“Don’t be a killjoy now!”
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You board the bus and you already miss...
...your mom, your home.
But this is what you have to do now.
The city never seemed like a possibility...
All the dreams you had for yourself and for your family can finally come true.
Your parents’ dream—farm full of chickens and pigs?
New shoes for your eldest?
A pair of eyeglasses for your second child?
Even as spare.
School supplies for your third?
Right around the corner.
Enough infant formula for your youngest?
It’s all here.
You arrive at the station.
First thought: Where to stay?
Makati? Too expensive!
Quezon City? Too crowded!
"Excuse me, you seem lost. Can I help you?"
An old lady approaches you and introduces herself.
“From the province? Hope you're ready for the city life. It’s a bit different from what you're used to.”
You ask, "Where’s a good place to start life here?"
“I can take you to where I live. There's a great sense of community there. Caligtangan’s crowded but it’s home.”
You know you could make it work.
You can make anything work.
Everything is possible.
The barriers have finally disappeared.
Move to the City.
Get a house for you and your kids.
Get a job.
Provide your kids what they need
Caligtangan: Great sense of community.
Don’t know anyone.
One-storey, 14 sqm with no bathroom
Low-paying, weird hours.
Barely getting by.
Spend it all on rent and utilities.
Bedrock of drugs—common target for police raids.
You wake up.
Sound of roosters.
Just like yesterday...
It's another day for you to look for work before dinnertime. You prepare breakfast. Again.
You empty a can of sardines. Again.
You feel guilty. Again.
you have no other choice, it's all you can afford.
You ask your kids,
"What do you want for breakfast?"
“How about luncheon meat?"
“Corned beef would be good!"
You place sardines on the table.
It's the old lady you met near the bus station.
What a nice surprise!
"Can you come by our house tomorrow?
Wash our clothes.
For a special occasion."
It's been 5 years.
You'd like to think—this old lady is your longest friend. But most of your relationships in Caligtangan are nothing but transactional.
You sell food on the side, too.
You’re inviting and you strike conversations with your customers as they eat. Like how it is in the province. But here, you’re not really sure if you can consider any of them your friends.
A few people come by where you sell food. They ask how things are doing but it’s usually out of courtesy.
A girl in the group asks:
"Hey, why don’t you join us for my birthday party later?"
Are we even friends? You ask yourself.
“We’ll have so much fun!”
You never had the time to have fun
because your kids always needed you.
Maybe it’s okay—
you remember your eldest will be home early to take care of them.
Just for today.
“We know how hard you’re working and we think you need to take a load off.”
But you’ve never been to a birthday party before, let alone in the city.
You don’t know what to expect.
What if you make a fool out of yourself?
The group eggs you on to come tonight.
You have no choice but to say yes.
Today is the first day you have ever been invited to a party in your 5 years in Caligtangan.
Your children are the only people you connect with in the community.
You are longing for more relationships here.
You long for friendship.
These are your avid customers. What if they stop coming back if you say no?
You prepare for the party… and you don't know—
How to act?
What to say?
What to wear?
You feel like an outsider.
You always have.
But tonight will be different…hopefully.
You get to the house and you can’t wait to have fun.
And fun you do have.
The loudest you’ve ever laughed.
And the food—
The drinks, aahh!
You finally feel like you belonged.
After some drinks, the group all gather into a circle and sit on the floor.
They pass around what looks like aluminum foil and an empty pen holder.
You have no idea.
You comfort yourself.
Just do it.
You sit beside them on the floor. You just follow along.
"You really haven’t been around the city that long, huh?”
“It’s just something to help us have more fun tonight!
You wanna try some?”