Back to reality

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By Jun Ledesma


Friday, May 2, 2014

SEVENTEEN hours of flight from New York with a brief stop in Hong Kong can make one recover lost sleep and vim following the rigors of having to walk several blocks to get to a Broadway theater and Central Park... and more... in a city that never sleeps.

But the sedentary condition even in the jumbo jet can be wearisome and worrisome. NYC believe me had bits of snow even as it was officially spring and its freezing cold as we exited Gershwin theater where we watched "Wicked."

The front desk at Holiday Inn told me that most of the tourists in NYC are Europeans and locals. The absence of Chinese tourists has been perceptible and he wondered why.


These days, you seldom hear of mugging in subways. Well, they have discovered it's easier to rip off would-be victims by selling fake basketball and theater tickets. Wonder how the heists can take place with tight security in theaters and Madison Square Garden under the noses of police forces within the vicinity.

If you think it's only in Philippine cities where there are beggars and derelicts sleeping in sidewalks, it's worse in NYC.

It's comforting to have landed in Manila. Never mind if our airport is undisputedly the worst. NAIA has not improved a bit from the time Mar Roxas took over the helm of DOTC and then later and currently under the watch of Jun Abaya. I wonder where the billions of pesos released by the Aquino government for the rehab and upgrade of Naia I went.

Even Heathrow does not have enough space but can never approximate the discomfort of Naia 1, the arrival area of which is like an oven. Airport managements nationwide simply do not have an iota of standard of excellence despite the funds that is poured. All these despite the taxes a passenger pays. Ours by the way is the only country that charges "entrance fee."

Thick jackets and sweaters are inadequate in wintry New York. Exiting from the plane and NAIA terminal however is entirely a different story. The sweltering heat inside the airport terminal is no different from the heat outside. No wonder why President Obama has to be handed cold towelettes all the time.

Obama was in his Asean visit when we were in Washington DC. Ambassador Joey Cuisia was in Manila too. Anyway, we caught up with them in Manila. Cuisia was President of Philamlife when my wife Jay was Director for Agencies in Mindanao. When they finally met the other day in The Tower in Makati, the corporate home of Philam Life, Cuisia congratulated my wife Jay for having been promoted as Chief Agency Officer of the country' s top insurance firm.

Am hanging around in Manila to hunt for a place where my son Paolo is going to stay for the next four years in college. In trying to find one, one has to consider the distance from school and of course the cost. It's not cheap at all but if it is walking distance from school then you find the balance. Also consider whether the place is flood-prone or not. A lot of factors to look into especially when this will be the first time that he will be weaned from us.

Anyway, I'm glad to be home and back to reality.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 03, 2014.


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