[Note : Nothing posted here that’s clever or profound (not that we’ve ever posted anything such), just thought you might want to know what I’ve been up to. Thanks in advance for reading! ]
I’M ONLY doing this because I might forget later, and it might be worth doing for posterity’s sake.
I’m not sure about others, but the things that stand out every time I go home are, in no particular order, the length of travel time, the people I met, and how much weight I gained. And since my current trip home isn’t over, I can only tell you about the first of three.
The trip home was one of the shortest in the six-plus years I’ve been commuting between Wellington and Manila. Only two years back, I spent nearly six hours in Singapore, and so anything after that was a short wait. Indeed, my bottom had hardly warmed the seat after going round mall-ish Sydney Airport when the boarding time advice for the flight to MNL appeared on the board. Total waiting time was maybe 2 hours and change, not bad.
I’m not exaggerating, but between the perfume counters, bookshops and fast food kiosks, I saw nearly four-fifths Asians manning the trenches. And without asking you, I know you guessed right, it was Chinese and Pinoys hawking the duty-free, ultra flashy goods. As usual I’m biased, but in an English-speaking country, desperately needing staff for first class retail points of sale, our kabayan lord it all over other salespeople. Nothing personal.
We also shared the flight from New Zealand with the Kiwi girls’ volleyball team, nearly all white and hardened from training. Nobody paid much attention to them, but they were quite jolly and well-mannered. A few days later I saw them in the papers doing battle against rival Aussies. Hope the Kiwis won. (After the Pinays of course.)
I was also mildly surprised that nobody clapped or applauded the pilots when we landed at NAIA. It doesn’t happen everytime, but particularly when the flight is full of OFWs and not just migrants (say when the flight is from Singapore), each trip home might be from a different workplace and so it’s always a special experience for the uring manggagawa. This time, everyone just wanted to get out of the plane.
I was happy for two things : although the plane was Australia’s flag carrier (o sige na nga, Qantas!), more than one of the flight attendants was Filipina and was therefore very handy for the older passengers who were comfortable in the mother tongue; and all the reminders like to please pay attention to the safety briefing, when meals were to be served and when to fasten (and unfasten) the seat belts were in of course, Tagalog as well as English. (Maybe next time there will be Bisaya and / or Ilokano translations too.)
I almost forgot. I’m not 100% sure if it’s my imagination, but because we were riding in a plumper and more powerful plane (a 737 I think) the travel time was cut by nearly 20%. I know this because I watched only three episodes of House of Cards, an awesome political drama starring Kevin Spacey, and read maybe half an hour’s worth of Game of Thrones 3 (A Storm of Swords, half of which was already adapted into Season 3 of the similarly named TV series) and before I realized it, the captain was already announcing our descent to Ninoy Aquino International.
There. Hopefully next time I can tell you about the rest of our trip, which was in preparation for a week of traditional mourning in the province.
Thanks for reading!