Friendliness: A Pure Filipino Trademark



"I should be back home before the sun comes down," I said to myself.

A bus dispatcher on the terminal approached me, "Where are you heading,mam?"

"Baguio," I politely replied. "Where are the buses?"

"Oh, you better take the van, ma'm.  Buses will be arriving soon but you will have to wait 3 more hours before it takes off."

Okay, fine.  I motioned toward the open van, entered carefully upon seeing two passengers already sitting on the mid-part.  I was thinking that sitting at the back will give me quiet time maybe.

It was barely a second after I sat, vendors start knocking on my window. P-e-r-s-i-s-t-e-n-t-l-y.

These vendors are never gonna leave me unless I buy.  Gotta show them I bought already.  Okay, fine.  Buy and goodbye.

One by one, passengers start coming in.  Thirty minutes after, we're hitting the road. Finally.

Time for me to sleep.  In two hours, I should be where I wanna be.  Heading for the dreamland now...

Until...

"Hey,miss, care for some bread?"  My left seatmate cheerfully offered me with a big grin on her face.

"Oh no, thanks, bought some too."  Me smiling back and leaned to the other side as I try to sleep again.

Few seconds after:  "Hey you people back there, care for some bread?" A loud voice from a woman sitting two rows in front of us.

Say what now? Again?

Then another one followed!  Should I start blaming the vendors now?
 
I checked my nearby seatmates for breads on their hands.  Maybe I let these people finish offering breads before I try again to catch sleep for the Nth time.

Good, I don't see any of them with breads.  Finally now I can sleep!

Suddenly, this woman on my right side started murmuring as if talking to herself.  She was questioning the route the driver is taking. 

Oh my goodness, the driver is taking the long route! Dang! This is gonna double my expected travel time!

The other woman sitting nearby started conversing with the first woman, asking the purpose of their travel, who they gonna see on their destination and stuff.  As if it is their business.  Thank goodness I am spared, I just wanna sleep!

Until I felt an elbow slightly tapped my side as if asking for attention.

"Hey, miss, its gonna be four hours." 

In a split second I have to decide whether to curse my seatmate or sacrificingly put aside my sleepiness and join the seemingly non-sensible women talk just to kill time.

I  decided to be a good girl instead.  

One woman talked on and on about her family like I care hahaha!  What is this woman, why does she give so much information about her life to bunch of strangers like us? And why do the other women respond and give their infos back?  Ahhh.....this is the Filipina culture.....

Okay, fine.  Do they think they're the only ones who can kill time by talking? Watch me.  Am gonna join in,  not by giving personal info but by making fun of what they talk about.

Few minutes after, we were all laughing.  And the men as well.  Few minutes more and we found ourselves taking turns talking silly and making all of us laugh.

When we got to the stop over to eat, it  was as if we all rode together on that van as long-time buddies.  We ate chatting with one another and rode back offering foods to each other once again.  This time, we don't feel comfortable anymore whenever there's silence.  There would always be one who'd joke "an angel just passed by" whenever there's a dead air amongst us and we'd start laughing and talking again.

The long travel was barely noticeabe.

As we reached our destination, we all had smile on our faces, no trace of boredom or sleepiness.  We  said our goodbyes and thanked each other for the fun ride.  There was no asking of phone numbers knowing that we were all one-day-friends-by-chance only.  It just ended the way it started, with big grins on their faces.  Mine too.

As I embarked on my own, I can't help but appreciate the culture I just experienced.  It was a pure Filipino culture, not just for Filipinas but for Filipino men as well, being friendly with one another in times when its needed.  Just simply being friendly.  No suspicion, no hypocrisy, no holding back.  Simply living the moment.

Simply being friendly.  

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