My Definition of A Bad Day

Monday, July 09, 2007

Serious mode again.

For those of you who've been around long enough you might remember a little article about having my phone stolen. One year since that event, it almost happened again. I'm writing th is article because I know I'm bound to forget this night very soon, just like the other time, and the only way I can remember is by writing it down here. Maybe you can learn a thing or two as well if you read.

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The attempted mugging happened around 845pm. I boarded a Baclaran-bound jeepney at the corner of Pedro Gil and Taft Avenue. I always went home with my officemate Billy and tonight was no exception. Upon boarding, I sat at the left side of the Jeep with Billy to my right and we casually talked. After a few minutes, another guy boarded and sat beside me. Effectively I already had somebody to my left and my right.

After the jeepney stopped at the next corner (I can't remember the name of the street), around 6 guys started boarding. One of the guys wearing cargo pants ran to my side and pushed the guy to my left. It's important to note that I noticed that they boarded in almost military-like fashion, they knew to well where to sit. Normally when you ride a jeep you start measuring where there's still space, these guys didn't even so much as stop to look.

I began to notice that the man in front of me was eyeing me once too often. The guy to my left side on the other hand was already raising serious red flags by squeezing himself between me and the guy to his right (there was a spot on the right side of the jeepney). At this point I remember the last pickpocketing that happened to me. I remembered the feeling - he was invading my private space a few inches too much for comfort. What I did next was instinctive. I placed my left hand beside me and the guy in the cargo shorts. I started wishing I was just paranoid.

Then he noticed my hand. I noticed he looked at it and he looked at me. I turned away. He took his cellphone out of the cargopockets. Nobody places cellphones in the cargo pockets of shorts - walking around will slam with with your knees. My suspicions deepen. He unlocked the nokia and then locked it again, then he put it back on the pocket. I felt his hand brush against my protective hand when he got the phone and when he returned it. Instinct told me the moment my hand retracted, I'll lose my phone.

The guy shoved his body nearer and told me "alisin mo yang kamay mo, nakakasikip." The guy in front of me looked a bit too edgy. I retracted it a bit and placed my hand in my pocket. it no longer protruded but it effectively blocked his way of slashing or pickpocketing without me noticing.

Then, he took out coins in his pocket. I've seen this modus operandi already, not to mention my other officemate, owner of Macuha.com has already experienced it before. I almost predicted what was to happen next.

One of the coins fell, not surprisingly enough, under my legs. The seat had plywood perpendicular to the floor so it was impossible for the coin to go under my seat, nonetheless it was under my feet. The guy commanded me to retrieve the coin. I said "Asan?"

"Sa ilalim mo!" he said, very interested in how I'd react. Too interested. I didnt take my hand off from my left pocket but bent down. I knew if I got that coin with my left, my pocket would expand enough for a snatch but my right was too out of the way to be used. I said I couldnt see it. At this point even the man in front of me was persistent that I get the coin. My friend Billy shoved the coin out of the blind position so I was able to get it with my right hand.

Strangely enough, the guy to my left still persisted that I get the coin even after I already got it. Force of habit perhaps? I showed the coin to him using my right hand "Eto na nga o!"

At that point he knew I knew what he was up to and he was pissed. "Tangina ang gulo mo, sapakin kita eh!" he said. I waited for his next move. At this point he was almost kicking me out of the seat.

Then, Billy stepped in "Tara na baba na tayo," he said. I couldn't agree more. Hell, even the guy to my left was agreeing "Onga bumaba na kayo!" He knew with us around he'd risk compromising his gig - but there were six of them, so we just got off at the next stop.

The jeep stayed for a while after we got off. I'm more than sure the driver is aware of what was happening and was waiting for the six to get off, but they didn't so he had no choice to move on. After seeing the jeep move on, I inspected my belongings - all intact.

HOLY SHIT, I told myself. I just saved myself 15k and two months of rebuilding my contacts.

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I'm not saying I handled things very well but this could happen to anybody. I'm writing this so I can remember and you can get a clue. Be alert. Be paranoid.

Welcome to the Philippines, the only Christian Country in Asia.
Beware of pickpockets.

4 comments:

rei said...

huwaaaa!

that is definitely not the ideal "bad boy" aka Robin Padilla, . (wtf) /swt


buti di sila violent na yung tipong,. err,. yay,.. awaa, . .

(paranoid, . .)

tc kuya ~ . . .

Jherskie said...

good thing that in my short stay in that area (2yrs), i didn't experience such a thing (to think i was commuting on my own).

^_^ you know what I think, these robbers are keeping track of your blog, too (sort of stalkers), and they are after your celphone because they saw you take the video of your pen lightsaber with it.

seriously, though, be careful and don't ever think that your just over-paranoid.

Anonymous said...

sobra kaba ko while reading, i thot sasaktan kayo ni billy waaaa... buti na lang di kayo nag panic and buti na lang u both know what to do. mag ingat lagi sa Malate po ha..

Rommel said...

dude that was freaky.
yeah you pick up things when it happens to you (unfortunately). good to know you didnt take out your trusty bowie knife and disembowel them suckas...

 

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