Thursday, October 30, 2008

Deluge? Our Country is Worth Saving

I see pictures in internet of modern updated replica of Noah's ark. Seeing that I think of the great flood, animals walking in pairs to Noah's ark......Would this deluge happen again, will we be saved again?

“Incredible, a miracle,” my sweetheart said. He’s referring to the bag of bed sheets forgotten yesterday morning by my sister at one of the Chinese stores in Divisoria, retrieved the next day. We did not even have a numbered card to prove that the bag was ours. My sis had bought so many stuff and decided to buy a big sack bag to put everything together. In the process, she forgot to put inside the bag of bed sheets, the raison d ’etre of our Divisoria trip. “That’s a story worth telling over and over”, my sweetheart said.

I just can’t get over this happening in Divisoria, the place refuted to have so many pick-pocketeers, jewelry and bag snatchers……

And I have experiences to prove that true too. When I was young, about ten years old, I used to go with my aunt shopping for her buy-and-sell business. She would buy beautiful and colorful fabrics to be sold to her co-teachers at St. John’s Academy. She would also buy vegetables to be sold to her neighbors at SSS village, Marikina. After Divisoria trip, each of us carried five or more heavy bags. I guess backpacks were not invented at that time yet, he, he. Anyway, that’s so typical of many shoppers coming out of Divisoria. There’s just too much goodies in Divisoria, you can’t stop shopping until your wallet gives up.

My aunt always warned me, "guard our bags", as she bought more stuff. So I would stand there beside her, while she haggled, and that’s another feel-good experience – you get to negotiate the prices of just about anything and you go home feeling satisfied you’ve had a good deal haggling a P250 priced-goody to P200, until you heard your friend haggling it down to P150! Anyway, guarding our eight bags and listening in amusement as my aunt haggles, at one time I saw about three of our bags mysteriously moving! Nobody’s pulling it in sight, so I looked, mesmerized by their movement to my far left. “Hoyyyyyy”, I heard the store owner shout at a child street beggar. I was dumbfounded, the boy beggar had a two- meter-stick with a 1 ft curved wire at the end, he’d used to pull some of our bags. I felt so stupid at my naivete and slow-thinking about bags moving mysteriously on their own! Fantastic, very resourceful, ain’t he? The beggar boy/thief scampered away from us as and business went on as usual.

Another time, about nine years ago, I went back and forth between Manila and Bacolod as my eldest daughter continued her studies in Bacolod while my youngest daughter and I settled in Makati. That was after the jump, err, I mean after my ex husband and I separated. I traveled, sailing on Negros Navigation or Super Ferry ships instead of flying Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. Ships are far cheaper plus sailing gives me more alone time when I badly needed it. The ships dock near Divisoria, adding to slower traffic. Once, I befriended a fellow ship passenger, a young woman, who like me was badly in need of cash. So we battled it with ship, tricycle and jeeps instead of airplane and taxi cabs. The traffic was so bad at Divisoria, it moved snail-paced for at least 30 minutes. We were talking with each other non-stop when all of a sudden she ran and chased, shouting and asking for help at the same time, as her gold necklace was snatched by a young man. What guts, she’d outran him and yanked from him her necklace and went back to the tricycle with us, everyone around congratulating her. I wonder too, nobody called the police to report such events. Oh yeah, that was because you see no police in sight. That’s how bad Divisoria was before. Yesterday, policemen were all over the place, and I even asked one of them where to wait for jeeps going to Quiapo. He advised to take the jeeps crossing Avenida and walk forward to Quiapo. No way, Jose. We walked further and found a jeep going to directly to Quiapo.

Divisoria’s look has changed over the years. There was Taborra St. before, where my aunt shopped for beautiful and cheap fabrics. There was also Ilaya St. where we bought cheap vegetables and fruits. I can’t figure where they are now. There is the popular 168 Mall now and the Divisoria Mall, full of goodies, nice and cheap. My sister and I, both bargain hunters, went to 168 Mall and looked around for nice curtains and bed sheets. She bought 3 pieces of short curtains from a heap of bargain items for only P85 each. That’s a real bargain! I bought 8 pcs. of salad bowls for P29.75 each. I know they’re not much of a bargain, but I pictured colorful green of lettuce and red tomatoes and maybe bits of yellow corn kernels against the black color of the bowl, and I could not resist, have to buy these salad bowls!

My sister asked for queen-sized bed sheets and was told they’re for P895 a set, consisting of a flat sheet, fitted sheet and two pillow cases. “There are just about the prices at SM Iloilo”, she whispered. “Let’s go and compare the prices with small stalls outside the mall”, I decided.

And what a deal we had. She was able to haggle the prices as low as P300 a set for the queen–size set mentioned above. She bought 2 sets, and also bought 2 more sets of double-sized sheets for only P200 each. Earlier, she bought one queen size sheet set for P320. I urged her to look somewhere else, and true enough we were able to find better deals! We bought Christmas decors too. We were carrying three bags of goodies each when my sister decided to buy a sack bar to put everything together as we still plan to go to Quiapo for more bargain hunting. That’s when she forgot to put one bag full of sheets inside the sack bag. After going home she sent me a text message telling me of the missing bed sheets. I had given up hope she could still find them, so I advised her to charge everything to experience and go back the next day to buy another set of bed sheets. My sister, the ever optimist, hoped and pray she could retrieve the bed sheets and she did!

I related this to my husband and he too was incredulous, although he had a similar experience before in a small grocery store here near our place. We bought stuff inside the grocery store – toothpaste, flour, etc. when something distracted us and we left without getting the change from our P500 bill. We went on to buy vegetables – cucumber, tomatoes, onions, etc. Sweetheart reached out for his money clip and noticed a P500 bill missing and realized we have not gotten back our change twenty minutes earlier from the grocery store. We went back to the grocery store, and all they asked was our sales stub, and voila, they gave back our P400 change. Isn’t life wonderful.

There are stories worth telling over and over. I asked my sweetheart, "So if God would send a deluge again, Philippines is worth saving for its few good men, isn’t it?" He answered, “it certainly is, darling”.

1 comment:

  1. Love the way you wrote this. Pinoys are honest, most of us, anyway:)


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