Thursday, September 04, 2008

Danger Zone


I guess this would fall as one of your ‘dodge the bullet’ type of situations.

Whenever I go to Cubao from my office at the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) I usually take the LRT at Recto station. If I am fortunate enough to catch an officemate with a car, then, I will ask to be dropped off just in front of Legarda station, where the officemate can either go back to the office or go straight to Quezon City. However, if I can’t find a car I’ll commute via the Pasig-Quiapo jeep going to LRT’s Recto Station.
Sattelite Shot
Observe the sky-shot of DBM (building marked B), the street corner is a weird shaped intersection, looks like a melted cross. The building marked A is an apartment where all those who wait for Pasig-Quiapo usually stand and catch the jeep before it turns right – its last turn before reaching Quiapo. And like everyone else that is where I waited around 5-5:30 pm on September 3rd.

As had been my usual I lined myself up at in front of the traffic as much as possible so that when the traffic stops I’ll have ample time to study if I actually fit in any of the incoming jeeps. I never liked having just one ass cheek sitting you see especially with so weak a lower body strength.

I had my eye on one, about four cars back; a great enough distance to observe it if it was packed or not. But before it got close to me (I actually wanted to ride it by then) to my surprise the lady in the front fell out of the jeep, almost face first. My mind raced for answers: boyfriend trouble, smelly passenger or a drunken passenger (either her or someone near her); slip, even attempted rape. It wasn’t long that I was soon dazed observing the puzzle unfold before my eyes as other passengers follow suit, through the window, door – so I was thinking mechanical trouble, maybe a bomb.

Failing to appreciate the situation and remaining relatively untouched from where I stood I watched on, passively. Soon with almost all of the passengers out scattering in all directions the insides of the jeep was clearer, there was a noticeable scuffle; how many I could not count. The answer was soon revealed because by this time passengers who got out at this time were already shouting hold-up.

Perhaps noticing the commotion they were causing, and also the lack of available victims, the two assailants got out of the jeep. Looking around realizing the attention was already too much (traffic was packed by now the jeep just stopped, plus the people at the store in the apartment) they ran away.

Thankfully no one was hurt in this incident but it did give me a front seat view of what the place’s reputation was all about.

DBM and surrounding streets

That stretch of road (Arlegui to Palanca and General Solano), that general area, has its reputation of hold-ups and riots (I saw remnants of one in Palanca one late night: shattered glasses and rocks in the street), as well as being an area of dormitories, students, government buildings, and a wide array of colleges and universities. It’s not anarchy mind you so you can relax a little. Just keep in mind that if you do come by this area to just keep your eyes open and relax. Everyplace has its dangers.

Thankfully, I am still not part of that crime statistic unfortunately some DBM employees are. But the sad thing is, more of an annoyance in fact, is that because of the reputation of the place, taxi drivers often think of me as a potential criminal. I have experienced being passed over by passenger-less taxis a number of times during late nights at the office.

Anyway, I wish a safe travel for everyone. Be mindful of danger zones wherever you travel.