Captain's log, stardate: August8th2014, P.Tuazon, Project 4 Quezon City Metro Manila.
Yesterday August 7th2013 is our last day at Isis international hostel around Matalino st. area. We woke up early in the morning around 6am, pack up all the stuff and get ready to leave. After breakfast, we're outside with all the heavy load and with my giant slab-pyramid-brick size luggage. Walk out to the main street and manage catch a big van type taxi, he drove us back infront of Isis, we're ask them to wait for us, we run inside the hostel and went back outside and find the van taxi disappeared. Its because of the construction side infront of the hostel that makes the taxi cant stop there because of the tricycles go in and out often in that area. Pissed and then calm down, manages to catch the normal car taxi and he's ok with our heavy load, and went straight to the BKK hostel without any fuss.
I agree to follow Riza to catch a cab together straight to Makati, went to our separate room, throw our heavy loads, i manage to speed-pack for one night stay over at Kate's place tonight. Off we go. Stuck in traffic because its still morning rush-hour. Jump out at the next MRT station to Makati. Reach there and eat lunch at some Italian's cafe, some green looking spaghetti with olive oil and some neatly sliced bread + mango juice, while Riza meeting her acquaintance. Then we separated.
i plan to meet Eva at the Valentine Willie's gallery in Manila called Manila Contemporary but the big building that house the gallery is called Whitespace , sms her and get directions. Jump into a cab and go. While in the cab the driver tried to strike a conversation, like asking where i'm from and stuff. Too much question from cab driver can destroy your cover, that youre not local, previously i can blend in well, people here talk to me in tagalog all the time, i just nod my head and say hmmf, hmmf but 2,3 questions and that's it, i response in English and you're not local anymore which open to opportunities of being ripped off especially by the cab driver like my first experience taking cab from the airport to the hostel. After some getting lost and found the location, i blew 200 pesos.
Met Eva and Valentine Willy and chat a bit here and there. Eva have to leave for KL tonight so she has to settle some stuff and can't hang out or chill that long, i manage to grab a nap in the gallery for a bit. Then my next destination from that area Pasong Tamo extension, i have to go to Kate's house which is at Park Homes around PACITA. Eva manage to get her colleague Chris who used to be a local cab driver and help me to get the direction to Kate's home. Chris thought i'm local and keep talking to me in tagalog as well, i really enjoy it you know, i wish there's a subtitle underneath my sight, until i give up and told him i'm Malaysian. He apologize and help me with the direction. Stop a cab for me and he guide the cab for a bit along the way to Passay road, direction to South Bound (this moment and some few other moments of other surroundings here in Philippines always reminded me or gave me the impression of Mexico eventhough i've never been there, probably the Spanish language used everywhere+Jeepneys art). The bus stop have this huge mural, like a fine art mural, not sure what is it for. Bus came, hop on the bus, and cover blew up again when conductor ask questions,i just repeat Park Homes a dozen times, i don't even know how much is the ticket, but i think he took the fare into his own pocket, he didn't even gave me the tickets. Manage to ask an auntie where to stop couple of times i ask her so i won't miss the stop. Got down safely and took the tricycles into Park Homes and Kate's infront of her house welcoming me.
She has a very nice home. Reminded me of a Japanese home. 3 stories but the dimension is a bit small. She have a cat name Erica which just gave birth to 3 kittens but 1 died yesterday. During chit chating there were few local trans dropping by, i suppose its her anak ayam. We talk and exchange stories just like i met Dindi's anak ayam/community before. Then off we go to another district for their trans beauty pageant, which Kate was invited to become the judge.
So this is my first time sitting in a local people's car in the Philippines. It was a smooth ride,on the highway and then enter a district if im not mistaken called Barangay Sukat. Then we're led to a small road that look like they're preparing for a fiesta and we went down at this small stage where they're preparing for the event. It look like a big event here in this small town, everyone's waiting for the girls to come out. It reminded me of my hometown during the early 80s where there's always funfair around town and there's a show called paperdolls where the trans sisters will show their beauty to the public, its like a beauty pageant but for smaller town folks. I guess paperdoll shows disappear when the fatwa came out during the 80s and the government owned media becoming more and more transphobic.
After dinner, i was shocked when they force me to become judge as well, i laugh so loud inside because i've never expected this at all, nevah! but i was laughing hard inside im not sure why because it was a long day today since i woke up around 6 am to move to a new place this morning and the night's ending is like amazing. To watch this in a small town and the people the community here are so supporting and work together for the event, they were all cheering up and participating the event. There were slight misused of words to portray the transwomen but they can always learn and i was really surprise at all these girls how good their English were because some of them taking or graduating in the mass communication and they are like 21,20, 20 something years old. I am really proud of them, a country of struggling people, massive labour exporter and they're really open to learn about anything to excel.
Later that night we left around 1am, if there are extreme word to describe fucking tired, that's how i feel the whole night from the long journey that starts early. The best part also we left the event in an ambulance, people from the community send some of the people out of the district back home so me and Kate took the ambulance back home, i was joking lite-lite "So which hospital we're going" and they lols, sometimes the driver press the siren to inform the people on the streets to make ways for us, or make way for the Queen Kate, but actually the driver drive quite slowly despite the urgency of the ambulane blue red lights. Then we walk back to Kate's house, the night was full of stars so pretty. After reach home we talk and talk of Kate's life experience comparing here Philippines and Japan. She was there for almost 10 years and have a boyfriend there, i forgot to ask what happen to him, he's good looking, like Bruce Lee. Then we're decided to sleep finally around 3am.
This morning i woke up around 11 and Kate's around 2pm, she made for me an instant noodle breakfast and a coffee and we continue chatting. Then i heard she mention that she's taking class on Photoshop software and i offer myself to teach her and doing that for about an hour before i left her place around 5, she accompanied me to the main street and wave a bus to Ayala. The bus can go further to Cubao station but i think it will reach Cubao for another hundred years so we think since its rush hour its best stop at Ayala and take the MRT back to Cubao.
The bus that i'm riding on had an accident with another bus just 500 meters aways from Ayala station, few people rushing down the bus and i was quite scared because of the driver was cursing at the other bus driver for his broken side mirror, i asked an auntie beside me again if that's Ayala station ahead of us, she said yes and i hesitantly walk down and ask the conductor on the street again, to make sure i don't just get down in nowhere. I walk rapidly towards Ayala station thinking of the rush hour madness while looking back from the station, the buses was still there not moving in the middle of the road, while other buses taking over, the smoke from all this vehicles was quite bad.
The think about travelling in Philippines, to travel from North to South and the other way around you'll need to time yourself like give 1 or 2 hours earlier before the appointment time, and there's plenty of walking, more than in Singapore. Tons of walking around and sweating, and huffing and puffing and wrestling. I was at Ayala station infront of the entrance contemplating should i stay at Greenbelt enjoy dinner until 8 oclock and go back after that or join in the fuse with other humans on the train and stick together closely with other sweatie human body like an ice molecules. I bought a chocolate for the energy and a mineral water, and go for it. While queing i purposely missed the first 4 trains because of the que infront of me and with my pink backpack i join in the horizontal moshpit. I thought Cubao station was close but it took around 4 stations before destination and i made it in 1 piece. I even survived a breathe on a neck it was disgusting. Called Riza and she's at the hostel and she told me that there's a local shop nearby that can make vegetarian noodles, lotsuv vegetables and can ask for extra spicy! Wohoo!.I stop over at this Singaporean resto 'Rasa', had a Malaysian mee goreng, goddamn oily as fuck trying to imitate the mamak mee goreng but this can clog or permanently close any holes inside your body and balancing it with a mango juice. Survived taking a cab back home. Sort out everything and this new place here comes with a set of their own problems as well compare to Isis. Here with 8000pesos, free internet and electricity and airconditioning but have to buy own mineral water, caretaker sometimes played the music loud and not as homely as Isis. I was told by Riza, most shops and resto here are using the tab water for the ice and cold water, her partner and her experience the extreme stomach ache caused by bacterias so she learnt her lesson and only buy distilled water. But since the 1st day here, i've already laced myself unknowingly with the cold water for a dinner and so far seemed ok. My stomach bacteria can moshpit with the local bacteria i guess...so far....touch wood.