on that side of the world

got a surfer-turned-friend who’s been telling us surprising yet amazing stories about how his work progresses in Smokey Mountain (tondo) and Payatas Dumpsite. he is into film-making (or at least wanna create a film) which would feature the two sites. was most interested how he finds his sleepover experience to a local family. so without much thought, i SMS him and said i wanna join him on his next payatas “adventure”.

as it turned out, we weren’t able to sleep in payatas but we get the chance to spend a day with a family there. sunday morning, we (lil & ram & i) met-up at the mall to have the photos he took to be printed. he wanted to give tokens of appreciation to the people whom he hung out with and helped him a lot whilst he was doing his research. then we left our cars at the parking lot to take the commute instead.

i must admit i have a concern how bad the area smells. i wont mind seeing rubbish all over but once the nasty smell gets into me, i knew i wont be able to control throwing-up. i don’t wanna offend for sure the settlers in the area but my olfactory system would fail me ultimately :-(

so as we pass through from one alley to another i was preparing myself for the waste’ leach smell. but surprisingly even after a heavy pouring, the smell was tolerable and wasn’t even close to a leach.

whilst R was distributing the photos, we get the chance to talk with James’ family (R‘s padrino in the area) and the istambay (Filo slang for standby) at a small sari-sari store.

i saw how these people’s face glowed upon seeing themselves or at least their kids on the photos. one bloke even showed me a photo of his son as he jovially shares that his son will soon start working as a security guard in manila. you’d really sense that he takes pride to his son’s eagerness to work even at a tender age of 18.

we wanted to see a sabong (cockfight) which normally takes place on saturdays and sundays only. however, we weren’t allowed as we were told that they might think we’re from city hall doing some spy jobs as it is an illegal activity (locals place bets as high as P500 to P8000).

how else can a day better be ended but with crazy videoke line-up whilst drinking local beer & brandy. man! where else can you find a 500ml brandy at only about a dollar and a good tasting at that?!!

we were rock stars belting out whitney houston, celine dion, bon jovi and mariah carey hits the whole night. even the skies knew how off key we were but who cares to a heavy pouring when everyone in that small joint (including the neighbors) were enjoying? :-)

we called it a night when i started getting really piss and was afraid of embarrassing myself in front of the locals there. (reminder to myself: never mix gran matador to a red horse it’s always the sh*test combination!)

a day in payatas

was just glad we three safely made it back to the mall. i yakked made quite a scene, but was saved by the downpour :-)

back in my car, i had these thoughts runnin’ in my head:

genuine kindness it is! a warm instant coffee sweetly prepared by Manang (J‘s mum) instantly flushed out alcohol in my head. i now know, coffees regardless if it’s the best beans or not, if it’s served with the best intention, the best aroma would come out naturally.

amazing generosity indeed! they may be one of the poorest family in the city, but they are still willing to share whatever little they have.

guaranteed crazy times. choose the most pop song – sometimes bordering to cheesiest and sappiest – in a videoke machine and it would elicit fun times even from complete strangers.

– instant connection. no matter what social strata you belong, warm friendship blossoms over bottles of beer. you’d get past to the “drunken talk” stage, and you’d be even invited to a debut party of her daughter.

i forgot about the muddy streets…the leach…the heavy pouring…

"... And in that moment, I swear we were infinite."*

i wish to feel the same INFINITY again, soon!

R, L let’s go back there, ok? how bout you, wanna be infinite too? :-)

* – Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wall Flower by Stephen Chbosky

"... And in that moment, I swear we were infinite."


1 Response to “on that side of the world”

  1. 1 lonerunner 2 September, 2009 at 11:33 am


    wow! that was sumthing ah…

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