I'm running late for work one Thursday evening. It was almost 21:00 and I still haven't decided what to wear (read: waistline issues). For the past couple of months, I have my ears subscribed to Papa Dom's reggae show over the radio, except that certain Thursday night Milenyo was in town. Unwilling to miss that night's show, I turned my phone/radio into loudspeaker mode as I went on with my quest for a decent getup.

When I finally had my Eureka moment, it was already way past 21:00. I highly doubted if I'd make it on time for work. Yes, I dashed.

It was only until 5 minutes after I hopped in the FX when I realized I failed to go on headset mode! Not because I heard myself but because I fished for my phone from my bag to send someone a text message then I saw the shocking icon of loudspeaker. Immediately turning it off, I felt guilty to be the deliverer of hardcore reggae in full blast.

Everything was a painful slow motion since that realization: My decision to turn down pedicab drivers that night for a sprint walk, my 8-minute jeepney ride to Bayanan, the understandable hesitation of fellow FX passengers to make space for me. With my hands on my flushed face, I wanted to die.

In an attempt to channel out my embarrassment, I pushed my keypad with anger and confronted my brother Louie over text for not letting me know. He stopped me before leaving as I'm wearing his LPG (League of Pogi Gentlemen) shirt, fer gawd's sake! How heartless!

But then again, I also felt bad that nobody among the people in our neighborhood or village or fellow passengers poked and admonished me for being on loudspeaker mode. I would gladly tone it down, you know.




At the back of my head, it was just another tropical depression. This Milenyo might be signal # 3, but I was completely positive nothing would harm me. In fact, I stayed at the office after shift to go online and peruse my sadly forsaken inboxes. I turned down the offer for some beers. I was told it's too mahangin sa labas.

As soon as I have chosen my bus seat and snapped my earphones on both ears, I fell prey to the lullaby disguised as rock. This nirvana did not last too long; I felt my phone vibrate. It was my Mom, advising me to snooze at the office instead as Bacoor has transformed into a small town of soaring roofs (imagine the Angel of Tetanus in quest for her next victims) and she suspected I would face the inevitable deluge on my way home.

Too late. As I peered outside my window, I have realized Makati has transformed into Jumanji. The traffic is at its worst crawl. Some invisible force is uprooting trees and knocking signages down. And everyone on the bus was tense and impatient.

I managed to reach my beloved town in spite of our slow dance amidst Nature's suppressed wrath. I was down to my final jeepney ride. I was in Talaba and impatiently waiting to hail the next jeepney. Alas, the available ones were only bound to Zapote which means I had to have another jeepney to make it home. At this point, I was very unwilling to have a separate ride. As the clock ticks on, the Sogo signage just above my head is waiting to fall down and crush someone's skull. Not mine, I repeatedly whispered to myself.

Finally, my ticket to salvation arrived. A throng of people followed me climb the stairs. The sooner we got out of there, the better. The trip was more like an opportunity to view Milenyo's destructive visit. Everyone was a commentator, pointing and reacting to the flying objects outside. We welcomed the others' tales related to this tragedy. We were also glad that no flood threatened to make this heart-pumping trip all the more dangerous. I liked the part when one woman climbed down and attempted to open her umbrella to shield herself from the unspeakable powers. The people, in chorus, admonished her to drop it and brave the elements. It's fruitless and all the more fatal. It was as if we know one another for so long.

Reaching my village made me upheave a sigh of relief. Not until I noticed the pedicab driver was half my weight and realize the extent of the challenge he had to face. And not until I notice the other residents gawk in awe and suspense to the half-fastened roofs eager to break free then swiftly dart their attention to me. I felt like being watched if I'd make it alive. I felt like squeezing my eyes shut until I reach our garage but I just can't. Fortunately, the eternity finally came into a grand halt and, with all the energy that I can muster, I sprinted my way to my bed. I'm such a lucky bastard.