FOR the second time, I did a Jason Bourne-like stunt in the busy and dangerous thoroughfares of Manila recently.
Last Sunday night, I alighted from a UV Express shuttle in Kalaw and found out seconds later that I left my backpack with my laptop in the vehicle.
The shuttle already drove off towards Taft Avenue and I got no choice but to run after it. With my adrenalin shooting up, I ran as if I was a high school sprinter but the UV Express was just too fast for a middle aged guy like me.
Fortunately, a woman in an E-bike was cruising in the same direction I was going and I called her attention. While in motion, I asked her for a backride and she replied, “Anong problema?”
I told her I was running after that UV Express where I left my important belongings. Surprisingly, she told me to “hop in!”
In less than a minute, there I was in a speeding E-bike driven by a woman trying to help me get my things back. Holding on to her soft waist, I watched the bike speed up and do a zigzag to avoid traffic.
We caught up with the UV Express at the corner of Taft Avenue and Kalaw and boy, my heart was still pounding like a base drum even when I already had my belongings back.
When I looked around, all eyes were on me because I was in the middle of the road like an action star who just felt great for a mission accomplished.
And just like in the movies too, there she was in the crowd, the woman who saved my day and the one who gave me one hell of a ride.
Still in her bike, my heroine was waiting. Smiling, she offered me another backride.
I won’t tell where she took me.
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Some years back, I made almost the same stunt in almost the same location. Two things were different though. First was I was the one being ran after and second, I was fortunately young then and thus faster.
Running after me that night were equally young holduppers brandishing long and rusty knives. Against their blades was the umbrella I was holding which I was determined to lunge at them the moment they’re at striking distance.
But it didn’t reach that point because I was too fast for them maybe due to the surging adrenalin in my body out of fear or anger.
They chased me for only a minute but it was the longest 60 seconds in my life. While running away from them, I played ‘patintero’ with moving cars and even had to slide in the hoods of incoming vehicles to make the escape.
Sad to say, no one among the many people watching the action-filled scene bothered to help me. But I thought I would do the same if I were in their shoes because I would consider the knives the holduppers were carrying and I wouldn’t know what was really happening.
What really happened was that I was in a jeep from Port Area, Manila going to Quezon City when a group of young men in shorts boarded from the sidewalk near Manila Hotel.
We were just approaching the dark area where the Old Congress is located when they announced the holdup. Pulling out their long and rusty knives, they warned: “Walang tatalon, holdap ’to.”
To their disbelief, I jumped out from the slowly moving jeepney and ran. How did I do it? I was seated right beside one of the holduppers positioned at the entrance of the vehicle. He was probably confident the announcement got everybody scared and stiff but not me.
Honestly, I really got scared with the knives and their sight was enough to tell me it’s now or never at that very moment. Besides, it was pretty obvious the holduppers were high on drugs and they could easily be provoked to harm or kill the passengers including me even if we have surrendered our belongings.
So jump I did and two of the bad guys decided to run after me thinking I was the one loaded with the precious ‘gold’ on a payday. Unknown to them, nothing was left in my pocket except for my jeepney fare because I paid my obligations to a lot of creditors that day.
But sorry to those losers they were so high on drugs they could not last a minute running. And so they gave up chasing me. They vanished in the crowd. I kept running towards the Manila City Hall where I took another jeepney ride home.
We don’t see such guys anymore nowadays, do you? They’re gone. Thanks to Digong!
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Businessmen managing Coastal Road are doing nothing to improve the highway’s poor service to motorists.
Until now, traffic is still horrendous at the Coastal Road’s toll plaza because it can no longer accommodate the volume of vehicles.
This corner earlier suggested that temporary toll booths be installed in the plaza during peak hours but I guess this was ignored by management.
If the management could not follow the suggestion, maybe it could just change the way by which the toll booths are classified (cash, beep, RFID, etc) because the existing arrangement appears to be not too friendly to motorists especially those in a hurry.
If only officials of the highway company could use their coconut a little bit more, I’m pretty sure Coastal Road won’t be that bad.
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