February 22, 2024

Distorted queues, a chaotic venue due to numerous baggage, empty stomachs, and an overcrowded situation to deal with – these are what my sister and I encountered on Oct. 29, at Baguio City’s Victory terminal as we traveled back to Zambales.
At 3 a.m., we headed to the terminal to secure our seats; however, we were astonished to see a large number of individuals who had been waiting there, which made our sleepy eyes roll. Days prior to when we traveled, we assumed the number of people due to the upcoming holidays; it is the primary reason why we were obliged to go to the terminal that early. Unfortunately, it was beyond our expectation that what we had thought about the number of passengers would be tripled. We were overwhelmed by what we saw, but we proceeded anyway.
As time ticked, people kept coming in. Numbers escalated in an hour until the place was no longer easy to pass by to buy food or even go to the washroom since someone might take your place, or worse, be left by the bus if you leave the row you were standing in. We had no other choice. We waited and stood in the queue until we boarded the bus while squeezing in with our fellow passengers.
I had never been on such a rough, crowded, and exhausting trip in my five years of stay in the city as a student at the University of Baguio. It was indeed a frustrating and patience-challenging situation, but for some reason, I paid no attention to it and was not bothered at all. My realizations drove me to take that experience as something to deepen my wisdom regarding the people in my surroundings and look beyond the surface of every life circumstance – something to learn a lesson from. Because if I allowed the frustration that this experience has brought me, then I would definitely be complaining about the inconveniences, uncomfortable feelings, and boredom it caused us. The whole duration of waiting should be an encounter full of stress and annoyances. I should have forgotten that there were three significant reasons why that particular trip was an extra-crowded experience. Why did everybody at the terminal, in that kind of situation, patiently buy a ticket to board a bus with an eagerness to go home, not minding the sacrificed time and hunger feeling that prolonged waiting resulted in?
First, I might not have realized that, like my sister and I, our co-passengers, too, wanted to vote on Election Day since the future of their community also depends on their chosen candidates, which will have an impact on their future lives as well. Secondly, I might have overlooked that they also wanted to visit their loved ones on All Saints Day, reminisce together with the whole family about the happy moments their departed loved ones placed in their hearts, and pray for their souls when they visit them at their respective cemeteries. Last but not least, I might also disregard the fact that we have all been hoping for a long break – an extended opportunity to relax, reconnect with our favorite company, and not think about stressful school or job responsibilities. To enjoy the true definition of vacation and take leisure in a place where our minds can encounter genuine peace. Therefore, this once-in-a-lifetime, long-weekend chance, as the third significant reason, is the best fit to implement such a yearning and prayer.