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Davao City, Philippines

Seconding Mayor Sara

June 05, 2020 - Friday 4:06 AM by Jimmy Laking

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I finally got my first haircut in months on Wednesday afternoon along what old-timers would call the crooked road. It is a stone’s throw away from City Hall.

It was also my first time to go out publicly in months. So it was quite a surprise to find the situation has greatly changed. Were this change put to a vote, I would gladly cast my vote for Mayor Sara.

I had stuck with my barber for years out of general principles. He had long accepted the fact that while I could communicate in the vernacular, it comes with an accent.

He is a friend of Bert Tomas who used to work with city tourism and he said he had been to Marikina once to see a brother. He also claimed the province of Isabela (where Bert Tomas and Silvestre "Bebot" Bello III come from) is very near Marikina (in Rizal), but I merely nodded my head to avoid a lengthy question-and-answer discussion.

Besides, he is only one of a few who can do ‘gupit-pogi’ (also called gupit-opisyal) hereabouts with flourish. It is a style many among the not-so-young in the trade have difficulty accomplishing.

The barbershop has been subdivided by plastic sheets to emphasize physical distancing. Each barber was also supplied with ample rubbing alcohol supply. No idle people unlike in the past before COVID-19 struck. Only the barbers and their customers. Change has indeed come.

At the Sangguniang Panlungsod building where I used to have my documents notarized, I was no longer allowed to go up the second floor. Instead, I was guided towards a building across Magallanes Street where a young lawyer and a pair of assistants did the notarizing at a mind-blowing P50 (only) professional fee. Again, I was not allowed to enter the lawyer’s office. I was asked to wait on a bench outside. In just about five minutes, the documents were handed back to me.

Retracing my steps to City Hall, I spotted several hand-washing ‘stations’ along several corridors. I tried one faucet and I was rewarded with near-scalding water that thrilled me no end. I was almost tempted to ask if there were also cubicles nearby where one could take a bath with the same type of hot water.

On my way home to Agdao, I took a multicab for the first time in three months. This is the same public conveyance that used to accommodate six persons per side. That has been pruned down to four, with the driver alone by his lonesome at the front. Each passenger was separated from the other with a plastic cubicle and I must agree it was a good idea.

Overall, I liked what I saw on the streets and at the offices. At a convenience store in Agdao where I bought brewed coffee, it was strictly business this time around. No people idling away their time. I had no chance to gauge how it was at the Agdao market itself because the “young once” like me are strictly off limits.

In my estimate, the number of people that I saw on Wednesday was just about right. Even the flow of traffic was smooth and there was no rushing among the public conveyance drivers. 

Mayor Sara is right. It is not advisable “to open up all the faucets” at this point in time if it can be helped. If this the “new normal,” let it be the norm.
 

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