By Miko Pagaduan
Chalk Campus Correspondent
To a promdi like me, moving out was never part of the plan.
For 18 years, I've been living with my family—my single mom and two younger sisters—in Cabanatuan City. Since I grew up with the rules my only parent strictly implemented, I believed that our house held me captive. Just like any regular teen, I yearned for freedom from my shackles and find liberty.
That’s why when ABS-CBN accepted my on-the-job training application, I was 100% ready to pack my stuff and try to live the Manila life I’ve been craving for for years. No hesitations, no uncertainties.
I braved MNL with no one to depend on. As of this writing, I just celebrated my first month in the metro. (Cue: Started from the bottom now we’re here!) Since I slightly mastered the art of living the big city life for a month already, listed below are the things that I, a probinsyano, have so far realized and experienced. I suppose that people with the same encounters can legit relate to these!
1. Manila roads = carmageddon. In the city where I came from, a one-hour drive would definitely mean moving from one municipality to another. Here in Manila, one hour on the road basically means driving from one street to another. Why? Of course, traffic. For promdis, it's a big adjustment—especially for daily commuters. Most of us have learned to accept the grueling ride in packed trains and buses and even in the most hellish scenarios, like, say, a rainy rush hour on a payday Friday.
2. New commute ‘friend.’ Since I'm fond of going to the mall, I encountered new things along the way. Cars, buses, and jeepneys are very visible in my small town; but, here, I got the chance to take the MRT and LRT. (And, yes, that Beep card is very new to me!) MRT and LRT became a constant during my stay here since they made my traveling easy. What’s not easy is lining up for that single journey ticket and literally smelling your co-commuter while inside the train. Sucks, right?
3. It's money honey. From a financially independent student back home, I turned into a bill-and-coin counting intern when I stepped foot in Metro Manila. My takeaway? Budget your allowance and only go to food parks and shopping malls when you have all the cash on Earth. Otherwise, stick to carinderia meals and ban yourself from malls.
4. SB is everywhere. One of my first observations when I first came here was that Starbucks Coffee branches are literally found everywhere. In every street, office, or establishment, people can easily get their mermaid coffee. Back in my town, there’s only one Starbucks—and we promdis struggle to fall in line during the Planner Season.
5. New travel buddies. If Charlie Puth is just one call away, cars in Manila are just one click away. In the province, you’ll just wave at a tricycle or jeepney driver just to get a ride. Here, aside from waving, you can get a ride home using a smartphone. Uber and Grab were my travel buddies if I want the fastest ride to the office. Thank God for these two for making traveling easy. I wish we had them in my province!
6. Food everywhere. Aside from actual parks and parking lots, Manila has another version of a ‘park’ a.k.a. food parks. Yes, a lot of them all over the metro. For us promdis, what we consider as our food haven are *drum rolls* convenience stores. 7-Eleven and Ministop, we’re looking at you! If we want instant food, they're there 24/7.
By now, I’ve gotten used to living away from my family and I have, in some ways, fallen in love with Metro Manila. I’ve come to enjoy the life in the big city considering its ups and downs. And as a full-blooded probinsyano, this journey will forever be one of my fondest memories.
For all those brand new lessons and hours in traffic we shared, thank you Manila! I can’t wait to go back!
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Banner photograph by Tycho Atsma via Unsplash. GIFs from GIPHY.