Here’s Why I’m Letting Go of GrabTaxi

Using the GrabTaxi app to call the attention of nearby cab drivers is easier than waiting and hailing for a taxi in real life. But that was like what– almost two years ago?

  

Now, due to the popularity of the service with the convenience it offers, its demand is very high. However, the caveat that this has brought is that its drivers are now picky. I have done my occasional driver interviews, and asked users of the app and spent every opportunity that I have to use the app for its service.
Before, when I open the app, I know I can be anywhere I want to be. I didn’t care about the P70 hire free because I need the service for its convenience. Most of the time, I use the GrabCar option because the AC blast on my face is way better and the seats are far cleaner. I always get a black Toyota Vios though, but I’m alright with that as I do not have a car anymore.

When I use GrabCar Premium, I’m picked up by a Toyota Fortuner with just about P50 pesos more. I just haven’t tried GrabExpress habal-habal mode.

To make my fanticism of this service short, I loved it. Now, I kind of hate it.

In my many driver-questioning moments, they said that it’s a good thing that they see the destination before everything else and they can turn down passengers just by not confirming on the app and its not hard to do.

There will be passengers from Novaliches that need to get to Parañaque during rush hours and that’s really hard. If it is me, I won’t take it as well because I understand them very well. But they didn’t tell me what the real scoring is in confirming a passenger. I did my experiment and abide by its results for about 5 times. 

So, here’s the bad that came from my tests. Imagine a gloomy Saturday 10:30 morning along C. Raymundo Avenue in Pasig. You open the GrabeTaxi app– 130 drivers nearby! You smile with confidence. Then, you select Pililia, Makati. P131. Woah– you just love it. Then, 15 minutes later, your smile fades away. No confirmation. You put a tip, P20. Still nothing. You tip more, P50. Nothing. You have the Grinch’s face now. P100. “We’ve found you a driver!”

So, before, it wasn’t about who has the app and data on the road. Now, its a Tip War! A battle for the willing and an unbiased arena for the more fortunate ones versus people like me who can only spend so much. I don’t think that the rates have gone high. I just think that most drivers are now too choosey to pick you without a high tip. What’s high anyway? I’m not abusive. I know what’s far and what’s not. I love drivers!

I just hope that this be regulated and addressed immediately by the GrabTaxi service. It’s now easier to hail mano-a-mano for a cab.

See you soon GrabTaxi drivers. ‘Till I install the app again.

-Commuter (a considerate one)

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A Changed Man This Christmas Season

Who isn’t sad during the Yuletide season? That’s what I always say whenever I feel Christmas is coming.

Many years ago, I spoke to one popular comedienne DJ in the country and was surprised to discover that we share the same surge of sad feeling in every December. Whenever Christmas songs are played loudly in the malls with the mellow glow of the hundreds of beautiful tiny lights, we both feel all sorts of low emotions.

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This DJ told me that she doesn’t have a clue why she feels like that, but we both agreed that for all people, the reasons could be different. I secretly thanked her for knowing that an ultimately successful person in the field of broadcasting feels weird throughout this whole season, not to mention that Christmas time is festive to most people.

Almost five years later, I discovered that what I feel is not sadness. Its just the effect of an empty feeling triggered by the songs and Christmas lights, maybe worse– emptiness. I remember the song Dust In The Wind by Kansas.

One time, I went to a Sunday sermon of one of the most prominent Christian congregations in the country.

The preacher, a woman with great power you’d feel in her calm voice said we need to discover our purpose in life. She said that despite the enormity of the success we have or have yet to achieve in a certain field, whether money-making or being famous we will always feel that we lack something.

She used several examples like Marilyn Monroe, George Washington Carver and many more. Could have been clichés, but I wanted to listen at that time. Turned out, I lost my faith in humanity a long time ago. I’m bringing it back. And that purpose? To contibute to humanity.

So, the sadness is the effect of this empty feeling. I suddenly knew that I activate this kill-joy mode every Christmas season.

I am longing to feel enchantment after every song and wait for wonder in every magical glow of the tiny Christmas lights.

This magic or wonder is basically my fulfillment or purpose. I know my purpose now. I hope you as well.

“Up above candles oh, they flicker
Oh they flicker and they float
And I’m up here holding on
To all those chandeliers of hope.” – Coldplay

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I Dreamed In The Dream

It was around 3 o’clock when I wasn’t sure what just happened to me. When all of a sudden my surrounding became unclear that I would struggle for breath. Atleast, that’s what I felt. Then I woke up many times in different scenarios in one situation. It was very hard and my head throbbed.

This has not happened for many years and I hope it didn’t comebackfor good. The dreams– or atleast that’s what I thought they are. I had it.

I lay my smartphone on the side table by the bunk when I thought I would love to sleep again. I hoped for a brighter and energized morning before I knew I had to postpone sleep for the night and do it in the morning. Because I’m afraid it would happen again.

The execution of my fantastic waking up multiple times in along dream fooled me that I thought I was already awake only to find out that I wasn’t. The weird fact is that in the dream I know that I am not awake that I need to wake up to stop fear from getting the good of me while I’m having temporary flaccid paralysis.

Darkened images of my brother and mother in the dream took me to different places in our house. It began when I woke up because my mother slept beside me and hugged her and then I saw her eyes– icy and shiny blue. Every piece of me shivered eventhough I wasn’t cold. Fear seeped in my head because I knew she wasn’t my mother– that my mother was downstairs sleeping. She looked at me like I’ve done something terribly wrong. Like I would be scolded. That’s when I knew I wasn’t awake. Enough of the imitation I told the woman in my mind, still dreaming it.

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Then I stood up in my dream and struggled to get away from my blanket that covered my legs that’s tons and tons heavy. I made it to the floor. Then I woke up. In the dream, the impostor was gone.

I scanned my phone for messages thankful that I have finally awoken. Then I attempted to sleep again, but I wasn’t feeling the fan. I knew I wasn’t awake yet. Then I fought a sudden numbness in me. Then I woke up. Got my pillow and went to my brother’s bed. I lay beside him. Then he mumbled something like an approval its okay that I will lay my weary back beside him. He knows I’m scared. Both of us are scared in the house. Then, I realized the voice was wrong. It wasn’t his. Still, I wasn’t awake. But In my dream I was very sleepy that I fell asleep and dreamt in the dream.

I was very far away. I woke up, still beside my brother. Then he was inside a glass wall that seperated us. He said I should go to sleep. Then I remebered I wasn’t awake yet. I stood up suddenly fighting many people through my way to the light switch. But I was downstairs, my mother sleeping, I thought of lying beside her. Then I remembered I was reaching for the light switch. I was back upstairs. The people were all gone, when I turned the switch on, it wouldn’t light. Then I snored. Thanks for it I was finally awake. Its now 4 o’clock in the morning. I will wait for the sun to conquer the night. Then, I will lay flat on the bed and be safe in the light.

I will never ever sleep in the dark.

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Just The Same

Same as the dog that cried before being killed to be eaten is the cry of a pig that feared death but was slaughtered for your dinner plate.

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I Don’t Have A Bed And I Dream Of One

I will admit one thing that nobody knows until now. I have’t laid my back to sleep at home in a real bed since July of 2007. Kind of a little weird, but a fact.

So, how did this happen? Simple. I just didn’t have a bed.

There were previous beds, each one came with grey stories. They were all big and I was young at that time. But there was a time that even in high school, lying on my blue metal framed bed at night scared me. Like it would swallow me.

The first bed I remeber was on the uppder deck of a double bunk. I was six years old. I never laid my back there. I was always scared of bad spirits that can enter my body and I will not be able to escape because its high that I’d have to jump off of it or ladder it down quickly so I can go to my mother’s room. Just so you know, I always had trouble sleeping at night because of recurring nightmares that haunted me until morning.

My next bed was my grandfather’s. He’s already dead because of a heart attack when I had it. I wasn’t even scared of it. But eveytime I see it, I’d go to it and I will fall asleep for hours. And hours. Like I thought it had special powers. I remember one time I’m all ready to go to school. Then I was summoned by its softness and the calming feeling it radiates. The heavy haze by my eye lashes persisted and all of a sudden I woke up very late for school.

Then my blue bed in my sophomore year. My grandmother died in it. She died in it and I saw she was on there and how she exhaled her last breath.

Its the bed that always shook. I couldn’t even believe it. I shook even when I was awake lying down at noon, night or at three o’clock in the morning. Emerenciana Gomez, she died in it.

The last bed I had was made in Canada. It was a sturdy bed that I loved. It was a solo so it was just wide enough. I had it in the first half of 2007. It’s cool. But its a bed that also shook. I asked one of the uncles that brought it home and told me it was a bed from a hospital in North America. Wow. So, many people died in it, huh? And it shook and something knocks on the headboard like at anytime.

Then, they tore it apart and got the plies of wood for another woody project at home. So its over.

Then I had to sleep in sofas, on the floor, connected dining seats, under the dining table, under another bed and all.

Then I ran away from home. I had a car where I slept most of the time, then atthe RPN 9 news office inside a scary old UMatic tapes library.

Then, all of us at home didn’t have beds. Since 2009 when Ondoy’s surge devastated all of our things execept for our house we lost them. We’re back to zero. Now we’re at 40 percent recovery. We never bought beds since then.

We do not want any bed. We do not need any bed. Are we all gonna die bedless?

Oh, God help me get a bed that didn’t make me sleep for too long or shook on its own so I can get off this built-in table by the white wall.

Here’s a collection of photos where sometimes I desperately wanted to lie down anywhere public. Even if other people can see me. Lol.

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I Lost A Job And A Shock Absorber

October 28 is a day I wil never forget.

In 2012, I sent my best buddy to the airport because he will live in Canada. It was like I lost a part of my body.

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Then on my duty at work the night that same day was my last day too with RPN 9 as a news reporter. A job I loved and never felt a need to change it.

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It’s been a year. Didn’t expect it could be that quick, but the memories will remain. That I’m sure.

Can I say hard? But that’s not close to hell. I still enjoyed the hard life. I moved on and found a new job. Then, I met a few good people in a new company.

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All people are different and meeting new people will never serve replacement because the feeling given will not reciprocate what had been given in the past, but atleast its new and could be liked as much.

So people, move on with glory. Like I did.

It’s my brother’s birthday too. Too many things for this day.

I love to live loved. And I know I am.

Marching On!

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Magnanakaw Kong, Oh! Mga Kapitbahay Ko Po

Malala pa sa kapalaran ng isang taong-grasa ang dinadanas ng aming pamilya sa patuloy naming pagtira sa Purok Tres Malanday, Marikina City.

Tinawag na nga itong Bulok Tres ng nanay ko dahil sa kakaibang ugali ng karamihan sa mga naninirahan dito. Sila ay mga inggitero at inggitera, adik at mga sugarol, magnanakaw at mga pokpok o callboy ang iba.

Nais lang nila, makakain sa araw araw. Masahol pa sa mga garapatang sumisipsip ng dugo ng gutom na asong galisin sa maduming lansangan.

Ang unang pagkakataon na kami ay maperwisyo ay nang magkaroon ng big bike ang step-father ko. Sa unang gabi ng pagparada nito sa tapat ng aming bahay, may naghiwa agad ng upholstery ng seat cover nito. Bukod sa halaga ng pagpapa-repair, nawalan kami ng ilang araw na tulog dahil sa pangamba kung ano pa ang gagawin ng gumawa nito sa aming bahay at bukod pa dito, sa aming mga buhay.

Kinabukasan, natanggal ang side mirror nito. Panibagong pagpakumpuni.

I-una nyo pa pala sa listahan ang pagkakabasag ng bintana namin ng may mang-bato nito dahil sa may kotse kame. Kotse palang ito ng aking amain na binasag ang windshield. Lubos ang inggit ng mga masasamang loob sa aming mga pag-aari.

Ang sana’y aming munting paraiso, tuluyan ng nagmistulang wagas na paghihirap sa aming mga munting katauhang nagsusumikap lamang na umunlad sa tamang paraan.

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Ang kotse kong nakaparada lamang sa tapat ng aming bahay ay nagkaroon ng malalim na dent sa hood nito. Ilang buwan ang nakaraan, binasag na din ang windshield nito. Ang bonus ko sa trabaho, sa repair na naman napunta.

Ibinenta na lamang namin ang lahat ng mga sasakyang ito para na din maiwasan na lang ang gulo. Wala naman kaming malilipatang bahay dahil napakamahal ng bagong bahay o kahit pa second-hand. Bukod pa dun ay mahihiwalay kami sa mga kapatid ng aking ina na madalas nyang puntahan sa kanilang mga bahay.

Ang pinakabago naming karanasan sa mga galamay ni Satanas ay patungkol sa akyat-bahay gang style na pagnanakaw samin. Inakyat ang bahay namin at nakakuha sila ng dalawang cellphones at ang aking travel wallet na naglalaman ng lahat ng identifications ko tulad ng driver’s lisence at voter’s I.D kabilang ng aking mga bank cards.

Sumalakay ang mga ulupong nang wala ang aking step-father at ako naman ay nasa trabaho.

Tanging ina ko lamang ang nasa bahay at ang kapatid ko. Hindi sila parehas na nagising ngunit kung nagising sila, marahil ay patay na sila ngayon. Marahil ay i-ni-spray-an sila ng pampatulog. Maging ang aso kong tamad, walang malay ng maganap ang buong insidente.

Nagising nalamang sila ng may magsisigaw at kumalampag sa pinto ng aming bahay.

Naipadakip ng nanay ko ang dalawa sa di-umano’y apat na suspect sa naganap na pagnanakaw sa aming munting paraiso.

Si France, dies-y-siete na binatilyo at isang dalawampu’t-limang taong gulang na si Maksi.

Inamin nila ang ginawang krimen. Ang pre-meditated robbery. Ayon sa bumayo ng aming bahay para magising ang nanay ko, armado ng mga patalim ang mga ito. Handang kumitil ng buhay. Buhay na sa amin na kung may magigising at aantala sa ginagawa nilang kasamaan ay handang papatay.

Naipasok ng ilang minuto sa Malanday PCP si France and Maksi. Lubos ang hingi ng tawad ng mga ito. Wagas na tila tagas ng tubo ng MWSS ang luha ng mga pabayang ina nila. Pa-pogi naman ang mga batugang tatay nila.

Dahil sa mag-isa lamang ang nanay ko sa presinto, nilito daw siya ng mga ito. Pinalabas si Maksi at na recover ang ninakaw na cellphone ng nanay ko. Wala na ang memories sa memory card nito at wala na din ang sim card. Malinaw na isa siya sa kriminal.

Pinakawalan si France dahil dalawang araw pa bago ito maglabing-walong taong gulang, ngunit ang sabi ay ididiretso daw sa lokal na tanggapan ng DSWD.

Si Maksi, tuluyan ng pinakawalan. Si France at Maksi, nagiinuman sa tapat ng bahay namin. Parang walang nangyari. Nakalapanginig ng laman. Nakakapagpakulo ng dugong sa galit ay malapot pa sa bangkay ng isang taong linggo ng patay.

Pansin ng nanay ko, lubos ang pangunguna ng isang barangay tanod sa desisyong dapat maganap. Kakilala pala ng mga hampas lupang hindi marunong magbasa at magsulat na mga magnanakaw ang tanod na ‘yon.

Hindi naman na naibalik ang cellphone pa ng aking kapatid. May halaga din naman ang mga ito. Kaya nga ninanakaw.

Hindi na naibalik ang mga I.D.s ko. Wala na ito lahat. Uulit na naman ako sa umpisa.

Sabi ng PCP, dadaklutin ang mga ito kung hindi maibabalik ang mga ninakaw sa loob ng dalawang araw.

Pagbalik namin hindi na daw pwede ang re-arrest. Magsampa nalang daw kame ng demanda.

Ngayon, pagala-gala pa din ang apat na ito. Dalawa sa kanila, kapitbahay namin. Na lubos na biniyayaan ng maling katapangan.

Oh, Diyos ko, tulungan ninyo kami na ihatid ang mga kriminal na ito sa hustisya ng bayang Pilipinas, oh ang aming mga kapitbahay!

-Wakas-

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