Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fasten Your Seatbelts... ALWAYS

This one is both to tell you my dear readers and to remind me of that usually taken for granted reminder to always fasten your seatbelts when travelling in this country – especially if you are seated as front seat passenger of public conveyances running along the Maharlika Highway. Fasten your belts ALWAYS, and no matter what!

Here’s my little story…

We were running fast, quite fast actually… faster than the normal speed of those v-hire vans from Catbalogan to Tacloban or vice-versa. And I liked it – because I wouldn’t be late for my flight check-in again. Another passenger and I have paid extra P100 over at their Catbalogan City terminal for a special trip to the airport (but that’s another topic). Anyway, that meant our van would still empty its passengers along the streets of Tacloban and finally its Tacloban City terminal before proceeding to the airport to drop us. So, even if we were flying at about the speed of a Cebu Ceres bus hehe, I was more than smiling. Imagine, we left Catbalogan at exactly 1240NN (published departure time) and at exactly 1:58PM we were already crossing the San Juanico Bridge (the trip usually takes 2 hours, even via private vehicles)!

Entering Tacloban City, we were still zooming very fast and I was clicking pics to test how I do with my camera on shooting fast scenes.

Suddenly, an old woman crossed the road from the opposite lane to ours immediately after a jeep and an AUV passed. That, our driver did not see, and we were running fast, so that when old woman with an umbrella no less, was on our side of the road, we were zooming directly to her on a direct hit. Driver slammed his foot on the brakes, pressed on the horn continually, the old woman lifted her umbrella, stunned at the sight we were about to ram her, passengers inside our van were shrieking, my hands and the camera flew and pressed on the windshield.

Hah, van thankfully stopped at about 3 or 4 steps away from the woman or she could have splattered on the windshield. Old woman obviously shaken walked to continue crossing the street, driver shouting vindictives, my co-passengers exclaiming various thank God oh my God expressions. I? Was dumbfoundedly shocked I just sat there not moving not saying anything. A mix of ire towards the woman, our driver and a mix of OMG and thanks it did not happen were running in my mind.

Van paused in the middle of the road for a few more seconds. We caught the attention of everyone in the neighbourhood, even a policeman. But nobody moved, as “nothing happened”! Wow.

Make the long story short… when I went to the Tacloban City Airport comfort rooms, I checked to see what the burning sensation was on my right shoulder and chest, thinking my backpack sling may have scraped my skin. Lo and behold, I saw a redish sash on my skin. Obviously the marks of the seatbelt holding me still as my body wanted to fly into the windshield in that incident. Whew! What if…? OMG what if?!!! And it is not always that I buckle up when travelling in the provinces. Whew!

And good that there was no passenger seated on seat no.1 (between me and the driver) as I have not yet seen anyone who sits there and buckling up. Whew!

Again, the lesson: always buckle that seatbelt up even if other passengers might take quizzical glances at you thinking you are being ridiculous – that’s how it is in the provinces by the way. Gosh!

Who says good roads are always better?! Haha, if that highway were not fine, our van would have been crawling and the near-miss incident wouldn't have happened hahaha! Here are some pics:







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