Monday, January 14, 2008

There are Approximately 2400 Steps

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From the edge of Inviernes (M.L. Carreon, for the newer Manila kids) to my house. Yes, I counted. There might have been more, but I lost count several times.

There's something about walking at the dead of night that challenges me. My friend Jon'd probably say that it was the testosterone rush of looking over your shoulder for fear of somebody with the intent of gutting you from behind. He'd probably be right.

The risk of getting stabbed in the middle of the night increases proportionally the closer you are to old Manila; say, Pandacan is safer than Quiapo, and Sta. Cruz is safer than Tondo, or Avenida Rizal. Of course, the increments are of a very small percentage, but I think it still is worth taking note of.

One of the biggest questions about living in a city, though, is how one can survive walking home at the dead of night, considering the dangers. Well, here's a list of how anybody can increase his chances of survival in the streets of Manila at around 1AM:
  1. Never look anybody straight in the face. This is very important. One of the facts about Manila streets after 10PM is that majority of the people on the streets are either inebriated or high - or if you're really unlucky, both. My dad used to tell me off, as a teenager, about walking around the city with spiked hair (don't ask). In hindsight, I realize that he was probably right. People don't get into trouble because they look harmless - people are harassed on the streets because they look stupid or haughty, and nothing says stupid more than a friendly smile and wave at 1AM, and a split-second look can be misinterpreted.
  2. Keep your hands in your pockets. It gives the impression that you're carrying something that could remotely be used as a weapon. It also keeps your hands warm.
  3. If you can afford to walk in the middle of the street, do so. The threat of looming cars is probably one of the biggest assets you could ever rely on to save your hide at 1AM onwards. It's also rather easy to run on continuous asphalt, giving your getaway an added edge; take note, though, that this same edge could be just as beneficial to any prospective pursuers.
  4. Frown. Or scowl. And keep your body tense. This doesn't really do much to help you in a fight, but if you look like somebody who's just about to go and wrestle a Kodiak bear, even your mere presence / aura can scare away dogs.
  5. Make sure that you can defend yourself, if necessary. If you can't, proceed to kick yourself in the head. You are an idiot savant.
If you happen to be female, feel free to beat up your partner / better half upon arriving home for not accompanying you. That, or he didn't pick you up. This is a constitutional and God-given right.

And most importantly: hide anything that screams the words MUG ME from plain sight. Headphones go into the pocket. So do mobile phones. And watches. Do not display your affluence - that's tantamount to waving a red flag in front of an angry bull, to use an overused cliche.


  1. But I like walking at night with white iPods, several kilograms of jewelry and my wallet hanging out of my pants.

  2. then you are screwed. royally screwed. screwed so bad, you'd be lucky to have your penis hole's virginity intact.