It’s always different to me. Each mountain has its own quirks like one would have this amazing view of a lake or another I’d see a mountain range going as far my eyes can see. I love feeling like I’ve gone into a different world where nothing about the real world bothers me just like how I feel whenever I read my books. I'm unplugged, just me and the trees and the view around.
Peace out and keep the faith.
- Ana Matti
Illustrations by Trisha Carpena
It's possible that you might think that the place you live in seems boring or unoriginal; there might be many other places like it but don’t forget that your town does have its thang; it’s unique in its own way. It depends on the way you perceive and appreciate it though, and how you recognize its virtues.
I live in the capital of Spain, my house is in the outskirts of Madrid but I consider myself to live in the city as well.
Firstly, my hometown is serene, not to be confused with quiet. When you live in a small town you need to know where to go, when to go, and with whom to go. That's exactly what makes a town enjoyable: the corners where you make memories and what will make you nostalgic about it when you take off. I’m especially drawn to the more verdant refuges in my hometown; we are surrounded by parks. Some of my best memories are just taking walks and spending time sitting on the grass with friends, pulling out grass unconsciously as we go through what's been going on in town.
Night life is spent in parks and squares as well. In my town they're set at the center, walking distance from houses but far enough from them so that people can bring their cars and blast music. The rest of entertainment is created by you and your friends.
As always, the mall is a center of entertainment as well: movies, cheap places to eat, and stores, you know how it goes.
What I also like about the place I live in is that it's pretty close to the city. If I feel like I need more buzz, I’m just an hour away from downtown! Now that's something I love. Madrid is a cosmopolitan; I’d like to think of it as a Spanish version of New York. I love the culture, so many nooks and crannies with great ambiance in which you can have some drinks or just people watch.
Everything is nearby; you turn around, great shops, turn around again, great bars and cafés, just turn around once more and find great cinemas, museums, clubs, you name it. The best part about discovering these small places is that you support the local businesses which in turn promote the formation of an even stronger character.
Here's a quick overview of Madrid's most popular and visit-worthy districts:
Chueca: LGBT district, hip bars, individualistic fashion
Malasaña, Lavapies, La Latina, Arguelles: bares, garitos, music, art.
Barr. Salamanca, Serrano: luxurious, high class fashion and night life.
Madrid centro: tourism, classics, multicultural, art and museums, the original Castilian gastronomy like the churros con chocolate.
You'll always fit in Madrid, there's a district for each personality type! However, regardless of the wide range of offers, a city will only be satisfying if the ambiance is good, and that depends on the locals. Our personality is lively and individualistic. The youth is politically active against adversity, which doesn't change how humorous and fun loving we are. You'll find anything in this exciting city, so be prepared to be amazed!
Your hometown doesn't have to be exotic and glamorous; it's actually quite rare that it's either of them. But if it is, then you better make sure that you make use of it and enjoy.
words and photos by Laura Alonso
As an emerging artist in the Philippines, Patricia "Patti" Ramos continues to use visual art and spoken word as a platform for promoting nationalism and feminism. Check out our exclusive interview with her and a video of her spoken word piece, Stone.
How did you get into art and spoken word?
I got into the visual arts a very long time ago; I'd been obsessed with illustration and animation since I was a kid. I discovered art styles that appealed to me and I took inspiration from them until I came up with a style of my own.
My family encouraged me to read voraciously so I guess that's where my love for really beautiful art comes in. It also inspired me to write, but I didn't know about spoken word until I first participated in open mics and later, developed my poetry. I've always wanted to be a performer and connect with a live audience but I didn't know how to sing or act or play any music. So, spoken word is the next best thing!
Who are your influences and inspiration?
My list of visual influences changes and updates constantly mainly because I find someone new to take inspiration from or call my "art god" whenever I feel that their style fits my aesthetic or how I want my own art to look like. My heroes in the visual arts include Tony DiTerlizzi, Brett Helquist, Mary GranPre, Arnold Arre, Elbert Or, Em Carroll, Mike Mignola, Albert Gamos, Glen Keane, James Baxter, Bruce Timm, and so many others.
As for spoken word, Sarah Kay exposed me to the whole scene, but I also love the work of Jesse Parent, Taylor Mali, Clementine von Radics, Gypsee Yo, local groups such as Words Anonymous, White Wall Poetry, and KM64, and a lot of others whose work I stumble upon online.
Do you think it's important for art and spoken word to be a medium for nationalism/feminism? If yes, why?
Yes, I do! Art always has the potential to hold all kinds of meaning and to be revolutionary, subversive, and political. Viewers take one glance at art and immediately they'll start to feel things without even noticing or having to process too deeply yet. There's a possibility that when something catches their eye, they'll want to learn more about it, so I do think visual art is a very effective vessel not just for nationalism and feminism, but also for human rights in general and all their respective branches.
Modern spoken word sprung out of North America from the African-American civil rights movement and up to now is a platform not just for "hugot" or love poems but also for speaking out on social issues.
I do believe it's important that artists and poets look beyond themselves and how only they feel so they could use their skills and media for higher causes and hopefully benefit other people.
What can you say about the art scene in the Philippines? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
I find that the art scene in the Philippines is pretty solid from where I'm seeing it. In every medium there's a local artist with their signature style, whether it's visual arts or performing arts or literature or music, or even fusions of any of them. We Filipinos are constantly told that we're a talented people and I agree.
On weaknesses, I find that some traditional Filipinos have a stigma about the arts because we get hung up on the salary aspect of careers to see that art really is everywhere - some people just get stuck on a specific definition of "art" to notice.
You have an interest in making pieces set in a historical background, precolonial and colonial times. What can you say about the evolution of the Filipino ideals on feminism through time? What can you say about feminism here at present?
I believe that the Philippines, historically, has always possessed a feminist culture. Even though male datus were the head of the village, women (whether cisgender or transgender) played vital roles in their society too and were treated with about the same amount of respect as the men. We even have a hermaphrodite goddess. Look up Lakampati! Filipinos used to be so much more open with sexuality and equality until the colonizers mandated our actions according to their beliefs. Today, our society is extremely conservative and views sexuality as something immoral or to be ashamed of, and that women should conform to a certain modest, conservative attitude while at the same time condoning their hypersexuality and objectification. We're still a long way from moving on from these traditional, patriarchal attitudes, but hopefully with the emergence of the internet and of women's rights groups, Filipinos are opening up to all these "new" ideas and ways of thinking.
What about our Filipino Pride? From most scenarios we've seen it becomes a double edged sword. Do you agree or disagree?
Haha, I agree! I find Filipino Pride misplaced at times... I don't know where this whole phenomenon even came from. Sometimes it's a weird mix of crab mentality and cynicism, then a kind of zealous fanaticism and imposed affinity when someone of Filipino blood achieves celebrity. I wish everyone were more supportive of one another from the start and not be fixated on the definition of "success" as fame, wealth, and the approval of foreign white folks, instead focusing on the real roots of the poverty and hardship they think that this "success" will bring.
How often do you perform spoken word? If often, do you still get stage fright? What do you do to calm yourself down?
I perform spoken word when I'm invited, if it's for an organization I'm in known as Mga Apo ni Lola Basyang (check them out here), or when there's an open mic event and I have the chance to borrow the stage. My stage fright stems from my fears of forgetting my piece, embarrassing myself, or making myself look obnoxious or mean. I just try to be as laid-back as possible during the performance and imagine that everyone in the audience is a close friend. I think I also cope by awkardly rambling out my introductions.
What advice can you give to budding artists and performers?
A lot, heh. Have fun with what you do. Don't forget why you started getting into the arts and started performing in the first place. Don't stop doing what you're doing, don't be ashamed of sharing your work. It's okay to feel afraid of being judged, but don't let the opinions of others get to you if all you want to do is share your ideas with the world - there are always going to be people who won't agree with you, but there's usually people who will agree with and encourage you. And if there aren't any, that's okay too. Just don't stop improving and honing your skills, because there's always a better version of yourself. :D *two thumbs up*
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS
What's the song you sing in the shower the most?
Usually Broadway songs or Sia songs! Sometimes I even rehearse spoken word in the shower so I can memorize them, hahaha.
If you were a pizza topping, what would you be?
I'd say barbecue chicken because it's my favorite, and not a lot of people I know order it much.
Shrek or minions?
Shrek. I like the story and ideas better!
What's your favorite Ice cream flavor?
Green tea! Or vanilla.
How do you like your potatoes?
Mashed, fried, or rosti a.k.a. latke a.k.a. hashbrown/pancake! I'm not picky. :P
Below is a video of her short spoken word piece, Stone.
- Anna Cayco
In today's world, we are all witnessing various changes; from the people, to the technology, to the trends, to language. Language is one of the things that continuously evolves and changes. There are so many new words and phrases being created every day that help in shaping people and in turn, nations, and this is why knowing and appreciating the mother tongue or mother language is still very much important in our modern world.
Mother language is the native language of a person. We can say that this is the first language a person has ever spoken since birth through childhood. Some would ask, "what's the point of speaking ancient, isn't that a little too primitive in our advancing community?" -- Hey guess what? Speaking your mother tongue is actually preserving your culture. Don't you want to take pride in your culture, in your country that you originated in? It's true that we're forgetting all about the archaic times due to advancing technology. Helluvalotta words are also coined and formed as time goes by. We can't help it. Change is inevitable.
But despite all of that, we should always bear in mind that mother language is a beautiful thing. It is language. It has melody, color, history, family, religion, culture and identity. It is a precious treasure all of us should keep. It is an asset that makes you a unique and special individual. So, may it be Iloko, Mandarin, Tagalog, Welsh, Kapampangan, or some other beautiful languages out there, we should all respect and appreciate everything equally. Quoting from Nelson Mandela, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."
- Fretzy Bernardo
SOURCES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
click the photo for the link
You’re always talking about escaping, aren’t you? Always thinking about it. Always dreaming about it… It’s addicting, isn’t it?
I love Hong Kong. It’s my hometown. It’s where I was born and raised and grew up in. I’ve learned so many things—the good and bad, and it’s where all my dearest and favorite people are--but at the same time, I also dream of wanting to escape and just move and settle in another city where nobody knows me, where I can start over and truly be myself and experience a whole new world. I guess it’s also safe to say that I’m speaking for perhaps almost half of the population of young girls like me.
I have dreams of working for the New York Times or Teen Vogue, travelling around the city that dreams and never sleeps, visiting the Empire State Building and Central Park, getting lost in the streets of Manhattan, sitting down in a coffee shop with a journal and a pen in hand and then striking captivating and enthralling conversations with strangers that you meet—I long for these as an escape from the bustling, chaotic environment that I’m currently in. But I guess the biggest reason for why I desire a need to escape from my hometown is partly because of my passion—which is to become a writer and NYC just seems to be the perfect destination seeing as though it really is the city where “all things can happen”. It may take me a while to accomplish what I want to be doing or I may be stuck doing a different job but I know that I just want to become a writer and write books for a living and work for magazines and read classic books to my future children.
Though you know what? As I’m writing this, as cheesy as it sounds, I realize how lucky I am to be surrounded by my family, a few of my friends, and a special best friend whom I feel so, so grateful to have right now. Plus, Hong Kong literally has everything—from the breathing-taking views of Victoria Harbour and The Peak, to the most tasty and authentic Chinese local street food like Cheong Fan and Siu Mai, to the enticing shopping malls.
I don’t know what the future will hold but as the famous quote goes: “you can’t change where you come from, but you can change where you go from here”. So maybe staying local ain’t that bad, you know? It’s all about what you do to get to the direction you want to be in by taking small steps. I think that people dream of escaping so much to the point where they start to develop a gloomy, pessimistic world within their hometown and completely forget how to look at the brighter side of things and that's where the problem starts.
words and photos by Ella Ho
Ever since we were children, we are brought up being taught to be proud of our heritage, our bloodline, and our country. There is nothing wrong about that. In fact, it’s a great thing to be proud of our nation, our people. Being Filipino is truly something great but having said that, being Filipino isn’t everything.
Why am I saying this? Think about all the times a Filipino or even a partial Filipino has excelled internationally. From Manny Pacquiao, Jessica Sanchez, to Charice Pempengco, to Shay Mitchell, and Vanessa Hudgens, think back and observe why they are so admired by our countrymen. Is it because of their talents? Is it because of their achievements? No, it’s because they’re Filipino and we begin to proclaim to the heavens that this person is Filipino.
Look no further than our own headlines. “Filipino has been awarded with this,” “Filipino performs well at this,” “Proves to the world Filipinos can achieve this and that,” Check out the latest comments on a Filipino’s Youtube videos. They’ll always say “She/ he is Filipino,” “She/he is partly Filipino,” “I’m proud of her because she’s Filipino,” “Filipinos are so talented and amazing,” That’s where I believe our greatest fault in Filipino pride is; we’re proud of them for all the wrong reasons.
We’re proud of them because of where they come from, not what they have worked on. Worse, we pride ourselves in their achievements. Just because this person has achieved greatness, doesn’t mean you have as well just because our country’s bloodline runs through their veins. Just because they can sing well doesn’t mean every Filipino can. Just because they have been awarded greatly in Science doesn’t mean that you’ll excel in the sciences as well. Just because their looks are being admired greatly doesn’t mean yours will be as well. I’m not saying that Filipinos are not capable of excellence because we are. I’m not telling you as well to not be supportive of a fellow Filipino who has excelled. What I’m trying to say is your blood and your heritage can never truly and solely define who you are.
Yes, we should be proud of our fellow countrymen but we should praise them for all the right reasons. We should praise them for their hard work. We should praise them because they are talented all on their own. We should praise them for their OWN achievement because one person can’t define a whole nation. Just like when someone has done wrong, it doesn’t automatically mean a whole nation is filled with a bunch of washed up losers as well. If you’re saying that one person can define what a nation is then let me ask you these questions: are you still going to be proud you’re a Filipino if one of us has murdered an innocent person? Are you still going to broadcast to the world you’re a Filipino when a fellow countryman has smuggled drugs? Are you still going to defend a Filipino who has been shamed abroad for making a stupid mistake? Are you still going to say you’re a Filipino when someone whose blood runs through your veins is someone who has failed to achieve excellence? When this happens, we are ashamed of the person not our nation. Then we go on to proclaiming how special our country is and how amazing it is. We dismiss what we are ashamed of and pretend like it never happened. We can’t highlight the good and dismiss the bad of a country. There is good and bad in everything that is real.
Being a real country means that you’re not perfect. You’re not always amazing. You’re prone to mistakes and downfalls. You can’t always be proud of a nation because it has its downfalls as well and sometimes it’s doesn't feel good to be part of a nation. Sometimes, it becomes something to be ashamed of, and that’s okay. Being Filipino means you have the blood of a nation who has achieved the highest of victories and managed to reach below rock bottom at times. Being Filipino and at its core, being human, means having both pride and shame. That’s just life.
So instead of just being proud you’re a Filipino because of what others have achieved, prove that you are also worth the amount of love and support a whole country can give to you. Stop basking in other people’s achievements and make your own. You are part of a great country that is great because of the people who achieved that magnificence through their own hard work. It was not just their bloodline or citizenship that made them amazing, it was their own sweat and tears. It can’t only be one person striving to be amazing. Building a great nation starts with you. So get working and start inspiring your nation to be greater than it is today.
- Danielle Bernabe
illustration by Frances Seno
The Philippines is a country that has been colonized one too many times. It started off with the Spaniards, then we were sold us off to the USA, and then we were invaded again by the Japanese. During their stay, we were tortured, raped, ransacked, and more. It strikes me as odd that after all of that, we still admire them. Worse, we aspire to be them. Women everywhere are trying to get their own “milky white complexion.” Whenever you see the word “imported”, we instantly think that it is better than what our own country can produce. Granted, there are imported products whose quality is better than ours but that does not mean that we should think they are superior to any of us.
This is where colonial mentality and xenocentrism enter the game. Colonial Mentality and Xenocentrism boil down to us thinking that other cultures are better than our own. It’s shocking really that we are able to do this to ourselves. Have these countries exploited us to the point of thinking that we are inferior to them? Why have we given these countries every reason to think that they are superior to us? Legally, we may be called a free nation but in the hearts of the Filipino people, we still consider ourselves a colony; we are still prisoners of colonial mentality or xenocentrism.
Questions abound. Why do we allow ourselves to think that way? Why do we aspire to be like these people instead of being proud of our own culture, our own race? Why can’t we be truly Pinoy? These are the questions that boggle our minds when it comes to this topic. But I would like to believe that we are asking ourselves and everyone around us the wrong questions. The real question we should be asking ourselves is this: Who are the Filipino people? This is the fundamental question of the whole mess of our country’s xenocetrism. We have been a slave of colonialism for so long that we have lost our own original identity. Whatever culture we consider our own has already been branded with the word “imported” and yet we don’t even realize it. Sure, we have a few ethnic tribes left and the initial muslim culture has been part of our nation since the beginning but the majority of the nation is a mix of all other ethnicities. Our language itself is a mess of English, Spanish, and the Philippine Dialects. The religion most Filipinos practice stems from its Spanish roots. Our jeeps originated from old American army vehicles. The national food that we eat today always has a hint of either Spanish or Chinese in them. In short, the whole country is one big halo-halo. It’s a mix of everything. We are one hell of a mess and I think this is what answers the question who are the Filipino people.
We are the NEW Filipino, a breed of people who have learned how to flexibly adapt to the changes society challenges us with, and we continuously do so everyday. The people may not be original but at the end of the day, there is very little in this world that is original to begin with. In fact, we must admire our country for being able to survive because of our own adaptation. The only problem I gleam with this is exactly what we choose to admire from other countries and adapt into our culture. We must choose wisely as to what is relevant for our country’s success. For example, our admiration for the white skin complexion. This is what I find rather ironic really. A lot of Filipinos dream of having the westerner's white complexion while they themselves want to have our own tan skin. Skin color is one thing we should be able to live with without having to fuss over it. We were born with our own skin color for a reason, so be thankful and take care of what the universe decided to give to you. Other cultures also have flaws in them, they’re not perfect. This is why we must create our OWN identity instead of just being a total copycat. We must strive to create the right mix of good and bad for our nation. At the end of the day being born with the Filipino blood is an important thing, but more importantly, we are the people who are resilient even after everything life decides to throw at us. That is why we should not think anyone is superior to us. Being Filipino is something to be greatly proud of however young we are as an independent nation.
- Danielle Bernabe
illustration by Anna Marcelo
We’ve all had our fair share of reading or knowing about people living somewhere far from the city or even country they were born in; such as how they cope with being homesick, how they make new friends, and how they deal with long distance relationships. In a certain way, you get to know what it’s like to pack up your belongings and leave everything behind indefinitely. That is, from their perspective; but what about from the perspective of those who were left behind?
Through the years, I’ve formed friendships with a lot of special people. These are the ones that I felt really close to and that I truly cared about. They all come from different backgrounds yet somehow they all have one thing in common: they eventually move somewhere else. It doesn’t matter if they moved to another school or city or country. Every person I treated as a really close friend (and an almost best friend) always coincidentally left me in the past. Of course it had nothing to do with me, but it is weird that it has always happened.
However, I did move on eventually. Some of them I’ve lost contact with completely. I guess I’ve found better friendships to care about every time. But, what if you’ve found the best friendship ever and they ultimately decide to move to the other side of the world?
I met my best friend in sixth grade when we sat next to each other in class. I soon found out she was as obsessed with the Jonas Brothers as I was; and that’s when our whole friendship started. We spent a lot of time getting to know each other everyday in school and we realized we have a lot of things in common. That subsequently led us to establishing the fact that we’re going to be best friends forever. Before graduating elementary school, I found out that she’s possibly moving to California soon. Just like any other friend who bore me that same kind of news, I cried. Maybe not in front of her, but I cried. A lot. Even if I’ve gone through this several times before, it still doesn’t change the fact that it saddens me every time.
Fortunately, her moving was delayed for about two years. Unfortunately, I took it for granted. That is the thing I regret about our friendship the most. I started becoming busy because of high school and whatnot, but I admit, I had several chances of spending time with her. I just didn’t prioritized it enough. It was the first time I actually brought a friend to the airport so that she could leave the country possibly forever and it overwhelmed me so much. I somehow realized that I’m always the one being left and I’m never the one leaving. I don’t know which one’s worse but at the time, I felt like I had it really bad. When she finally left, I was a complete mess for a period of time.
I remember coming home from the airport and my mom asking what happened. I just ran straight to my room and locked the door so I could cry myself to sleep. I had school the next day and I didn’t even bother to shower before class. I was still in the sweater I wore to the airport.
I didn’t talk to anyone for a while and I preferred to be alone most of the time. My parents started worrying about me and they tried to make conversation for the most part, but I always ended up giving one word answers under my breath. I couldn’t even look anyone in the eye. My best friend and I did talk online, but it still wasn’t the same. Especially when you live in different time zones, it’s not that easy maintaining a long and straight conversation because eventually one of you has to go to bed.
It’s also hard not being jealous of your best friend who’s living in another country. Just thinking about the amount of cute boys she could encounter made me envious (petty, I know). Not only that, but I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to live somewhere else other than my own country. I sadly wasn’t the one who got to live that dream.
Just like previous times, I moved on.
But not “moved on” in a sense that I found a new best friend, but in a sense that I finally accepted it because both of us know that we’ll still remain best friends even if we’re far apart. Maintaining a (platonic) long distance relationship isn’t that hard when both of you know and understand that you don’t need to talk everyday to keep the “best friends forever” status healthy and alive. I used to feel the need to talk to her everyday just to keep up with everything that’s happening to her, but I realized that both of us needed to give each other time and let the other talk only when they can or want to.
I’m not going to tell you how to maintain a long distance friendship because no two friendships are the same but of course, you need to put a certain amount of effort. I won’t give you tips on what to do to stay in touch because those things are solely up to your discretion. I will, however, tell you that when you find that one true best friend, you’re not going to worry about the amount of distance between you two. Friendships are not about how physically close you can get to someone, they’re about the love and care you feel for that person even when you’re miles apart.
And don’t worry if you’ve never felt like that towards someone just yet. Sometimes the best people you will ever meet can enter your life by surprise.
- Reign Gonzales
Being a President looks hard enough as it is. Whether you became a president of your own class, a club or for instance, the student body, you have to come up with your own rules and stand by them. A president of an entire country is another story and if I were the president, I already have a few ideas for them:
We’ve always been told in school that Filipinos are smart, inventive, hard-working and determined but one of the main problems is our government and the people behind it. We’ve heard the stories that there are Filipino inventors who ask funds from the government and failed, so they sold their inventions to other countries. Most of the time, people would only go and blame other people but we all know that wouldn’t do anything to help the situation. We sometimes automatically admonish the chance for our government to be amazing and even want to count ourselves out of the conversation to declare that our government “sucks” or “there’s no hope for us”.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
The overused quote by Mahatma Gandhi are only words until you make them out to be real and actually do it. I’m sixteen going on seventeen and I know that I’m naive but I think it’s time to do proper work and be particularly hopeful for the new era of presidency.
- Danzelle Collantes
illustrations by Eliza Espino
click photo for source
Back in October 2014, my good friend and I rushed all the way to the opening of one of the biggest retail stores worldwide. It was the last day of our first semester and we wanted to do something fun - we went shopping. From school, we took two crowded trains just to reach the mall in time. After our little fun, we decided to take a cab back to our dorm. We did the usual protocol: call our parents/friends and tell them all the details about the cab (name, plate number, contact number). After putting the phone down, the cab driver thought it would be funny to proclaim himself as a hold-upper. Now, who in their right mind would think it would be completely hilarious to joke about being a criminal to two young women, late at night? Ever since, I vowed to never take another cab unless I’m with my brothers.
Transportation problems are the worst. I usually have to ask my friend if I could hitch a ride with her whenever we’d go out because no one else could drive me, and my mom is very uneasy about the thought of me riding a cab by myself. There are so many crimes involving taxis and I’d rather be safe than sorry. So, when Uber, an app-based, ride-hailing transportation service, emerged in Metro Manila, I was quick to try it out.
With a simple tap on my smartphone, I was paired with a driver within the vicinity of my location. What's great is that the details of the driver such as his name and contact number, and the car model and plate number are all available in an instant so you could message all those to a friend or relative. While waiting for your car to arrive, using your Uber app, you could track its location and the approximate time it would reach you. Soon enough, the driver contacts you when he's already at your pinned location.
Most of the regular taxi drivers haggle for the payment. Even if the meter reads P200, he’ll ask for P300 because it was too traffic/it was so far/your drop-off was so out of the way from where he wanted to go/etc. He’ll create so many excuses just so you could add an unreasonable amount on top of what the meter read. With Uber, there’s no negotiation involved. Heck, you don’t even have to bring out money! Once you register for an Uber account, it requires you to register your credit card, so after every ride, they just charge you and send you an e-receipt via your email address. They’ll show you the breakdown of the payment as well so you know you’re not being fooled.
Of course, taxi companies are having an uproar because they’re starting to lose passengers, all thanks to Uber. Uber cars are required to be not over 7 years old and I can guarantee that their vehicles are always so clean and drivers so courteous. Some even get out of the car to open the door for you. They even let you control the radio and A/C level. Do regular cabs do that? Hell no.
Personally, I do not understand why some people are pushing to ban Uber in Manila. If they want us to keep riding their cabs, then please do provide us with the clean, safe, and reliable service that Uber has already offered.
- Daniela Regis
illustrations by Kim Alivia
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