I commute everyday. My parents take me to school every morning, but going back home is me time. I have a lot of options, but I choose to ride the FX going to Cubao.
The route that the FX takes is this: Buendia-Taft-City Hall-Lawton-Quiapo-Morayta-Espana-Rotonda-E. Rodriguez-Cubao. I end my journey at St. Luke’s along E. Rod.
I’ve been doing that for almost 4 years. I’ve been passing by these places, placing them with no regard anymore. I used to be so in love with Manila, thinking maybe someday, I would be able to walk freely with no fear. Then, I just changed. I felt hatred at first, because of all the traffic and garbage I see everywhere. Then, towards the end, I stopped caring. I started traveling again, and finding more and more things to nitpick about my city. I blamed Manila for everything. Why aren’t you like this, why aren’t you more like that, why can’t we have this, why can’t you do that.
I became blinded by my hatred, I became irrational. I blamed a city that is asking the same questions that I asked. It’s not asking itself, it’s asking me. It’s asking us, everyone of us who has ever wished to live somewhere else.
I regarded Manila and its people as one. I forgot that underneath all the dirt and grime, Manila is asking for another chance.
I forgot how much damage people can do to their habitat. Whatever shit is going down, the city reflects it. Manila now reflects how dirty the Filipinos can get just so they can live better than everyone, forgetting the place that gave them their identity. Our city reflects how much money the politicians are not allocating to projects to make it better. It reflects the hatred of the people towards it by showing its bitterness back. Who are we, anyway, to blame Manila? defenseless Manila, with her crusty eyes too sore to cry, her mouth too dry to scream at us. What has she ever done?
I remember that one foreigner who talked smack about Manila. I don’t blame him, he was right about everything but here’s the thing: Manila never stood a chance. With all of her people ruining her reputation before she can even turn her charm on, how could she? What charm can she posses, while all her people ever did is smother their feces on it?
Rich, poor, middle class, whatever class is out there, it doesn’t matter. No one did their part, yet they complain. I’m part of this, of course. I can’t say I wasn’t an asshole to my city.
I’m so sorry, Manila. What am I to do? I voted for people who I thought I can trust, only a few won. No one’s listening to them. No one’s listening to you.
I guess I’m just going to have to love you unconditionally, which is how it’s supposed to be anyway.
Now, let’s all sit back and watch the other politicians care more about pointless things while their city rots around them.