I DIDN’T expect a line at the Cebu South Bus Terminal two days after Christmas. But I should have known better.
I was immediately ushered to the back of the terminal, to a waiting area under makeshift tents. Passengers sat on seats that snaked their way to the indoor pre-departure lounge.
We started playing a mock version of “trip to Jerusalem.” Every few minutes or so, we all upped and moved seats. All the scene needed was some cheesy music in the background and it would have been one heck of a party.
I know. You probably expected a rant from me.
The temptation to give in to the frustration was strong, but I knew that the bigger challenge was to rise above the occasion, especially when I had no one else to blame for my predicament but me.
I could have left in the wee hours of the morning and avoided all the fracas, but I decided to wait around noon to leave for Argao, my grandparents’ hometown. I wanted to take my time because I wanted my trip to be relaxing. I wanted my last visit for the year to be stress-free.
So buckling in the heat of the midday sun wondering what time I and my fellow passengers would finally leave was farthest from my mind.
But there I was. Trying to muster patience I didn’t know I still had.
I thought about all those commuters who were stranded for hours on the southern highway last Saturday.
Then it struck me. What was 45 minutes compared to five to 10 hours stuck in a carmaggedon?
I should count myself lucky that I wasn’t there that day. One of my colleagues was, and he ended up missing work.
He called the office to tell me that he just endured a five-hour drive from Talisay City to his house in Minglanilla. He didn’t want to brave a drive back to the city and spend another five hours on the road.
I didn’t find out what caused the gridlock until I returned to work last Tuesday.
Apparently, there were four accidents on the highway last Saturday. And, according to witnesses, there were hardly any traffic enforcers on sight.
The City of Talisay Traffic Operation Development Authority insisted that it deployed around 60 personnel to oversee the bumper-to-bumper crawl. Well, it’s their word against the netizens who said otherwise.
The case in Minglanilla was different.
The town’s police chief admitted that members of the Minglanilla Traffic Commission were having their Christmas party, which would explain why only four enforcers were reported to have been working that day.
With that said, I thought it best to keep all my true feelings inside and hope that the spirit of the season would make me forget about this minor inconvenience.