PEOPLE wrapping up their work, students waiting for a ride outside school, jeepney barkers calling for passengers– these are the usual scenes I see outside our school after one of my night classes. For most, you can see from their faces that they had a long and tiring day.

City life is different from the province life I grew up to. People back home live a simple life; you could survive a day without a single penny in your pocket. Here in the city, however, everything is different – people live in modernity. People from all over the country come here to experience a different kind of lifestyle, but does modernity offer convenience to everyone?

One night as I was walking along the streets of Claveria, I saw people setting up their stations along the area, and women outside of clubs, bars, and videoke places wearing heavy make-up and revealing outfits. While the rest of the city has ended their business for the day, here it seems like their day has just started.

After two years staying in the city, it wasn’t the first time I encountered them. I admit the first few times were disturbing but as time passed by, it eventually became normal to me.

The current economic status of our country, the high unemployment rate, and the limited opportunities offered are few of the reasons I could think of why those people chose the life they have now. In this world where a lot of standards have been set, one may really have a hard time coping up with the rest. There is a wide gap between people who can and cannot afford modern conveniences.

Sacrifice – it’s just a word which may mean nothing for most of us, but that is how those people would describe their every night life. Before they entered that world, they already swallowed their pride. Whore, call girl, hooker, hustler? Call them whatever you want; those words no longer mean anything to them.

Like any other normal person, they, too, deserve respect. We only see their physical features; we do not know their stories. Their work does not make them less of a human being. They do not steal, kill or harm others just to survive.

City life may be filled with glitz and glamour but sometimes, we tend to keep our eyes focused on the bigger picture that we forget of the little details which also make up the picture.

For people who barely have anything this world could offer, other’s “happy hour” only means food for their families. (Marla L. Arreza)


Sunday Essays are articles written by students of Ateneo de Davao University for their journalism class under Gemima Valderrama.