Since February of this year, I’ve been dividing my time between the cities of Manila and Makati and the quieter side of the South in Alabang. Both places have their pros and cons. City life is more expensive, but much more convenient. Convenient in a sense that stores selling basic needs and extra wants are just a ride away. Convenient and expensive since I am able to go out more often and until later times, thanks to my flat’s relatively close distance to places like Makati and BGC (aka Boni High or the Fort. They’ve rebranded with that acronym). For a while, I was hesitant in going out more often, despite the convenience of all these places worth exploring. But events like a batchmate’s sudden death and the devastating earthquake in Japan, made me realize that life is just too short to be way too kuripot (Filipino for ‘stingy’) on such moments. Like my friend Amanda told me a week after the death, “I didn’t even know she was sick. So we have to catch up with each other more often okay?” And she’s right. Here are all these people I live close to, along with these culinary delights, infectious DJ mixes, and other places that are begging to be visited. Each are feats of human intelligence and order, it would be a waste not to enjoy them with people we cherish.
The con of city life is the price of these forms of enjoyments. Living on your own has the perks of being able to move at your own time, but most definitely not within a limitless budget. There are things I’ve had to give up, but I’m blessed to still get a little help from the family. Although I’ll have to work on not getting to overwhelmed with everything that has to be done and the people that have to be seen. Spend wisely, save enough. Balance is forever the key.
Despite the need for balance, city life is busy. It never stops being busy, even at 3am (I wake up to karaoke at midnight, and I’m on the 25th floor). There is overpopulation all over the place, hours of traffic jams, trains stopping at rush hour, speeding cars on pedestrian lanes and strange scents along sidewalks. One cannot enjoy a breeze until night time, but that wind is mixed with the choking smell of smog. I consider the pollution a bigger con than the steep city prices. Which is why I’m always excited to go back to the South.
Down south, the air is cleaner, cars slow down to let people pass, and a calming silence abounds. The energy isn’t non-stop like the city, but it lets one sit back and relax. Back home, I can put my thoughts together without worrying about crossing a street or how long the traffic will last. It’s also where my parents are complete, and where the other half of my friends come home.
But the distinct difference between the city and suburban life was even more pronounced during the passage of Ayala Alabang’s Ordinance 01-2011. At first it was just a laughing matter in the media, then it turned into an ugly collision between people labeled as “anti-life” and “pro-life.” My stand deems me “anti-life.” The division is pronounced in the banners that state “Yes to Life, No to Ordinance 01-11” or “Support Life. Yes to Ordinance 01-11.” As my friend Kristine commented, it felt like walking into another world.And it certainly does, as I’ve been able to observe more banners in the last two days, and was surprised/glad to see residents in yellow at the gate on a Saturday morning. But how long will this last? Kristine’s joke on the banners says it all: “so considering your stand, you can’t borrow sugar from no one?” The solution is simple: do not implement an ordinance that isn’t legally sound in the first place, and focus the barangay’s energies on more pressing problems (ie drug abuse among the youth residents).
City life may have no street decorum, but I would take its open mindedness any day. Because in the city, anyone is welcome, but it treats everyone equally…bitterly most of the time, especially for those in the more overpopulated areas. And in the crowded streets, there is no room for unnecessary statements supporting a bogus ordinance. Just a life to lead and opportunities to seek.