Invoking Malu Fernandez

I have never been to Divisoria. I hate everything about the place. I hate huge crowds, I hate the scorching sun and I hate the putrid stench of the trash infested streets, but I decided to give the place a chance because my marketing group needed to buy raw materials in bulk for our marketing bazaar and my team insisted on saving money. I, on the other hand, didn’t get their logic for “saving money”. Who knew this slight disagreement would set the mood in a magnified way.

We decided to meet at 7 am in the morning. I had a vehicle prepared already for us, a brand new Honda Pilot. It’s not the best, but will do for this sort of trip. Unfortunately, no one bothered to check the freaking plate number. “Color Coding yung honda mo!” A friend blurted out. There was a second option, it was an Isuzu, and it made me squirm. It reeked of old fabric and moldy plastic. I had to empty out a bottle of Bvlgari Blu. Thank God I had a spare bottle with me.

I had to prepare a lot of stuff for this “undertaking.” I bought with me a big bottle of alcohol, face towel, extra shirt, sunglasses, handkerchiefs, ipod, and Valium. After a whole hour of preparing (on my part), we were ready to go. It was a long trip, and thanks to the portable DVD player I brought along with me, it was not that boring.

When we finally got to Divisoria, we could not get a parking spot and traffic was horrible. It was because of all the people crossing everywhere and the different modes of transportation. There were Jeepneys with drivers who would endlessly honk for invisible passengers, the tricycles that would transport items bigger than themselves, the taxicab that was a rusting oasis in the heat, and of course the pedicabs, that can be seen everywhere but only a handful use them. We decided to step out of our car and just let the driver look for a parking spot. The moment I took one step out of the cool but barely comfortable car, I wanted to get back in. I was simultaneously struck by the shocking sight, smell and sound of the space.

“Handa ka na bang maglakad?” my teammate asked

“La-Lakad?” I stammered. “Baka gusto mong maglakad pauwi ng Pampanga?!”

The sun bore down on me like it had a grudge. I reluctantly strode with the group, and showed that unwillingness by taking my sweet time. Everywhere, people were shouting and clapping. “Dito ang pinakamura!”, “Pili napo kayo!”, “ano po ang sa inyo?!”(I doubt it ever persuaded anyone). After 3 hours of non-stop walking and buying stuff later, my hush puppies were no longer quiet, they were barking mad. And things weren’t about to get any better. In just a few minutes, dark clouds loomed above our heads, and before you could say “F#ck Divisoria!” it started to pour. An umbrella was no where in sight (that was the one thing I didn’t bring!). In the vast vicinity of the war-torn land called Divisoria, we were stuck in the section where no one was selling umbrellas.

So we were stuck by the sidewalk along with other sweating stranded citizens without any signs of the rainstorm stopping anytime soon. A can of sardines had more elbow room than we did, and everyone’s smell was creating a whole new fierce odor. There was this lady (with thick make-up and bad hair) who kept spraying herself with an imitation perfume that made the pungency even worse. There’s nothing worse than the smell of sweat, rain, street puddle and cheap perfume.

After 45 minutes, the rain subsided, and I decided to quit and head for the car (the lesser evil). I didn’t care if my teammates wanted to keep going and battle their way through the traffic and the people. After an extra 30 minutes of waiting, my teammates finally arrived and we finally went home. We were all knocked out cold during the trip home because of exhaustion. Before completely going home, I dropped off my teammates and passed by a mall to buy some stuff to nurse my physical and mental aches (Starbucks, DVDs and Teriyaki Boy).

This was one of the more painful experiences in my life which I will definitely tuck away and never ponder on again. Just a few more hours of relaxation and I’ll feel better…

NOTE: This is a parody on Malu Fernandez’s article (mine is not as "priceless" as hers). This is only 40% factual.