Close encounter with a Dura-Dura gang.
It was only this year that I had started to take jeepney rides to work (I used to take a cab, which was why I had so many cabbie stories to tell before). Jeep rides are economical, though I must admit they are not very friendly to your skin.
There’s another reason to beware when riding jeeps. Last Saturday, I had to submit grades at the Asia Pacific College in Magallanes. This is a very tricky area, actually. I’ve had co-faculty members who had been victimized by notorious Dura Dura gangs so I’m always on high alert whenever I’m in Magallanes.
Anyway, as I was riding the jeep yesterday, there was this annoying guy who climbed aboard. He was rather clean-looking, light-skinned and seemingly carefree. He insisted on sitting near the exit even though the people in that area did not want to budge. There was a family sitting together on that side and the mother complained, “Kuya, anluwag luwag dun sa kabila, wag mo ipitin yung bata!” (“Brother, it’s more spacious on the other side, don’t squish our boy!”)
I was annoyed because he seemed to be very inconsiderate and I felt my forehead and eyebrows form a scowl. He sat down beside me and my thought bubble went, “Oh, great. I will kick this guy if he even so much as make the wrong move.”
A few seconds later, the girl who used to sit beside me (the annoying guy now sat between us) pulled out her iPhone. Another source of annoyance for me, because I think it’s the height of stupidity to bring out any expensive-looking gadget inside public utility vehicles (PUVs). Then the man started saying something that made the alarm bells in my head go crazy:
“Miss, ano yang nasa balikat mo? Bubblegum? Parang kadiri ata.”
(“Miss, is that bubblegum on your shoulder? That’s gross!”)
I remembered my co-faculty’s story and I knew right there and then that the guy beside me was a member of a Dura-Dura gang and he was just about to rob the girl on cue. The girl suddenly went into a panicked frenzy and touched her hair repeatedly while trying to hold her iPhone. She was also allowing this stranger to touch her hair as well. I wanted to scream, “You stupidiot woman, what the heck are you doing!??”
There were three other men that started to make some ruckus about the bubblegum in her hair and I figured that they were in cahoots. I could not tell who among them was trying to steal from the girl while she was distracted. The guy beside me brought out some tissue and looked like he was going to apply it to her hair. I wasn’t quite sure if he was going to pretend to clean her hair or he was actually putting bubblegum on it. The scowl in my forehead went deeper and I was watching everyone else’s reaction. Everyone was just so…apathetic.
At that moment, I did something that I should not have done: I made it obvious that I knew what the Dura Dura gang was doing by asking the driver to stop and I tried to go down before he even had a chance to stop. The mother of the family in front of me started screaming, “Ay, malalaglag ka, miss!” (“You’re going to fall, miss!”)
And I walked as fast as I could, looking back twice and also scowling deeper. I saw the guy alight the jeep; I’m guessing he knew that I knew and it ruined their style. An old man sitting under the Magallanes bridge said that I must be in a hurry for walking too fast (usual pick-up line), but I was too pissed that I screamed and pointed, “May holdaper doon!” (“There’s a goon over there!”)
I walked all the way to the APC shuttle with my heart threatening to run out of my chest. I took a cab home and will not be taking a jeep ride to APC anytime soon. That gang could know my face. I had the misfortune of having no sunglasses that day.
Anyway, here’s a video I found under dheiAngelo’s YouTube channel, for your reference.
Some suggestions for commuters out there who know how to read and have landed on my blog:
- Always be aware of your surroundings when riding PUVs.
- Do not sleep. I am rather guilty of this sometimes, when I’m very tired.
- For the love of all that’s intelligent, DO NOT BRING OUT YOUR GADGETS. I’ve seen a guy who flaunted his Samsung Galaxy Note II while riding a jeep and all I can think about is, “Stupid poser asking to be mugged.”
- If somebody tells you that you have bubblegum or spit on your clothes (there were even instances of actual vomit, ugh), completely ignore the person and hold on to your things, like what the girl in the video did. Notice that she was holding her bag very tightly because she knew they were trying to rob her.
- It’s extremely helpful to have your kikay stuff and cleaning materials (alcohol, alcogel, tissue, wet wipes) in a separate compartment outside your bag, preferably your bag’s outer pockets. That way, you need only open the part that does not contain any valuables.
- DO NOT DO WHAT I DID. What I did was let my disgust (at what was going on and at everyone’s apathy) and annoyance (at the girl’s idiocy) get the better of me. When sitting beside members of a gang, pretend you do not know what they’re doing. They can follow you and they may be armed. At this point, I am now avoiding that area and will go back to taking cabs to Magallanes.
- Do not talk to strangers. Not even old ladies. Not even street kids. Many old ladies are members of the Salisi and Budol-Budol gangs and many street kids have been trained by syndicates to maim and murder.
- My default look when being talked to in public is a perma-scowl. Or the “I am not taking any of your nonsense” look.
Den AlibudbudApril 22, 2013 at 3:23 am
i think i would feel guilty about not warning someone who's about to be stolen from though, stupid as she is. 🙁 samahan nga natin si Ate Virna sa Krav Maga?
skysenshiApril 22, 2013 at 3:49 am
It was actually risky but I don't think they succeeded because the guy imediately got down after I did.
MrsMartinezApril 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm
Buti nalang nothing happened to you. Take care, girl!
skysenshiApril 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm
Thanks! Naku, feeling ko kasi hindi nila ako biniktima kasi nakasimangot na agad ako dun sa guy na nakikisiksik sa kabila. So simula palang, wala na akong amor sa kanya. I think these thugs victimize people that don't seem to be aware of their surroundings or those that look too nice.
skysenshiApril 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm
Yeah. For now I will be taking cabs again when going to that area.
animetricApril 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm
Yikes nakakatakot naman yan! Jeez this is one of the reasons why I will never commute in this country.
Istin Dizon PaignaApril 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm
Don't forget to always pray too..
skysenshiApril 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm
It almost makes me wanna go back to my parents because I would be able to drive any of their cars. Until I get my own car (unahin ko muna house), it looks like it would be cabs again for me. Jeez, this wasn't a problem when I used to walk to work.
skysenshiApril 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm
AneApril 22, 2013 at 2:23 pm
Oh my so scary! It's a good thing you got away safe and sound.. I would have done the same thing you did, but more out of fear not out of disgust that everyone was just so apathetic. 😛 Keep safe indeed!
skysenshiApril 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm
I was partly scared, too, but that was overpowered by my exasperation. I thought everyone knows about these kinds of modus operandi by now but I was apparently wrong.
jamApril 22, 2013 at 3:07 pm
almost same ang nangyari sakin. i had my jansport backpack with my w/ my gadgets on my bag. may 5-7 guys na sa jeep at hindi ko alam na mga holdaper sila and isang guy pinansin ung bag ko saying na “alam mo ba kung san gawa ung tali sa ziper ng bag mo?” at nagsenyasan sila mga lalaki. di ko lang alam kung ano gagawin nla. taz tinignan ko lang ng mataray look at inisnab ko sinabi niya. luckily tinigil ng driver sa kanto para magsakay ng ibang pasahero at dali dali bumaba sa jeep ung mga lalaki. wala nakuha sakin kahit anong gamit. nakarating naman ko sa pupuntahan ko ng maayos.
jamApril 22, 2013 at 3:08 pm
sa gil puyat nangyari ito almost 2years ago. :/
skysenshiApril 22, 2013 at 6:09 pm
Grabe, nakakatakot mag-commute mag isa. Ayoko nga sumakay ng kahit ano basta nakita kong sobrang luwag.
skysenshiApril 22, 2013 at 6:11 pm
Yeah, I prefer trains. But I have never encountered goons in my bus route from my parents' house to the city of Manila. It was only on an Edsa bus that I witnessed thievery, too. As for this incident, it was a very short jeepney ride. Maybe we should do something about our mode of transportation.
AppleApril 22, 2013 at 8:26 pm
My sister is a current APC student and her phone was snatched from her 2 years ago. Same incident. Jeepney ride, then a male commuter tells her about a bubble gum sticking on her hair. Terrible.
AneApril 24, 2013 at 1:56 am
I wouldn't even know about it if I haven't read your post. 😛 I don't watch the news and really try to avoid it, it's just so depressing. 😛 But I'm glad I came across it on FB, at least I know what to watch out for, not just the ordinary pickpockets, but also people who'll try to distract and then rob you… tsk tsk
Lorence John AdolfoJune 2, 2013 at 2:31 pm
Doc Bea! Naexperience ko na to pero hindi bubblegum yung sa akin! Sabi nung lalaki may “plema” daw sa balikat ko!
skysenshiJune 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm
Yikes! Pinansin mo?
Luis ModomoMarch 1, 2015 at 6:46 am
grabe Doc, nangyari toh saken. feeling furious about it. just right now around 1 pm. hay… kaya mag ingat kayo! read the blog about it.
skysenshiMarch 1, 2015 at 12:12 pm
Gosh. Dapat ata isa ito sa naka pin sa side bar ko so that people can learn from it. 🙁 Sorry that this had to happen to you, Luis. 🙁