The real ride
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - October 14, 2019 - 12:00am

“RIDE FOR LIFE” is what an interesting bunch of motorcycle riders call it.

From October 20, 2019 to October 29, at least 20 Big Bike riders will ride south of the country starting at Batangas then drive their way through Caticlan, Kalibo, Roxas, Iloilo, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Oslob, Cebu, Ormoc, Tacloban, Legaspi, Lucena, Manila. This is no ordinary road trip and these riders are no ordinary bikers. They call themselves the Victory Riders primarily because they are all members of Victory Christian Fellowship / Every Nation. Many of their members are full time pastors and for this particular trip, there will be four pastors at the wheel. The “RIDE FOR LIFE” is a fund raising trip where each participant will donate P20,000 to Real Life Foundation which manages a scholarship fund for poor but deserving students who are part of VCF’s youth ministry outreach. The scholarship sends selected scholars through high school and college, while reaching out spiritually and materially to their families.

Aside from each making a 20k peso donation, the riders all pay for their own expense, food, fuel and accommodations. For some it’s a no work – no pay sacrifice aside from the tough 9-day ride all for the Glory of God! My family and I actively support Real Life Foundation because they really make a difference and we have seen many of their success stories!

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Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo clearly out-foxed the leftists and reporter provocateurs in Malacañang when he accepted the challenge to take public transport to office. The leftists miscalculated the response of Panelo who by simply accepting the challenge poured cold water on their faces. They presumed that Panelo the fashionista would be averse to the idea; they thought wrong. Adding insult to injury, Panelo got a chance to milk each ride for every drop of publicity he could squeeze thanks to the leftists and reporter provocateurs. When news gatherers gave chase, their rude and rowdy behavior trying to join Panelo inside a jeepney showed the ugly side of local reporters willing to step over each other as well as the riding public just to get a scoop. In the end, the leftists could only expand their now limp challenge for other government officials to do the same.

Sadly, that episode of “kababawan” or shallow pettiness distracted the public from the more serious issue of institutional corruption and a conspiracy to cover up the “Ninja Cops” controversy and the corruption inside our national penitentiaries and jails. Very little attention was given to the signing of the IRR for the Universal Health Care. The leftists all but ignored the P2 billion luxury jet that Administration defenders are miserably justifying. If anything, the challenge hurled by the leftists, gave the administration a momentary respite and a window of opportunity to redirect people’s focus especially after the most recent survey result claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte had slipped in his popularity.

What good was suppose to come out of government officials riding public transportation? So they could have more empathy for ordinary citizens? Sorry, but you don’t learn that from riding a bus or a tricycle for one day. Would the hassle and the delay in commuting change the fact that we don’t have enough roads, too many cars, and too many offices concentrated in a narrow corridor from Quezon City to Roxas Boulevard. The fact of the matter is, it’s too late to fix our traffic crisis or disaster in Metro Manila. Any solutions we can actually all agree on will take anywhere from six months to three years and by then things will be even worse or would have solved itself. I’m no fan of Sal Panelo but he touched on the truth when he said that if Filipinos want to get anywhere on time, they simply have to leave earlier. Me and my family always leave three hours before any flight even if we have checked in on-line, but many of our friends still insist on cutting their travel time short, some even almost missing the check in time. Their excuse: “Sayang kasi oras” or they don’t like wasting time at the airport. But when they are late for the flight, they waste everybody’s time.

Some friends who’ve been affected by the traffic jam at the SLEX due to the Skyway extension project have opted to travel really early or really late to avoid the rush hour or busy hour volume and traffic. They simply use the time to be more productive. A freshman studying in UP Los Baños goes to school from Quezon City at 4 am and does the same going home on the weekend. A car buddy who has a weekend place in Biñan opts to have an extended enjoyment on Sunday’s and leaves at 11pm. Yes it’s not normal but as far as traffic is concerned nothing is the same and nothing is normal anymore. The problem is that many people still try to stick to their “normal”. I’ve told so many “Millennial” employees to consider spending the time and money they waste on traffic on a shared apartment or condo near their work place so they could have quality rest, be more productive and learn to be “independent” from Mommy and Daddy! Sadly old habits die-hard. They would rather do 3 to 4 hour trips one way, be regularly late for work, arrive at work with wet hair and recite their “The traffic was so bad” daily monologue. No sympathies from me on this subject matter because we ALL have to go through traffic but the other half or less among us are doing something other than complain about it.

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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