I thought I already experienced the worst. Traffic at major roads, long lines at train stations and the sweltering heat have been a part of my daily routine. I struggle more in travelling than in my actual work.
But this struggle turned worse as Typhoon Nona made a mess of Metro Manila the evening of Tuesday.
Last night, after I got off from work around 7 p.m., I went to SM Mall of Asia on Roxas Boulevard to meet a friend, arriving there at 8:30 p.m. My friend was not there and I decided after a while to just go home.
Heavy rain poured. I was soaking wet. While walking by the seaside, I was cursing myself. I still pushed through, however.
Around 10 p.m., I assumed that I would immediately be able to catch a ride going to Cubao in Quezon City because the mall maintains terminals for buses and other public vehicles going to the city 24/7.
There were many commuters like me waiting for a bus going north, all of us seeing nothing but heavy rain, fog, lights and other equally frantic passengers like us waiting for a ride home.
Waiting hurts but that was the only option we had that stormy night.
Thank God. Three buses arrived. People jostled for a seat. Everyone just wanted to hit the sack. Others were unlucky to get a seat and they had no choice but to stand. No one evidently wanted to commute up on his feet especially during bad weather. I was fortunate to find a seat.
I checked the time on my mobile phone and it was already 11 p.m. I could not sleep even if I wanted to. The woman beside me slept like she was at home. I was distracted by the late night news.
It was an hour past midnight. I could not believe it. We were still in the Magallanes area. I have already memorized the products sold by a shopping channel on television. My friend, whom I was trying to get in touch with after her no-show at the mall, was offline. To my relief, my pants and bag had dried up.
EDSA proved there is still the happily ever after, the ride along a major thoroughfare of
Metro Manila going smoothly on the way to Quezon City.
2 a.m. The rain stopped and I was in Cubao. There were still stranded commuters at a bus terminal and were still waiting apparently in vain for a bus that would bring them home.
The only vehicles I could see were taxis and private cars, however. I thought of taking a cab going home. Before I could decide, luckily, I spotted a jeepney.
Finally, after an hour, I arrived at our house, exhausted and starving, but nonetheless glad to be home.
Nona became a blur as I dozed off.