Tuesday, December 19, 2006
After the glorious sun has set in the long stretch of sea and hope of Roxas Boulevard, these children seem to dominate the city at night. There would be children in almost every spot of the metropolitan. You'd see them playing patintero with the jeepneys, carrying some things (definitely not toys) with them, not minding the fact that their lives are in big danger.
Walking barefoot amid the most perilous streets of Metropolitan Manila, they would start hopping onto jeepneys and singing out-of-tune Christmas carols to passengers inside, as if they were concert performers in the grandest auditorium. Their rugged clothes add up pity to their innocent faces, catching the attention of every passenger, and waking those who fell asleep due to the long trip. With their improvised tambourines made of cola crowns in hand, the children's little 'show' is now about to begin.
"tayo nahaaaa giliw (hah!), magsalo na tayoohoo, meron na tayong tinaahapay haat (hah!) kesohoo.. di ba nochis buenas sa gabing itooh, at bukaahas ay araw ng paskoooohoo..."
Grabbing the opportunity while the jeepneys are at full stop, they'd do this routine for six long hours until midnight, or until they have earned what they wanted. They wouldn't mind whether their songs are out-of-tune or not, still obviously they are tired of doing it everytime. Earning twenty pesos per jeepney is truly a lucky day for them, perhaps. Some would care to give a peso, but most passengers would not pay attention to their pitiful faces and look far away in the horizon until the unfortunate children have jumped off the jeepney, empty-handed.
Yes, we may be starting to feel the Christmas season but unfortunately, these children don't. When we're at the malls buying gifts for our loved ones, they are still out in the streets waiting for Lady Luck to come their way. We may be tired of shopping yet still happy because we got what we wanted, but these children aren't. They are both tired and still hungry, not only for food, but also for the love and care that they never had.
What's going to happen to them, to our so-called pag-asa ng bayan is a question, sadly, left unanswered.
*Advanced Merry Christmas, everyone.