Right now, I’m staying at a friend’s place in Makati. And I’m starting to like it a lot. When I was living in Manila, I pretty much stayed within the vicinity of San Juan. We moved around a lot as a family but because we liked the area, we always stayed near the San Juan area. The only time this changed for me was the two years I spent living in Eastwood with my sister around 2008 to 2010 and in 2012 when I moved back to Manila from my stay in Bacolod as I was recovering from my second bout of meningitis where I stayed in Eastwood with my brother and Dad.
And no matter what you say about Eastwood, it isn’t that far from San Juan, if you really think about it. It’s only the traffic of the city that makes everything so far away from each other.
Staying here, though, in Makati has opened up my eyes about how I live and the sort of opportunities that are available to me. People always say that line: location, location, location. I always stayed in San Juan because it was what I knew and my family was nearby and it felt safe. And now that I think about it, it’s because it was familiar that it felt safe.
Living here for the past two visits back to the city has opened up my mind about what the city really offers and what I do just to travel from place to place for work. I love that what I do defines me. I don’t think that it’s important. I recognize that some people work just to pay the bills but their lives are the things they do outside their work. There are people like that and I respect that.
But I am a writer and I’m proud of it and I love being one and it’s what I do to pay the bills and it’s also an integral part of who I am as a person.
As a freelancer, I go from place to place and I always figured that being in San Juan meant I was in the center of the city. But I feel like I know this city so well that I know when and how to travel to and fro from place to place and now that I’m without a car of my own again, I’ve returned to my practical mindset and I know exactly when to leave and how to leave — by taking an Uber, a jeep, or the MRT — because I know when it gets bad and when it is free and loose.
I went to UP to catch some films the other day and I left at the right time, got on a train and it was empty. By the second stop, I was already seated because the train was that empty. Going home, I took an Uber and it was pretty inexpensive because the film ended at night and even if I was going from Quezon City back to Makati, at that time of day on a Monday, the streets were clear and I was home in less than an hour and spent just a little over a hundred bucks because of Uber Pool.
God bless Uber Pool, by the way.
If I ever get back, I think this is where I should be. I have family in San Juan but I have a larger support system here. I have about 9 friends living walking distance from each other and some of them, freelancers like me, so time is not an issue. I love my brother very much but he is highly in demand at work, and so is his wife, and they have two children. I know I can count on them when I need them but they have more important priorities and I want them to be present for those things. I can see them on the weekends where traveling there won’t be so tough.
But so far, all my work is here and if I do have work in another part of the city, I would be traveling against the traffic. During the day, everyone goes to Makati that leaving Makati is always less stressful and then vice-versa when the work day ends.
It’s something to think about, really. I’m happy for this opportunity. I am making better decisions for a possible future. It’s always better to have more experience and to be better informed about these things. About anything, really.