Your bustling streets vibrate with the rumbling of the jeepneys
and the hollers of the drivers as they say,
“Pasahero diyan, kasya pa, kasya pa!”; (Any passenger there, some seats are still free!)
Your nights twinkle with the Christmas lights
that surround every tree around the Meralco building
when September begins;
Your endless traffic jams keep McDonald’s and KFC alive
twenty-four by seven
where traffic enforcers dodge cars
trucks and tricycles
and jeepneys and bicycles
while dancing to the rhythm beating in their own ears
with a smile and a salute to all the drivers
from dawn to dusk;
The noise awakens the outskirts of your city
filled with people who never fails to smile
even when the storm pirouettes like a tempestuous ballerina,
where children watch the roads
transform into this ocean of black water
and small wooden boats become the means of transportation;
paddling in between houses
as the adults try to go to work;
where chickens waddling upon roofs
and cats chasing rats
become the best forms of entertainment
your lingering smell of cancer
comes with the dark blue starless sky
telling people to grip their bags until it merges with their bodies.
Manila, say good night
while they hold it tight
protecting it from the dark humid air
where thieves come out to
thumb down unscrutinised objects
from shallow pockets
by the flickering lamps
across the blazing red and emerald green lights
you see less
as the Sun sinks and says good bye.
and try to tranquilise yourself.
Your city is now lead
by a blood-thirsty leader.
Apologies from gunshots overpower the cries of help from your people.
and sleep well.
Let the truth decay
while lives burn and vanish.
Prayers cannot save your mutinous ignominy.
Halcyon days are over
you are still a beautiful city.
Your resilient people
overflows with hospitable hearts.
Their faces plastered with big smiles
as they welcome us for you
and say, “Mabuhay!” (Long live!)
proud and mighty.
Offering their minds on banana leaf plates to everyone who visits,
Giving away their hearts in small loot bags to everyone who leaves,
The Pearl of the Orient Seas
was my hood.
despite your lack of snow
and intense weather swings,
and will always be