Threatened

The recent explosion at Glorietta turns out to be one of a terrorist attack as I have initially thought and not an LPG explosion which was the first speculation I received through email. My guess was backed-up by the images I saw and the e-mail’s accompanying description- the bomb ripped from the basement all the way up to the roof of the mall. You can read condensed versions of bloggers’ account of the incident in MLQIII’s website.

The Glorietta is not really one of my favorite malls back in the country given its dizzying layout. I’ve visited it a countless time but still I haven’t mastered its floor plan. What attracts me to the place is its strategic connection to the Ayala train station and shuttle terminals. It’s one of the most accessible place to meet up with friends after office hours, an easy compromise for those coming from the Las Pinas, Ortigas, and of course, Makati.

I am not writing about the bombing because I can’t say to myself that I could have been one of those in the area. Had I still been back in the Philippines, I would be safely cloistered in my cubbyhole in Ortigas by half past one in the afternoon or so- the time it had happened. The closest terror attacks I have encountered were when I was mugged on jeepney a few weeks before I left for Germany where I was left with all but nine pesos of loose change in my pocket, and the day after a bus bombing in Ayala about three years ago, just a few hundred meters away from where the recently bombed mall is located. In the latter, I observed the passengers of the morning train sit in silence, as always, and yet I smelled the air with the mixture of paranoia, fear, and prayers.

There have been only two occasions when I didn’t feel safe here in Freiburg. The first one was the time I was still hunting for a place to live in. I found myself on the other side of the city (which I delineate with the main train tracks). Walking alone to the general direction of the tram stop, the stretch of the street teleported me back to downtown Manila. Flickering neonlights, smoking sidewalk by-standers, and a generous serving of my paranoia were scenes I don’t feel on the other part of town. It didn’t help that I was barely three weeks old in the city. It is sad that I associate Manila with danger after my mugging incident. The second time was when I witnessed a guy kick a bike idly parked in front of a mall while I was crossing a street on my way to a tram stop (again!). He has downed too many bottles of Hefeweizen perhaps. Given these, I have come to conclude that I should use my bike more often and stay away from tram stops.

The people who blew up Glorietta pulled out a very nasty trick which as of last count claimed ten innocent lives and left more than a hundred injured. As I finish my module in governance, in another land, I can’t put in place where all these shocks in my “real model” could figure.

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