Last Tuesday, on my way back from Singapore to Manila, I spoke with a fellow passenger on board Tiger Airways. She is the wife of an OFW based in Singapore and was also on her way back from a vacation in the the beautiful country of Singapura. We talked about how clean Singapore was and how it was so efficient. For one thing, they don't have the traffic jams we suffer through everyday. People are very disciplined and rules are followed. She spoke of her plans to migrate there and how she did not like living in the Philippines anymore.
I have to admit, I found myself agreeing with her in a lot of areas. True, our country is pitiful at the moment. Our traffic jams are monstrous and poverty is seen everywhere. I often hear people say that our country is hopeless. Corruption is everywhere and a lot of times, the system disappoints me.
But last Sunday, I found myself realizing why I love this country despite its pitiful condition. I was on my way home from my traditional saturday gimik of badminton and tambay at Len's at around 1:30 am when my car broke down in the middle of UP Balara. My sister as usual panicked (She locked herself inside the car the entire time). We were in the middle of a curve and there was barely any light around. There was also a group of semi-drunk tambays lurking around the corner not to mention the trucks that kept on passing by. After several seconds of shock and denial, I called my own version of rescue 911 (a.k.a. peter--ang forever rescuer ko sa aking mga bloopers) who miraculously answered his phone!!!! (hahahaha!) Peter guided me over the phone on how to fix my overheated car (turned out my water pump broke down, causing the radiator to lose water). I'm not well versed in car language but Peter explained the steps well enough that I understood what to do. He was so calm over the phone that I forgot to panic as well.
After several minutes, a car stopped in front of me and a middle aged lady approached me to ask if I was okay. She just wanted to make sure I wasn't alone and that I wasn't injured or anything before she drove off. A few minutes later again, a manong who lived across the street came up to me and offered to help. He went with me to the nearby car wash to get additional water for my radiator. By then Luis also called and volunteered to bring more water (it turned out Peter called him to assist me coz he lived nearby). I declined the offer since I was able to get more water and was about to try to get the car running again. Another tricycle driver stopped and offered to help. He even called me Maam. After a few more minutes, my car finally ran again. And I drove home.
I was touched by their generosity. Imagine, I was a complete stranger yet they all took time out to help. Even the lady stranger who was probably on her way home was so nice. Even if she just stopped to see if I was okay, it was such a nice thing to do.
I called Peter when I finally got my car running again. He waited for me to get home safely and gave me more instructions on how to bring my car to the mechanic the next day (Thank you talaga partner). Even Luis waited up for me too. They are my living angels. Despite feeling extremely tired, I was actually smiling before I trekked to bed.
Sunday morning, my mom asked if I ever plan to migrate abroad. We spoke about how beautiful singapore was. But I found myself answering that despite everything, I'd still like to stay in the Philippines-- not for the traffic or the hassles of daily life--but because in our country people are basically good if you give them a chance. There are still angels in the Philippines if you take time out to look.
There are still heroes out there. We just have to keep faith. So I may be stupid for not wanting to leave just yet-- but I have now several more reasons to stay-- my two friends and the three nameless strangers who brought back my faith in the people of my home.