November 2013 Diaries (3 of 3)
January 18-24 Edition
Jonathan Aquino's Journal
November 20, 2013
6:41 a.m., Wednesday
I just saw a man outside my apartment near Banilad, Cebu as I arrived from work ten minutes ago.
He lay on the gutter, seemingly dead.
There were paramedics who had put a brace on his neck; one was holding aloft an IV solution.
The indifferent yet fascinated crowd boxed them in.
The man fell off his motorcycle, goes the buzz; That much I can understand from the local dialect. Later, the ambulance came.
If it happened in Manila, the man would surely die. In Manila, there are no paramedics, much less ambulance squads except for the one from TV5. I remember almost being arrested when I saw a man dying on the street near the United States Embassy in Manila years back. I told the cop, who was just standing there, to call for help. His reaction was vehement arrogance. I was a lot younger then, a lot more naive about this country's culture.
Since then, I have lost complete trust in authority figures. In Manila, a place where an accident happened is considered the scene of a crime. Therefore, if you try to help an accident victim before the so-called investigators arrive, you will be declared guilty of obstructing justice.
This is what happened to SM Pampanga where two teenage boys died. Even the security guards refused to help because they were enforcing stupid rules. I wrote about that in our November 30, 2011 edition.
The worst thing that could ever happen to me is to see someone I care about suffering. One of my closest friends in the office had an attack of chronic allergic rhinitis as our shift ended at six earlier. I was really worried, not because he was in real danger, but it's just that I can't bear to see my friends suffer.
I'm sorry for what happened to the man outside. But the fact that there are ambulances and paramedics here in Cebu gives me a measure of comfort. For all I know, it might be me who will face a gruesome death tomorrow.
Death seemed eminent lately. Another close office colleague has told me about his 91-year old grandfather who was rushed to the hospital last weekend. While at the intensive care unit, the patient suffered a heart attack. Now on the fourth day of confinement, the condition is still unstable.
"I won't give you empty words, bro," I told him in Tagalog. "Most people, in situations like these, would try to comfort you with God works in mysterious ways' or stuff like that. I'm sure they mean well, but it doesn't help any. There's really nothing I can say."
I'm writing this while on my nightshift lunch break. Earlier, I was watching Ocean's Eleven on cable while having some toge sprouts for dinner.
I was in the office pantry while Danny (George Clooney) and Tess (Julia Roberts) were in the restaurant before Benedict (Andy Garcia) arrived.
"I came back for you," says Danny.
"You're a thief and a liar," Tess tells him. "Why should I believe you?"
"The only thing I lied about is being a thief," he replies, "and I don't do that anymore."
I was able to see the ending of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machine just a few seconds before I had to log in for work at nine.
"Sometimes," says John Connors, after he was smuggled in a coffin, "things happen that we can't change."
Connors is now a young adult. He said that to Katherine Brewster, who, much to his surprise, is set to become his wife.
"You're a mess!" she tells him.
"Well," he shot back, "you're not exactly my type, either!"
He also gets another revelation about his future: the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) would be re-set to kill him.
But there are more urgent things in his mind. They're being stalked by T-X, the invinsible shape -shifting killing machine - and a global nuclear holocaust is about to destroy the whole human race.
Time is running out: just less than three hours to go before the end of the world.
Terminator 3: Rise of The Machine
November 25, 2013
The game was in full swing. People stood watching on all four sides of the basketball court.
I was taking an early evening stroll in my new place near Cebu's business district yesterday. It's a typical middle-class Filipino urban residential area, not a slum nor suburbia. You have here your usual sari-sari (retail variety) stores and carinderia (neighborhood eateries) stalls. There's a lot of those local varieties of sausages and pork innards being grilled on the sidewalk.
I just moved here last Saturday. I wanted a place near where I work, and I got one. It would take me about five minutes to walk. My new place is a small concrete room with white-washed walls, with a bed, a desk, a cabinet and lots of shelves. It seemed perfect for a writer and a bookworm homebody like me. In a flash, it solved two of my most urgent needs -- it's quiet and stays cool in the daytime. The most attractive part is the cheap rent that will help me organize my finances better for my personal projects and future travels.
One of my Cebu buddies, Harvey, helped me in finding it and in moving my stuff. I got the tip to look in that area from one of my office colleagues, R. One time last week, I played hooky during the training downtime. I escaped to one of the pantries on another floor to watch cable movies. R just happens to be there. It was serendipity all the way.
"I have long ago mastered the art of moving," I texted a friend. This is my smoothest house transition so far. I don't need much clothes: I gave most of my decent ones to our office's relief drive for the people in Tacloban. With my immortal black and blue Nike Jordan knapsack on my back, a box-type electric fan on one hand and the other on my pocket, I'm all set.