Chapter 13:

Chapter 13: The City Of Hopes - Manila

OFW: Billionaire's Life Story

"Friend, are you the couple...I mean in the ship coming from Bacolod City?" asked a man with his wife and child.

"Yes, what about?" I asked doubting him.

"Where's your baggage, are you traveling without...I mean bag, pouch, or anything?"

"Why are you asking?" I angrily asked.

"You know, sorry about this...I was observing you both and I presumed that you are runaways? Am I right friend?"

I looked at him squarely, thinking that since we were new here and nowhere to go, I had to release my trust in this guy. I thought that maybe, just maybe, he could be my friend like Edward.

"Yes, you're right. Where are you staying? Can we stay for a while in your house?" I asked him bluntly.

"Okay, I'll talk to my wife for a minute. Stay here, I'll be back."

Ayah heard our conversation; she patted me on the back, and said, "Yes Marc, it's better to be with him while we don't know where to go. At least, we can get acquainted with them and the place too."

He's back smiling, tagging along with his wife and child. "Friend, it's okay. What's your name, by the way?"

"I'm Marc and this is my wife, Ayah Isabel. And you?"

"My name is Michael Luna, Mike for short, and my wife Lina."

"Nice meeting both of you, thank you so much, Mike and Lina."

We walked a few meters away from the port and hailed a taxi cab going to San Francisco, Del Monte in Quezon City. I totally observed the place where I came from, the port, the ships, the passengers, and the buildings along the road. Ayah too was looking outside the taxi cab window.

We arrived at the Luna Family feeling aloof and wondering if this was our new beginning. Michael showed me the way how to survive in the city by telling stories and giving valuable information about the people. His wife Lina too taught Ayah how to do the house chores, babysit, and cook.

Two days had passed; we forced ourselves to find jobs at once. It was morning time when we walked from Pantranco Bus Terminal up to Circle Roundabout, then, to West Avenue. As we searched, I noticed a sign, "Wanted Waiters and Waitresses." We went inside the establishment and asked about the job opening. The man-in-charge seated us along with the four applicants. We filled up forms and submitted them. He called me first; I stood up and we went inside the room. He told me to take off my clothes, then my pants.

"Sir, I'm applying for the job as a waiter, isn't it?"

"Yes, but also, we are screening applicants through inspecting their naked self, for health purposes. Go on take off your brief...quickly..."

"Sir, sorry...I can't do that..."

"Why are you so hard to understand? Do you want the job? Then do it!" The man angrily shouted at me. I grabbed my clothes, put them on, hurriedly left the room, grasped Ayah's arm, and went away. We stopped under the tree to think of something fruitful before our money lasts.

"Marco, love, can we go to Baclaran Church? Lina said it's a big church."

"Come! But we don't know the direction and we don't know the fare. We don't have enough amounts for transportation."

"Come on, it's morning time, we have much time to roam around. As usual...walking..."

"Okay love."

We asked the lady selling cigarettes and candies and told us to ride a jeepney, with a Baclaran signboard. We tried to decipher some jeepneys with that signboard but in vain. The more we tried to ask people about Baclaran, the more complicated it was for us. I decided to come back from where we came from, Pantranco Bus Terminal. We walked again to find solutions to the whereabouts of Baclaran Church.

"Okay, come, we ride a jeepney and discover later on," I ventured to say to Ayah.

"Yes Marco, I'm so happy!"

We stopped a jeepney, seated, and asked the driver where the destination was and how much the fare for two. As we traveled, I observed that the passengers were looking at us. We arrived at the front of a church asked the driver to stop and we came down from the jeepney.

"Ayah, love, I think this is the Baclaran Church. Come quick!"

"But why there are vendors selling those herbs on the sidewalk Marc, some of them I knew of."

"Don't mind that; come let's go inside the church."

We hold our hands together, went inside, made a sign of a cross, and kneeled together. Still holding our hands, we prayed solemnly closing our eyes for almost five minutes.

I opened my eyes and moved my hand which Ayah felt by responding to it. I whispered to her, "Let's make our wedding vows this way."

"Ayah, do you love me as I do?" I began to ask her.

"Yes, Marc, I do love you, now and until forever."

"You promise to me that I am the only one in your heart?"

"Yes, my love, I promise."

"You promise to me, that we love each other, in sickness and in health, until death do us part?"

"Yes my love, I am yours until death." I stood up, get a red rose from the Virgin Mary's flower vase, came back to Ayah, and kissed her. "Now I already kissed the bride."

"I love you, Marco Fernando."

"I love you, Ayah Isabel." Still holding each other hands, we went outside the church. I asked one of the sidewalk vendors.

"Is this the Baclaran Church?"

"No sir, Quiapo Church."

"Then, where's this Baclaran Church?"

"You have to ride going there, after the bridge, the Luneta Park, over there....," answered the boy.

"Okay, thank you! Bye!" We left at once going to where the boy was pointing.

"Ayah, you heard what the boy said, Luneta Park after the bridge... This is the bridge now; we have to cross up to the other end."

"Yes Marc, but I'm afraid...and....look... there's a human waste at the steel structure...yaksss...dirty!!" Ayah screamed.

"Go on walking my love, cover your nose, and don't look that awful thing."

We walked for a few meters more, more buildings came into our view, and continued walking. We didn't care about other people, if they were looking at us, or asking themselves why we were walking all throughout. For all I knew, we were saving our money until I can find a suitable job.

We reached the Luneta Park, seated on the bench, observing people who passed by, watching other things that excite us. I knew we were happy for the first time; we touched this park and we roamed around feeling contented.

"Marc let's take a rest over there," Ayah pointed to the garden.

"Okay, it's lovely, green, and beautiful to a seat."

We savored the precious moment that God bestowed upon us both; to love each other. We roamed around and round the whole park, knowing each structure in detail. We continued walking back to Quiapo Church. We discovered the Manila City Hall, Post Office, and Metropolitan Theater.

We continued walking, memorizing the streets from where we came from. We turned right up to the underpass, walked again until we saw the University of Santo Thomas, then, the big white church, and asked the sidewalk vendor for its name, "Santo Domingo Church," they said in unison. We arrived at the house; tired, hungry but happy about the discoveries.

"Ayah, Marc, how's your day?" Lina asked.

"Lina, we're in Luneta Park, Quiapo Church, Manila City Hall...Manila Post Office and Marc, what's the name of the big school?"

"Ahhhh.The University of Santo Thomas...yes that's it!"

"I think you two are hungry. I'll cook rice and fry the GG?" Lina said.

"What's GG Lina?"

"Ahhh...a cheap fish named galunggong, but it's meaty and tasty. You two, try to learn the Tagalog language quickly, and other words they're using, so that, they won't fool you. You know here in Manila, there are lots of bad persons. By the way, Marc, wait for Mike to come home, he had good news for you. Come, Ayah, we'll cook."

It was seven in the evening when Mike showed up at the house. He smiled at me and Ayah; a smile that can give a thousand hopes. "Lina, come here, my love!" Calling Lina while he prepared the small table.

"Owww Michael love, love, love...I know what you mean...yes, yes, I'll go...." Lina answered.

We were seated on the floor facing each other, Ayah beside me looking at us.

"Mike, you mean to say, we're going to drink?"

"Yes, you're drinking liquor right? Yes, then good! By the way, Marc, just call me Pare, and you Ayah, my Kumare, okay?"

"Okay Pare," I said smiling wryly.

"Great Pare...good...good...."

Lina came with four bottles of rum, family-sized cola, large canned sardines in tomato sauce, green chili, and

five pieces of red onions.

"My love Lina, you're so beautiful, the best ever!" Mike hugged Lina.

"Hmm, my love, my love...I know what you mean..."

Ayah opened the canned sardines, put them in a large bowl, sliced the onions, and mixed them. While Lina produced ice cubes, put them in a bowl, and served. They served in front of us like "King of Kings" who were busy talking to each other and loving them with their own different styles.

"Pareng Marc, get some ice and pour at once so that we can start flying going to heaven. It's my day off tomorrow!!!"

"Okay Pare," I said smiling.

"Oppps...Mareng Ayah, Lina...of course, the two of you too!" Lina poured her drink, put some ice, and cola, and drank. She mixed another one.

"Ayah Isabel, go, go on, pour some, are you drinking or not?"

"I'm not drinking Lina..." Ayah answered.

"Come, love, I'll mix it for," I gave Ayah her drink.

"Okay, thank you, Marc."

We enjoyed the evening with much laughter and joyous exchanging of experiences.

"Pareng Marc, come with me the next day, I'll introduce you to my manager. We need restaurant staff. Okay, friend?"

"I'm a fine friend for your recommendation...thank you so much."

We consumed four bottles of rum all each one of us, started to feel groggy. Different topics were being opened up, even some personal ones. We were just like brothers and sisters enjoying the night in which our fates were united.

Lina was the first one to enter their room, then Mike followed her, and signaled us saying goodbye. I finished the remaining drink, clear the bottles and bowls, and put them in the kitchen. We retired together to our room; we took off our clothes and closed our eyes. Ayah began massaging my chest which ignited my switches to energize my power. As we explored each other bodies while closing our eyes, without saying a word; we heard the electrified Mike and Lina's lovemaking in the other room; whining, and swearing which made the house quite agitated, an earthquake of the century!

We continued exploring while listening to them, the liquor on our bodies worked well and made us heightened our desire to copulate. I entered and exploded without a word, a silent scream of satisfaction, controlled not to make a sound but I bit Ayah's neck.