Lessons from an MRT ride

by Sankage Steno

Inspired by an Inquirer article

It was an amazing experience talaga. I was standing on the platform of the Q. Ave station of the MRT. I saw these many, many middle-class tao who make siksik themselves on the yellow tiles. I was surprised coz it’s so dangerous kaya. But I came to realize how brave the Filipinos pala. Imagine, standing on the edge of the platform for a train ride — that’s like something!

And when the train finally arrived, all of them made sakay the MRT, as in mega push to insert their bodies. I was like, Whoa! Is that even for real? It’s so nakakabilib. Why is everybody so keen on rubbing elbows with everyone? Are they even rich and famous like me? At first, I was a bit inis to them because it was so barbaric to the eyes. But then I came to this deep realization.

I finally understood what “close family ties” meant.

So that’s it pala. Even though we do not know much about each other, we can be close naman physically. You know, cheek to cheek, arm to arm, chest to chest. It’s so iba! I mean, I’ve been to the U.S., to U.K., and to other first world countries, but here lang me naka-witness ng intense closeness. We are one big family in the Philippines! What a nice thought.

So I made siksik na rin even though it’s nakaka-irritate at first. After a third try, I was in. Gosh, it was so difficult pala to ride the MRT. Effort! And while inside, I could not make galaw my body because of our closeness to each other — not even my newly done nails! But I tried to be patient pa rin coz I know that this is what it’s like to be Filipino. We are close and, I realized again, we like to sacrifice a lot.

And sacrifice I did. Medyo hard sya pero worth it naman coz I believe in what Kelly Clarkson said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” di ba?

Then all of a sudden, two guys started making sigaw to each other. And they began fighting like cats and dogs! Oh my! I was so lapit pa naman to both of them. I was like two feet away lang. Scared! I could not understand much of what they made sigaw to each other. I just remembered hearing them say “Pooh tongue eenah meau” (Is that French?) and “Gag go!” and “Tarantula” no, wait, I think it’s “Tehran tad dough!”

New language.

I had to consult Merriam and Webster pa just to figure out the words. But I still could not understand pa rin up to now. Oh well, maybe I’ll ask na lang may English prof about it. I’m sure she will have a sagot somehow. She’s like magaling kaya. Super! I idolize her nga e. That’s why I’m so good in English kasi I am always inspired in her class.

Anyways, so there. The two men fought na nga until both of them made labas at Ortigas station and I saw the guards came to the rescue. Gosh, so intense! But like any other family, fights happen talaga minsan.

Finally, I reached Ayala station. I shouted “Para po” to make stop the train. It was my first time to say it. I just know you have to say it when you want to make baba na. I never ride public vehicles kasi. It’s just that I had a fight with my Daddy that morning so I did not make sabay to him in our car. I was so proud of myself coz everybody looked at me when I said “Para po!” Daddy should have seen it. But no, we’re not yet bati.

So I alighted the MRT, and the moment I stepped on the platform, I gained this very wonderful insight. I realized na life is like an MRT ride. It’s hard, it’s full of strangers, it’s dangerous, but in the end you will reach your destination. Just do not make suko and keep believing in yourself. Like what Justin Beiber said, “Never say never!”

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