C How They Made Me! Chapter 9

Memoirs of a Philippine Mongerer

C How they made me chapter 9:

By this time I had readjusted my body clock to a regular routine of waking up around 10 AM so the early morning start of 8AM required to get us to the domestic airport was a big call. I have never been one for alarm clocks as I have always had the ability to wake up at a certain time no matter how little sleep I have had previously. That night I had a great session with Hilda who was just getting better and better as she grew more comfortable with me and even though I was dog tired at the ending, I managed to call reception and ask for an early morning wake up call.

The wake up call came at 7 in the form of a gentle knock at the door followed by an annoying phone call both of which jarred me awake but failed to rouse the soundly sleeping Hilda. At the time I was amused by Hilda’s ability to sleep through just about anything but I was soon to find out this and the ability to sleep anywhere under any conditions, are common traits amongst Filipinas. I stumbled into the shower and let the water pour over my body and into my eyes causing me to slowly wake up and get ready to face yet another exciting day in the Philippines. After that I tried to gently rouse Hilda but there was just no way this was going to work so while she slept I gently slipped down her panties, spread her legs and climbed on board for another round. Needles to say my wakeup method was successful and within half an hour we were downstairs in the Mayfair’s courtyard tucking into a hearty breakfast prior to heading down to Boracay.

After breakfast we sauntered outside to be greeted by the guard who by this time knew me well and I asked him to get us a taxi to the domestic airport. It took him about ten seconds as he walked into the middle of Mabini street and with total disregard for the oncoming traffic proceeded to blow his whistle and hail a cab. The cab pulled over and the guard took our baggage placed it in the taxis boot then told the driver in an authoritative tone, “domestic airport sigi”.

The drive to the airport was interesting because at this stage I had never really ventured further than the Mayfair hotel in Mabini street and to avoid the traffic the driver took some shortcuts through what I would have described back then as slums. I had been to India before the Philippines and although similar in many ways this was also totally different. As we drove through some of the back streets on the way to the airport it seemed that everywhere I looked. There were contradictory sights dilapidated squatters shacks with rusted corrugated iron roofs next to modern freshly painted houses, snot nosed kids next to girls dressed in expensive high heels and skin tight jeans and the latest fashion tops, old and young women washing clothes in a large basin while on the other side of the street raw sewerage ran freely. As we passed through the kaleidoscope of contradictory images I simply sat back and absorbed it all thinking how different the sights and sounds were from what I had been grown up with. For me this was an eye opener but when I looked over at Hilda to express my interest I saw that was soundly asleep, obviously for her sights such as these were nothing new.

After about an hour of traveling we arrived at the Domestic Airport and the driver pulled up besides the glass doors and proceeded to remove our luggage from the boot. Once our luggage was safely unpacked I paid the driver exactly what was on the meter plus gave him a 50 peso tip because he had been honest and put on his meter rather than try to demand an exorbitant price because I was a foreigner. Coming from Sydney I was not used to having to tip taxi drivers but I soon learnt this was not Sydney and tips are very much expected and form part of Philippine etiquette.

We proceeded through the glass doors and then I just stood there quite amazed by the chaotic scene that lay before my eyes. There were literally people everywhere and like so much of the Philippines there was no signage to tell you where to go let alone where to check in. We stood there for about ten seconds then I felt a gentle tug on my shirt and looking down I saw Hilda pointing to a long line of people and she innocently said, “we go there” and pointed with her lips to the longest line in the airport.

We stood in line for about half an hour then after checking in were told to take a seat and wait for our flight to be called. I sat in the white plastic chair with hundreds of Filipinos milling around me and at that moment it seemed that I was the only foreigner for miles around. This was a disconcerting feeling but I consoled myself by thinking, “what the heck you came here partly because it is so different from your own country so relax and go with the flow”. Best of all I had a gorgeous Negros girl beside me and I was looking forward to a few happy days living the beach-bum lifestyle together with my little brown Filipina. As we sat there I noticed Hilda was behaving like a diminutive little brown mouse and when I asked her what’s wrong she just smiled and replied, “nothing wrong” then ducked her head again as if trying to hide in her top.

Over the years I was to come across situations such as this many times and realize that the girl I was with was actually ashamed to be with me because people were staring at them and making comments about her being a prostitute or a girlfriend who only went with me for money. This was my first experience with Filipino judgmental society but being a new comer I had no idea what was going on so I just put my arm around Hilda to comfort her and politely smiled at the passersby.
After about half an hour the people around us proceeded to rise and head towards a glass door in the far right hand corner. I had not heard any announcements however I just had a feeling these people knew something we didn’t so I grabbed Hilda and said come on honey we catch the plane now. When we got to the glass door an attractive air hostess asked to see our tickets which I presented on behalf of myself and Hilda and after giving them a cursory glance she waved me on with instructions to proceed through the glass door.

As we opened the glass door a wave of heat hit us from the tarmac and made me realize the airport inside was actually air-conditioned quite nicely. We strolled across the tarmac for about two hundred yards lugging our hand luggage then proceeded to ascend the portable steps that led to the planes open back door. Just as we did this for some reason I was reminded of Elvis Presley standing on steps like these in a studded white jump suit waving to adoring fans. To this day I cannot say why I was reminded of this image and can only assume for some reason it had made an impression on me in my youth.

As we slowly ascended the stairs I noticed Hilda was a little nervous and I asked her what the problem was and she replied I never been plane before. Since I had grown up traveling on planes most of my life it had never occurred to me that other people would be so afraid of flying so to reassure I said something predictably inane like, “don’t worry honey there is nothing to be afraid off I have been on hundreds of flights and never had a problem”. This seemed like the right thing to say but it didn’t seem to reassure Hilda in the slightest and when we entered the plane she sat down in her seat and attached herself to my arm never letting go until we landed 32 minutes later.

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