When I was in the multicab, I preferred to sit near the door since it would give me the advantage of getting some air. The man sitting beside me was somewhere his 50’s and he was holding a few plastic bags on one hand, while the other was holding on to the safety bars above the cab (so that dili ka malagput kung mukalit lang ug break or hunong ang driver). I looked around, the cab I rode in was jam-packed with tired and hungry people who were probably just like me, also straining forward to get home fast. Left with little choice, we sat there huddled uncomfortably together in dark silence. Some passengers I observed to be staring blankly, while others were trying to close their eyes, feigning sleep, probably wishing that they were already lounged comfortably in their homes.
Our route was southbound Lapu-Lapu, since I live near Bluewaters Beach Resort. When we reached exactly near MEPZ I (Mactan Export Processing Zone I), my allergies began to rev up to a higher level (itchier nose, throat and dry cough), I had to cover up at least my nose to prevent further exacerbation of my physical condition. I thought everything was okay, until I noticed the old man beside me, taking stolen looks at my face, as if he was investigating who I was. Then he began to ask his wife (seated on his left side, since was seated on his right side), “Day, baho diay ko ug ilok?” I don’t know how I managed to listen to their conversation, but I guess it more or less sounded that way. His wife shook her head and said “Dili man Dong,” yet the old man was still mumbling words that my hearing capacity could no longer grasp (katol akong dunggan, bungol-bungol ko tungod sa sip-on). He then pretended to scratch his left armpit, and slowly smelled the hand scratching it (hehehe… picture that out), went the same with his right armpit and smelled the hand scratching it, too. He was silent for a moment, caught a glimpse of me again, and this time, moved his head near his right armpit to smell it clearly. He shook his head, and said to himself, “Dili man baho.” Yet, he wasn’t that satisfied and went with the scratching and smelling again.
Haaayyy!!! I so wanted to tell him, “Manong, dili man ka baho ug ilok. Nagtabon ko sa akong ilong ug baba kay abog kaayo, musamot nya akong allergies.” However, I could barely speak with my condition. Paos ko, and ngu-ngo pa jud (nasal speech). Everytime I attempted to clear my throat to speak, the allergies got worse. I bet, he won’t understand if I’d utter something din naman. So, I decided to keep mum and just let him be baffled for a while.
Thankfully, a little later, he and his wife disembarked near So-ong. Finally, I’m free of his stares and wonders. I felt somehow, I learned a few lessons there. It taught me that as we prod tiredly along in our daily routine, some things could spice it up a little bit… and most of all, “trust in ourselves” so that you won’t end up like Manong, smelling his armpits over and over again. Kahibaw man diay ka nga dili baho imong ilok, then, be confident.