Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jeepney Chronicles: The Totoy Topak Encounter

When I first came to Cebu, my uncle's only advice was to be careful. "Daghan kaayog snatchers ug hold uppers diri day, so dili pwede magtinanga" were his exact words. Having settled here since the 1980s and having been a victim himself, he knows firsthand how dangerous the City can be especially for a sheltered DavaoeƱa.

Over the years, quite a few of the people I know have fallen prey to these Totoy Topaks. My landlady's necklace was snatched while riding a jeepney; a college classmate's ear bled when a man suddenly grasped one of her earrings; a friend went home with no wallet and a bag slashed open; and I've witnessed officemates in hysterics, while giving account of the mugging they went through. Considering all these, you'd think I would never be lax, but four years of living in relative peace makes you one. It never occurred to me that the day would come when I'd be a victim myself. Well, the thought does enter my mind occasionally but I never acknowledged the possibility which, you could say, is very foolish and somewhat arrogant for somebody who regularly commutes via PUVs.

Indeed, Monday night was an awakening of the most rude kind. It was unfortunate that I had to go through a hold up to admit to myself that I am vulnerable and that I have to be extra careful. So what were the lessons learned? For one, I will be observant and attentive to my surroundings so that in case this happens again, I will have definitive answers to questions such as "Asa man dapit nahitabo?", "Unsa may nawong sa nagkuha?", "Unsa may ilang gisu-ot?". These questions are hard enough to answer when I'm paying attention; harder still when I'm half-asleep. Another thing, I'm not bringing a bulky wallet again. Better safe than sorry, right?

The interview was a struggle. The tanods asked a lot of questions and I didn't want to answer because I was already somewhat catatonic (coping mechanism) and I blanked out (I couldn't recall our home phone number then). It's a good thing there were two of us and that my companion was a chatterbox (on hindsight, it was probably her coping mechanism). If it were just me, I doubt if they could squeeze out details.

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JAbbeRedONiON said...

sorry to hear about this reng. i remember one of our conversations about hold ups. nga unsa ta ka nga mga noid. tsk tsk tsk.

hope your okay now.

Beejing said...

Geng, I've been telling you about my close encounters and it never occured to me that it'll happen to you. We'll be careful always...that's a lesson learned.