Hazards of Commuting in Manila and Tara Santelices

      24 Comments on Hazards of Commuting in Manila and Tara Santelices

Online petition – JUSTICE FOR TARA SANTELICES: Better Crime Prevention

Leaving my kids is never easy no matter their age. I informed my family that I will be traveling to the USA by the last week of September for a series of talks and to visit my 3 siblings. My daughter asked “Who will drive us? it is dangerous to commute. There was a holdup inside a jeepney in Katipunan last week. And have you heard about Tara Santelices who got shot because she tried to wrestle back her bag containing a laptop? yadda yadda!”

Oh the risks of commuting! I suddenly felt like canceling my trip altogether. There I go again, letting fear control me. The “What if?” is the nagging question and on the other hand, What should I do?

What would you do in my shoes?

My girls got to use the public transportation system only in college. By that time, I learned to let go of worry. I am aware of the dangers and risks in our transport system but I didn’t want them to live in a perpetual cloak of fear. During their pre-college years, it was either me or the driver that brought them to school or any destination in Manila. It was easier to control their activities when they were younger since they were a bit obedient in those days with limited social life to boot. They lived a very sheltered life.

I still remember the day I learned to let go. The security guard called our house if a taxi cab can be allowed to enter the village. The cab driver wanted to return L ‘s wallet. I called L. “What is your wallet doing in a cab? I thought you lost your wallet in the library”. She said she didn’t know. Glancing at her guilty look, I interviewed the driver. He told me that he brought Lauren to the house from the Ayala MRT station. Lauren could not deny it anymore. We argued about letting her go and allowing her to commute.

Mom, I am 18 years old!

It was at that point where I realized the girls cannot be sheltered forever.

Going back to my current transportation dilemma, I thought of solutions and some of the lessons learned from Tara Santelices.

1. Hire a temporary driver for the kids but L doesn’t trust drivers. This option is out.

2. Hitch with their dad and wait to be picked up after his office hours.

3. Just let them commute if number 2 option is not possible but to remember,

3.1 Do not resist giving up laptop or cellphone and any other valuables in the event of a robbery,
3.2 Do not bring laptop when there are plans to commute.
3.3 Backup all the files in the laptop so there is no initial resistance when a robbery takes place.

The best that can be done is to exercise caution and pray. We never know when these horrible robbers strike. The “What if’s” can really make us crazy. They put control over our life in someone else’s hands.

I know I should not worry about other people’s reactions or events outside of my control. Instead, I will focus on my reactions. I will handle my life well today and trust that, tomorrow I can do the same. I will relax, breathe and go with the flow.

Speaking of Tara Santelices, my friend Cathy sent me this forwarded email about a blog post. More on her story here.

If your heart is moved to help Tara Santelices, here’s your chance to pay it forward.

Word spreads around fast and almost everyone has already heard about what happened to our dear friend, Tara Santelices (Assumption Antipolo’s Batch 2003 and Ateneo de Manila University’s Class of 2007, AB Political Science).

On the eve of her 23rd birthday, Tara was shot in the head during a hold-up while riding a jeepney along Imelda Avenue, Cainta, Rizal. Joee Mejias, who was with her at that time, rushed her to Amang Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Marikina City. The parents of Tara and Joee arrived at the hospital shortly thereafter. When morning came, Tara’s parents finally decided to transfer her to the Medical City, Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City. Since 8:00am of August 6, Tara has been in the ICU fighting for her dear life. Her parents have decided not to push through with the operation.

Although it might seem that there is nothing else that we can do but wait for Tara to wake up from this horrific nightmare, we, the friends of Tara, have decided to raise funds for Tara’s hospital bills. This is the least we can do to ease the unbearable pain her family is going through. We have been given the go-signal from Tara’s dad, Tito Larry, and here are the details:

The temporary bank account is under Anne Marie F. Santelices, Banco de Oro, SA 2140-062201. For direct cash donations, please proceed to the ICU Waiting Room of the Medical City (Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City). Please look for Joee Mejias or Lila Santelices.

Any amount will be gratefully accepted. Anonymous donations are also welcome. Please spread the word. Forward this to your family, friends and even to everyone else you know. Please post this on Friendster, Multiply, Facebook and wherever else you can think of. Please send group messages on Yahoo Messenger. This will mean so much to us, her friends.

Please continue praying for Tara, for Joee and for both of their families. If you want to come see Tara, visiting hours at the ICU are at 9:00 am to 11:00 am and 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Thank you so much for your time and kind consideration.

For inquiries, please contact Joee Mejias (09228154987) for calls and Jac Ledonio (09167243071) or Myka Francisco (09163695148) for text messages.

Online petition – JUSTICE FOR TARA SANTELICES: Better Crime Prevention

Read the Justice for Tara Santelices written by my husband.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1388 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • I guess your best bet is to teach your kids how to be safe na lang. Better to take the MRT na lang. I’ve always found this as a safer mode of transport as against the jeep, buses, and cabs. If taxis are your preferred transportation maybe you should have the girls take the one’s that are for hire..like R&E. You can call them and have the girls picked up. My sister used to take this when she used to work for a call center.

    Cookies last blog post..Adios!!

  • @cookie- mrt is not a problem. It’s the commute within the katipunan area that’s starting to have holdups.

  • when i was in highschool, my dad never allowed me to commute if it wasn’t a private car. i resented that because when i reached college, i was so afraid to take the jeepney, i didn’t know where they pick up passengers or where they can stop. eventually i learned, that phase of my life is over.

    which area in the US are you going to? just wondering, i live near san francisco bay area. if you’re in the area, feel free to msg me. 🙂

    issais last blog post..I want an iZ3D

  • Ms. Noemi,

    Not to aggravate your fears or anything, but commuting is one challenge I survive everyday bec. I stopped trying to learn how to drive. But thinking about my girls commuting in the future makes me freeze in fear.

    Here are a few suggestions I can give:

    It’s better if your girls can commute with a companion.

    If they have to bring laptops/gadgets with them, it’s better if they stay hidden in their bags (which are not obvious laptop bags).

    Then entrust everything to Him.

    lemons last blog post..forever babies in Mama’s eyes

  • no choice but to let go, but slowly. it was difficult to let go of the boys to drive, but i just have to trust their capabilities, besides they were already of age. they had to take care of the younger girls, good their schools are near each other. and coupled with letting go, is complete trust in the Lord, to protect them wherever they are.

    the girls now can take care of themselves–they know how to make decisions, but of course, they still have to let me know, like if they will hitch a ride with classmates or friends.

    haaaaayyyy, Noemi, sometimes it is difficult, but we have to make a decision, and let go, as our children are no longer kids. yes, Lauren, as BA and vince, are of age already. lol (but we are there to guide them pa)

    Sexy Moms last blog post..Olympic Gold Medalist Natalie Anne Coughlin is of Filipino Origin

  • I have a little correction regarding this part of your entry:

    “Going back to my current transportation dilemma, I thought of solutions and some of the lessons learned from Tara Santelices’ death.”

    Tara Santelices is a friend of mine. She is currently still fighting for her life at the ICU of Medical City. Please correct the “death” bit. Thanks!

    Katrina Pallons last blog post..+A Series of Benefit Gigs for Tara (Please repost)+

  • @issai- I am going to be in Seattle till sept 27, then chicago from september 8 to October 1, then Missouri October 2 to 9. Then San francisco from October 10 to October 16. Well tentative dates.

    @lemon- you can just imagine my fear when I first let go. My girls refused to be pampered to.

    @Dine- You have so many kids. It’ll be hard to be controlling. Letting go was not easy at first.

    @katrina- oops sorry. corrected now.

  • oh nice, maybe i could take you out for dinner or something if you’re in the area. no pressure, just msg me if you want to 🙂

    issais last blog post..I want an iZ3D

  • @issai – I will make time for that. my sister lives in the suburb around 45 minutes drive to the Bay area.

  • thanks noemi!

  • reena

    I also live a sheltered life. We have a family driver who drives me and my siblings to school and to work (yeah, i’m working already). Sometimes din i get dyahe when I’m dropped off the ofc bldg, kasi i feel like all eyes are on me when i get off the car. Hehe.

    I take public transportation din from time to time, and luckily, i haven’t experienced anything bad. I guess one just needs to be wary of her surroundings. Be alert din. Ako I always carry with me a bottle of perfume/cologne that i can spray on bad guys’ eyes if they try to harm me. Hehe. Basic self defense daw, sabi ng PE teacher ko nung college. 🙂

  • naholdap na rin ako sa FX and it is really frigthening, it seems that the world suddenly stop nung tutukan na ako ng baril, bigla akong namanhid kakaisip sa aking mga anak….

    if only we can shelter our kids always, kaya lang there are times na they are not within our fold and loving arms, kaya dasal din at paalala talaga ang magagawa natin

  • My home was in the province but I had to go to college in Cebu and work in Manila, so for 14 years I was commuting most of my daily life and I have yet to witness anything tragic inside the bus, jeep or taxi (I was pickpocketed in Shenzhen however). Your daughters are far grown up than I was at 16. Use common sense (i.e. be discreet about jewelries, flashy phones, gadgets) and they will be fine.

    geris last blog post..Bathtime Funnies

  • i used to bring fake cellphones and wallets before. i got held up at espana before wherein three guys w/ ice picks,motorcycle and a gun blocked me.i gaev them my fake wallet containing 20 pesos and a cheap fone.the problem is i lost my sim.but its ok,

    LUGI PAREN SILA.wahaha

    p.s. hope u can visit new york too. 😛

    Kurt Torress last blog post..A PENNY EARNED IS A PENNY SAVED.

  • Never experienced anything like this myself here in Manila and I have never known anyone who has. Then again, I insisted on getting an apartment in Ortigas Center even if it meant a tighter budget. I rarely use taxis and jeepneys and I never bring my laptop with me when I have to commute. The only times involved riding on planes. I also avoid buying expensive looking bags, expensive looking shoes. I don’t use a watch. I learned to do this early on when I was sixteen and a freshman in college. Very good habits, I believe.

  • And I know women who really make it a point to get boyfriends willing to drive them from home to work. I’m serious.

    BrianBs last blog post..Unlocked iPhone 3G Available at AllPMP

  • Just the thought of letting my girls commute when they are big enough (when would that be?) already scares me. I hope I’d be ready to let them go when the time comes.

    chateau a.k.a. imoms last blog post..On Gymnastics and Nurturing Dreams

  • maxx

    @Brian B – yup, I do that too. I don’t buy expensive looking bags, the ones with “Lacoste” or “Coach” or “Burberry” branded trademarks. I just use the basic big black bag and I never bring my laptop. I only wear a watch worth 200p. If I need to dress up for the office (like a presentation or something) other than the ordinary office attire, I take the fx then. Decoy wallets are my thing too.

  • primalscream

    “Going back to my current transportation dilemma, I thought of solutions and some of the lessons learned from Tara Santelices’ accident.”

    What happened to Tara wasn’t an “accident”. She was a victim of a crime.

  • Good day,

    Lagi akong nagko-commute everyday ‘pag at pumapasok sa work. Ganun din ang ginawa noong college.

    Ang maibibigay ko lang na tips sa daughters mo ay maging vigilant sila pag sumasakay ng jeep at bus. ‘wag nila ipahalat ‘yung mga gadgets nila. Kung may maganda silang hikaw ay hubarin muna nila. Sa dinadaanan ko pauwi ay magagaling ang mga snatcher at nalalaman nila ang mga magagandang alahas. Marami na rin sa mga nakasabay ko sa jeep ang napunitan ng tenga noong hinugot ‘yung mga hikaw nila.

    I recommend na kung may dala silang impoertanteng bagay ay ‘wag silang uupo sa malapuit sa pinto ng jeep para di na-snatch ang gamit nila. In case na ma hold-up sila (wag naman sana) ay ‘wag na silang manlaban. Mas importante ang buhay sa kahit anu mang bagay dito sa mundo.

    Well i hope laging gabayan ng Diyos ang mga daughters mo. God Bless you all.

    Ishmael Ahabs last blog post..Liar Liar Pants for Hire?

  • Pls. click on the following link to go to Tara’s virtual memorial:

    You may want to send you msgs via the guest book.


    The site is hosted for free for 14 days only.

  • Jekjek

    before i used to hate it when mama will text me or call of where I am. During my time when I was in college it’s much safer to commute when bareta phones are still common. I experienced the jeepney holdup when i was a bank employee in congressional ave. four men simultaneously brought out their guns and pointed it to us. When the gun was pointed at me i immediately remembered what mama would always tell It was the last working day of the yr. Gud thing i just have coins in my wallet and too bad I have a bagfull of xmas gifts from bank clients, my new mobile phone 3310(that was just replaced by my employer when our branch was robbed). All went to the lucky robbers. It was a nightmare for me. Everytime I see suspicious looking men I would go down the jeepney or immediately, it was a traumatic experience.

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