As if last year's hostage drama that catapulted the entire nation to worldwide scrutiny and the parade of carjacking-related murders that started this year were not enough, here comes the recent bus blast that claimed 4 innocent lives. And the world laments in unison, "Scary times!"

Photo from The Peninsula.

See, I know what it's like to be too traumatized to use public transport after what I have endured before. But it really crushed me to hear fellow Filipinos react that they're hesitant to come back to the inevitable carnage that awaits them here or they do not want to take a bus again for potential bombings, the cabs for potential hold-ups or overcharging hell, the MRT for its price hike and the likes.

That night, I took a bus. As I have affirmed here, I believe in the kindness among us. And I prayed for the departed souls, the loved ones they left behind, the survivors whose lives will be forever marred by this terrorist act, for the authorities to remain fueled in their investigation, for the entire nation to heal and, lastly, for the mastermind/s and the henchmen.

You may argue it's easy for me to say, considering I have no lost limbs nor loved ones resulting to this violent act. But that's exactly how I managed to lift my hands and offer a prayer. And that's exactly why I'm blogging about this, I wish to encourage everyone to do the same. I wish for us to heal.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edward Burke

I also hope we would join hands and act on the survivors' needs and plot preventive measures for everybody's security. Let's not tolerate the explosion, let's not let the suspects get away with this and let's not blame the government for their struggle to solve it. There's something we can do somewhere. Let's do our part.

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Hearing about Oplan Isnabero was a relief. At last, passengers have the power to get back at the choosy cabbies! I'm rubbing my hands together in Satanic glee here.

Commuting to work during the New Year's eve proved to be difficult. My usual one-bus-ride-to-work route had to reconsidered; Erjohn & Almark buses seemed to observe the holidays. When I reached Baclaran, I went looking for a cab. And so did about 20 more passengers. The competition was stiff!

The first cabbie was fully aware of how he can take advantage of the situation. He charged me P100 for a ride to Valero, Makati that typically cost me around P80. He declined to use the meter, too. What a jerk!

After a couple more minutes of waiting, an angel appeared in front of me and readily nodded when I declared my destination. Inexplicably happy for this, I even initiated a small talk and admired his intention to welcome 2011 with his family then go back on his hunt for passengers during the wee hours. He foresaw a great number of party-goers and call center employees that would need a ride home.

While we were engaged in this conversation, I sent my complaint against the former cabbie to the hotline. I sent this message:

Hi, I would like to report TXH 162. The cab driver charged P100 for a ride from Baclaran to Valero, Makati. He refused to use the meter.

When I arrived safely in front of my office building, I paid him P150 for a ride that only amounted to P90. He seemed shocked for this random act of generosity and I know I felt doubly happier than he did. Should the hotline be limited to complaints alone? I wasn't sure but I went ahead and sent them a kudos message that said:

Hi, I would like to commend the TWW 401 cabbie. He didn't set the cost for the ride. Thank you.

Sadly, I did NOT receive any confirmatory message stating they will reprimand the concerned cabbie and/or clarify they do not accept commendations. I'm crossing my fingers they would take time to do so.

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It was Saturday morning. I logged out from last night's training in the faraway land of Eastwood at 5AM then met up with Shiela for a birthday breakfast date in Ayala Ave in Makati. Next in line? Gown fitting for Ina's vintage FilipiƱana wedding. Then last-minute bazaar visit for kaftan-hunting in preparation for our team building in Boracay. Then dinner date with Fristine in Wabi-Sabi to claim my wedding invitation, among others. Yes, I'm one busy woman with loads of energy. Or so I thought!

When I bade farewell to Shiela that morning, I felt quite worn out already. Just my luck, caffeine fix was not enough. Coupled with this urge to invalidate Ina's conviction that I was consistently tardy, I hailed a cab to be transported immediately to Nono Palmos's shop even before she arrives. I wanted to be the one to open the door for her and surprise her.

However, the cosmos had other plans. In spite of the heavy traffic that should had kept my pulse racing in suspense, I felt being lulled to sleep. I jokingly told the cabbie, "Kuya, pakigising na lang ako kapag andun na tayo," then proceeded to play dead.

To my horror, he reacted: "Ma'am, 'wag po kayong matulog! Lalo kayong tataba!"

Tang inang hindot, diba?!

Beats me why he didn't come to his senses after my apparent disapproval of his quip. For some strange reason, he even felt licensed to press for more answers. His follow-up questions were: "Ilan na po anak niyo, Ma'am? Ah wala pa? May asawa na po kayo?"

By then, I was a portrait of silent wrath. Still, he paid no attention.

When the cab came into a halt, I did not bother to give him any tip and slammed the car door while he was halfway in his last attempt to establish rapport.

I was already awake.