My First MRT Ride!

4:47 AM

I remember the first time I rode the MRT. It was remarkable because it was also my first time in Manila. In fact I was still carrying my big traveling bag that when I got inside the train everybody was looking at me like I am some kind of terrorist. Ehem. Ehem. *changes accent* 'Hey, my name is Mark and I am not a terrorist!', I shouted inside my head while staring all back at them. Anyway, that awkward moment was saved by an audio announcement about the safety precautions inside the train. The train wasn't as crowded as I expected. Everyone must be taking their lunch I thought. I stood facing the right side of the train and from the window I saw rooftops, cables, wires, houses, seemingly abandoned buildings, old apartments, there was even a school I thought, scrapped political banners from the May 2010 Presidential Elections and a billboard of Kris Aquino among many others. The view outside was so depressing that I turned my gaze on the people inside the MRT. During the first stop I took the chance to transfer to the end of the train so I could have a better view of everything and everyone. At last! After a few minutes of standing I've finally been able to sit. The train suddenly became crowded but I still managed to observe people who I thought were interesting and it sort of made me feel happy. Actually, it was fun to think of stories out of their expressions, what they're doing and whatever that has, will or may happen during our ride.

It felt like I just went inside the lives of the people around me. Assuming of course that my theories and assumptions were right. They don't have to be necessarily right though and that's best thing about it. Inside the train, was an old woman who was texting and I thought she needed some help with it. I think her phone was of the qwerty type and I bet she couldn't hardly see. Beside her were two high school students giggling over a handsome guy in front of them who I thought was gay since he's been looking at the direction of the five college students near the exit door. Or it could be that he knows someone from that group because one actually waved his hands to the handsome guy. Or it wasn't the handsome guy that one of the college students was waving to, but the girl beside the handsome guy who wore a pink shirt and was drinking a mocha frappe from Starbucks. Let's just call her Starbucks girl. If that's the case then the handsome guy (who I thought was gay) is so assuming and I guess that makes him even more gay. There's also a guy who looked like a goon from a movie ready to steal or punch anyone who gets near him. What's so peculiar about him though is that he was carrying a book that looked like a bible and all. Across him was a promo girl of some known dish washing liquid who I think is late for work because she's always checking her wristwatch. I wish I could tell her she can't stop time by just looking at her wristwatch. Honestly, it's distracting. If it were the end of the world I think nobody would even care what time it is. Anyway, behind the promo girl was a fat guy who I think was selling stuff on his messenger bag because he's been looking at nearly every direction. He was in a business man attire though, his head bald and he's wearing eye-glasses. I think the guy's searching for a potential buyer around because he appears to be checking on everyone. "Don't you dare look at my direction!" I murmured. I just hate facing persuasive salesmen. They're incessant talkers and it annoys the hell out of me. I don't know where I got this but whenever I hear too much noise and gets load of information all at the same time I get dizzy.

Anyway, there was a pregnant woman who looked problematic on her duster and her 8 years old daughter who was laughing at the old man who was asleep in front of them. I'm not really certain about their ages though. Beside the man who was sleeping was a woman who looked like Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago but in a nurse's uniform also worried that she may already be late for her shift. What's with people checking time every time? It made me feel as though one of them had set up a time bomb somewhere. On the right side was an engineering student who's been scratching his back with a T-square and I think it was his classmate who tried to cover him up for a moment. It must have been very embarrassing for the classmate. T-square? Like seriously? Hahaha. And oh, there was an annoying girl who was standing right in front of me. She looked pretty though but she keeps on giving me hurried glances which made me conscious. And I fucking hate it! Another thing that pisses me off is when people try to make their every breaths audible. It makes me eerily conscious about breathing and I sometimes end up stopping my breath.

By the next stop, a crowd of people went inside and the girl in front of me went nearer to where I was. Suddenly, everyone became close to one another. Among the new set of people is a young man, maybe in his early twenties who looked pissed and was looking for someone. In fact, he wandered around checking people's faces. He even accidentally poured Starbucks girl's mocha frappe and I heard the girl utter "Watch it!". I didn't hear the guy say sorry though but he bowed his head down and went near the exit. That reminded me of bumping into a lady earlier who I thought was a call center agent because she looked like a zombie. I said sorry but she was kind of spaced out or something. There's circles around her eyes and she looked like she never had any decent sleep in her lifetime. Thinking of it made me realize we are actually in pre-zombie era.

Before I forget, there's my friend who's busy texting the person we will be meeting in a mall somewhere. Hahaha. I don't really know where we're going but the person I'm with is actually one of those guys who likes to hit on girls a lot. And yes, I'll accompany him to meet his textmate in a Mall somewhere. We've been friends for years but never have I been influenced by his style with girls. I guess I didn't need that because I believe life is like a movie and everyone of us has a role to play. He plays the playboy type and my role is . . .honestly, I have yet to figure that out. Perhaps, in this train ride I'm the person who likes to observe and create stories inside his head. Oh dearie, I must be retarded!

There are lot of stories one could tell out of riding an MRT. Each and every individual in that MRT is actually telling a part of their life stories. And if only I could; I would very much love to know what's gonna happen to them after the MRT ride. I mean, it's really interesting to know because life offers a lot of possibilities. Maybe, my friend's textmate was the old woman who struggled coping with technology. Maybe the guy would say sorry to the girl in pink and ask her out on a date later. Or maybe the new guy was looking for his Mom who happens to be the nurse in Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago's mask. Maybe, the salesman is actually the lookout of annoying girl in front of me who happens to be a member of a Chinese mafia. Or the handsome guy wasn't actually gay but the older brother of one of those college students. And the lady zombie might fall in love to the hoodlumy-looking guy who happens to be a clergyman. Anything can happen! And I also believe everyone is somehow connected from any other person in the MRT not through six degrees of separation but maybe on a much larger scale.

There are over 11 million people in Metro Manila and if each person's life is to be adapted into a movie then we'll have 11 million movies produced during these people's lifetime. I'm not really good in math or statistics but the thing is anyone of us could be part of each others' movie. In your film you're the protagonist, in others' you can be the villain but to whosoever films I'm in, I think I will be the narattor. The typical guy you don't normally see in the camera. A guy who's just there to observe and scare the hell out of people when he smiles at them.

Sometimes, I think life is like an MRT Ride. It starts slow and for a moment it keeps a certain speed and then slows down during stops. It's a mecha beast that is hard to escape. A place full of strangers, would-be friends and even love interests. A place where anything can happen. You know where you're headed but sometimes you have stops to make. And the time you'll get out of it, you know, you'll have more rides to take!

You Might Also Like


  1. Hmmm, I thought that food and drinks are prohibited in MRT, may nakakalusot pala.

    1. I didn't know that. Maybe they weren't that strict about 2 years ago or she hid it very well. O.o

  2. heheheh ... when I was finishing my practical Ethnographic and Anthropological Filmmaking Module back in 2000, I really got a hard time finding character, my priest mentor told me to ride MRT ... in the end nalibog nuun ko sa kadaghang character... ug ang pinaka end self-reflexive akong character, lol...

    Dropping by Glenn :)

  3. FIRST LRT RIDE (LRT LANG NUON) = NAIWAN NG TREN. kfly -_- ... my parents and bro, nauna sila. ako, naiwan. ako na! :DDD