Masked in Hell

Visit our country. Open your hotel room’s television to check out for the latest local news. And when you finally have done it, do not anymore be surprised with what you might see.

The Philippines, while being described figuratively as the Pearl in Orient Seas, prides itself for its long tradition of corruption. And as part of this crocs-inspired culture, let me introduce to you, dear strangers, a city where I first gave something to contribute to Earth — an addition to the exponential growth of world’s population — and also where I currently lay my body to hibernate for years: Makati City.

While Dan Brown through his novel, Inferno, described the country’s political capital, Manila, as gates of hell, I would describe my dear city, the deemed financial capital, as one that is masked in hell. No, I am not describing it as torrid as if you were already experiencing the extreme temperatures inside the future lake of fire and sulfur. I am not also telling you to dislike the historic Pasig River, which streams across its map and of course is now polluted and as dirty as the recent politics.

But beware, you might die since crocodiles are everywhere. Of course, I am not talking about literal death. Just be aware of the current system — bribery plus fake biddings plus ghost employees.

Sometimes, I blame the world for throwing and disposing all the scumbags at my place. Well, I have no choice, but that’s silly. If you want to be rich like the Ayalas and Gokongweis, put your business along the streets of Makati Avenue and Ayala Avenue. Whenever you go out of your office, watch the street children pulling wooden carts, begging for money and inhaling liquids from the inside of a tiny plastic bag. Oh, I forgot the other part of the culture: when the traffic light orders us to stop, we will defy the rule and then rush, crossing the street, aware but never minding the dangers we might face.

The strangest thing for a visitor? Various techniques of snatchers or thieves, such as those being used by dura-dura (saliva) gang and akyat-bahay (climb the house) kids. Try also our local street foods if you want to get any of these three: Hepatitis A, B, or C.

But sometimes, experiencing a bit of hell means tasting a lot of heaven.

Welcome. And enjoy.

Welcome, Stranger. I think I violated the Prompt’s rule. But I don’t mind, anyway.


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