Expressway Jeepney Gate Galleria

Keen-eyed Bloggerbels readers will know that when I go to Alabang, I usually take a jeepney. And in the course of many trips to Alabang to eat delicious and inexpensive S&R Pizza (before I went gluten-free), drink coffee at the nicest McDonald’s in the Philippines (the one on Commerce Ave), or visit the public market to buy beef bones for my dogs (THEY LOVE IT!), I noticed something interesting.

Express jeepneys that are fortunate enough to take the South Luzon Expressway to Alabang instead of the horribly congested National Highway are required to have a gate covering their back entrance, one which can be locked shut while on the expressway – unlike most jeepneys, where you just hold on tight and try not to fall out of the back. I eventually realized that each one of these jeepney gates is, as with many things in the Philippines, unique, custom-made, and in many cases quite endearingly improvised. Each one has its own mechanism for locking, too: Sometimes involving hooks, other times wire or even string. All this uniqueness can often be quite bewildering for the passengers near the rear of the jeepney, who are asked with shutting the gate as the jeep nears the expressway.

And so, with the crappy camera that I carry around with me in my man-purse at all times, I have endeavoured to document all the shapes and sizes of jeepney gates that valiantly prevent passengers from bouncing out onto the expressway between the Susana Heights and Filinvest exits.

Aside from the crappiness of my camera, allowances also have to be made for the fact that I took most of these photos from inside vehicles that were rocketing down the highway, bouncing all over the place and shaking uncontrollably while trying to squeeze out every ounce of juice they could muster from their refurbished tractor motors. Oh, and I had to do it while trying to not look like a total weirdo creep – something that’s not very easy to do when you’re taking out a camera and photographing God-knows-what inside a crowded vehicle full of strangers.

SAM_3316 Read More

Some Positive Thoughts

Do you know someone who causes you a lot of frustration? Maybe you find them obnoxious or petty. Maybe their mere presence grates on you terribly. Maybe you have to work with them everyday, and just being around them makes you hate your job.

Or maybe you know someone who is smarter than you, or more attractive, or more charming, or who makes more money than you, or is more successful with the opposite sex (or their preferred sex, whatever that may be). Maybe the envy you feel towards them just eats away at you from the inside every time you’re around them, or even when you’re not.

Well, don’t worry about it… because one day they’ll be dead, and so will you!

Climate Change and the Three Jewels


Climate change scares the shit out of me. I don’t think I’ve ever cursed before in this blog, but climate change scares the shit out of me. We are all… well, I don’t think I wanna use a word even more offensive than “shit”, but we are all basically doomed, unless the Chinese discover a miraculous source of unlimited clean energy or we manage to narrowly avoid utter catastrophe through some sort of wacky geoengineering scheme. Perhaps that’s why Elon Musk is working on his Mars colony?

If you want to cry, or perhaps just redouble your efforts to retain your sanity through sheer force of self-delusion, here are more reading materials to convince you that we are all fu… I mean, doomucked:

There are certainly rosier assessments of the climate situation, and the idea that we’ll all be extinct within 15 years isn’t exactly a mainstream opinion among climate scientists,  but I’m pretty sure the world will at least be a hot mess (ha, ha!) within a couple of decades. Of course, you are welcome to convince yourself that everything is fine because at least Iceland is colder than usual. And hey, El Niño! Unfortunately, your remarkable capacity for self-delusion will run out sometime before you are up on your roof with a rifle, shooting at starving looters who are trying to break into your food storehouse. Read More

Upcoming Bloggerbels Posts

At the time of writing (April 24, 2016), I am coming off a three month blogging drought. To get back into the groove, I thought I should post a rough list of possible future posts. If I end up going a few months without posting anything again, you are encouraged to angrily demand that I get back to work and write whichever of these posts sounds most interesting to you. You’ll be doing me a great service!

So here’s the list, which I will continue to update occasionally:

The Great Evil of Gluten
Everything Gonna Kill Ya
Patriotic Orthography
Retraction of Yogurt-Making Article
Kill the Ego, Find the Gap
Manila Is Not A Cheap City
For My Mother
For My Father
Chivalry for Hot People
Spread Those Utils Around!
I Want To Marry All Coconuts
My Neighbour With Thirteen Kids
The Limits of Clan Compassion
The Myth of Discipline
Chichi Chicken Killer
24 Hour MRT, Please!
The Geography of Alienation
Asperger’s Syndrome and Theravada Buddhism: A Match Made in Nibbana
Manila’s Cheap Coffee Renaissance

A Huge Election

It’s election time in the Philippines! I have a lot of unsolicited opinions about politics in this country, but in writing this post I am aware that I am walking on thin ice. When I last landed in Manila, the immigration counter prominently displayed signs informing visitors that they would be deported for participating in any political activism. Unlike the immigration cards which declared “DEATH TO DRUG TRAFFICKERS UNDER PHILIPPINE LAW” years after the death penalty was abolished, I knew this was no joke: I have indeed heard of foreigners being summarily deported for joining in protests. (Not that I’d want to traffic drugs here, anyway – the prisons here don’t seem like very nice places to hang out for a few years.) So, you won’t see me waving any placards this election season. Instead, I’ll take the safer ground and write about the election from a cultural perspective, as a recurring event of monumental significance. I’m not trying to advocate for or against any candidate or position – I just want to share my utter fascination. Read More