Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Human Rides of Sabang: A Real Shame

Some say its your ride of a lifetime, others say it is such a hassle. Many don’t like it, some call it fun. Call it anything, I don’t and won’t subscribe to it. But what can you do if you want to be in a paradise called Caramoan? Ah, feel what you must, but just live with it! As for now, there is no alternative and we are all kind of being blackmailed. Thus, no need to take pity on those men.

They had/have other choices for a livelihood, but its them who opted for this “human carrying business”. In fact, their townmates (that’s who I asked) allege they are making every effort that the situation be not improved, so they can go on with this kind of primitive-moronic kind of transportation. AND, the boatmen cooperate. Hello Cleopatra, thine times are still in Camarines Sur! Quite a backward way of doing it. And yes Larry, “somewhat barbaric” to see in these times where even the lowly flooded street gets to have a “bridge” in an instant!

And as if this “carrying business” is not ridiculous enough as it is, here’s a personal encounter:

The payment ‘scheme’
This is the most irritating part. Not that they had me, but I have witnessed these men do their thing – the ridiculous Filipino dream of becoming wealthy with what meager things they do and by taking advantage of those who they can take advantage of.

How Much?
Ask them or the boatmen how much it is to ride on any porter. NO ONE will tell you the exact rate. All they say is “kayo ang bahala”. Yes, they also know the English translation and they say “its up to you”! But if it were really up to us, try paying them one peso and they’ll raise hell as if you have stolen their wives or nipa huts!

How did I know that the going rate as of this writing is ten pesos? I asked fellow passengers. Each ‘person ride’ is just ten pesos – bata, matanda, babae, lalaki, bading, tibo, me menstruation o wala! Each bag is also ten pesos whether it be an SM shopping bag full of chichirya or a Delsey 30kilo suitcase. And by the way, if you are able to carry your bag with you and (with that) a porter still proceeds to carry you, THAT is only ten pesos!

You’d really be tempted to give more, as I was. What is a ten peso coin anyway, right? In fact, many people give twenty peso bills. Sometimes even 50. More of the feeling sorry for them than paying a fare, right? But when I learned about their crass mukhang pera attitudes, I made sure I fished a ten peso coin.

They are crooks after all
Remember the group I was traveling with? Them that chartered the boat? Here’s how they were scammed: Some of them paid P50 bills and said that was for this and that person and this and that bag. Some gave P20 mentioning the same thing. There was even a girl who gave P100 and was still expecting change. But when the boat was about to push back, all of them men down at the water were vehemently shouting in protest as if someone have spirited their wives! So, boat stalled the push back and the commotion ensued – porters demanding payment from those that they carried.

Irritated, I entered the picture and picked three of the group members. First I pointed to one girl and loudly asked “sino nagdala sa babaeng ito”? A man raised his hand and shouted “ako”! He was saying more things so I glared at him and barked SHUT UP MUNA, OKAY?! Next I pointed to the guy who paid P50 and shouted “sino ang nagbitbit sa lalaking ito, ang binayad nya singkwenta”? No one answered, so I continued hollering “ano lumipad sya dito? Eh di naman sya nabasa so hindi sya lumangoy mag-isa, di ba? Next I pointed to the girl who paid a hundred peso bill and shouted, “asan na yun nagdala sa batang ito?” then the girl followed that with “one-hundred binayad ko, kung walang sukli para sa amin na lahat yun, siyam kami”. Others in the group started to also raise their protestations since they also paid on their own.

But I managed to shout loudest saying “kung talagang niloloko kayo ng mga pasahero papuntahin nyo dito ang Mayor at Chief of Police ng bayang ito dahil ang alam namin niloloko nyo kami. Di ba kayo nahihiya, ang tingin ng mga turista isa kayong grupo ng mang-gagantso? Bakit ayaw lumutang yun mga nagdala sa mga batang ito? Siyam sila, plus limang bagahe, total na binayaran ng grupo aabot na ng 320, naniningil pa kayo"? One of them thugs shouted back at me saying “ang sa amin, sa amin, ang sa kanila, sa kanila”! Then other porters joined in their many things to say. Unperturbed, I shouted again saying “iisa ang uniform nyo, ibig sabihin iisang organisasyon kayo. Iharap nyo dito lahat ng nagbitbit sa mga batang ito at limang bagahe nila, pag wala sila in 5 minutes tatawagan ko ang governor ng probinsyang ito para siya ang pumunta dito at mag-ayos nito’. I fished my phone from my pocket.

There was a sudden silence. One boatman approached one of the porters and said something we could not hear. No one of them said anything and we were just surprised the boat started to push back. Me and the group were still even standing at the bow section of the boat so boatman said “okay na po yun, umupo na kayo, paalis na tayo”.

Lesson: if you are traveling as a group, ensure that each member has a ten-peso coin and an extra 10-peso coin for each bag that you will let these assholes carry.

As I said above, no need to take pity on these idiots. If you know the story about their existence as “human carriers” there is nothing to take pity about. They are just lazy men who want to collect easy cash everyday so they can buy rhum or red horse – to the Caramoan visitors’ inconvenience. To hell with calling it a ‘livelihood program’. The Philippine government collects taxes from its people to build transport infrastructures – even if it means building a kilometer-long pier. And that includes correcting an already built pier if indeed it is unusable during lowtide AND/OR apprehending boatmen who collude with these bastards by docking at the beach instead of the built pier.

The most important thing to remember is: the definition of travel nowadays does not include being carried on the shoulders of smelly lazy scammers. WHICH should be observed by the officials of Sabang, San Jose, Camarines Sur instead of making those men wear uniforms so it can be called a “livelihood program”. I call it organized crime.

So folks, remember: prepare a 10-peso coin until such time that the San Jose, Camarines Sur government realizes they have a battalion of scammers at Sabang masquerading as kind people doing you a favor by carrying you towards a boat. Its all a scam.

For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15
16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30


  1. Good to know. Thanks. I think i'll wait until they start using the pier.

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