My city

So you live in Cabanatuan City.

Congratulations. You're in one of the three top cities in the country as rated by the highly respected Asian Institute of Management.

I hate you, too, because you live in a much better place than I do, though admittedly I spend most of my waking/working hours in your city, too.

Consider these:

1. In Cabanatuan City, you hold on tightly to the drinking glass before opening the faucet; it could fall and break due to the high water pressure.  Here where I live, I hold on to the drinking glass when I open the faucet; it could fall and break when I doze off while waiting for the trickle of water to fill it up. The water district here brags about how it has extended its service to nearby barangays, and seems to forget that right in the city proper, household faucets connected to the American era distribution pipes buried neck deep under the paved streets are dry most of the day.

2. In your city you are served by a very efficient power company with a fleet of service trucks and crew at its disposal whenever the need arises. In my city, I can't quite understand why I have to call up the electric cooperative's main office in the next town whenever a blackout happens on my street, when the cooperative maintains a branch office only two blocks away from my house. My street, barely three blocks long, is also possibly the place most often affected by blackouts in the entire city and the cooperative can check this out in their records, if they bother to keep them. Yet no one has ever come up with a final solution to the problem.

3. Just like there, yes, it's peaceful here, too -- a few fatal ambuscades, a cockpit raid and a market fire notwithstanding. But no, it's not peaceful where my house stands. Bored drivers at a tricycle queue in front of the city plaza just three houses away, while away their time until midnight listening to loud music from stereo sets installed in their cabs, with no one -- not a cop or even just a barangay tanod -- reminding them that they are in a mostly residential area at a time when residents are already in bed. My next door neighbor opened a videoke bar, but the law of marketing and economics, and possibly God Himself, intervened and closed down the project before the profits even started to roll in. Then, somebody at city hall had this dumb idea to give free physical fitness lessons at the city plaza early in the morning.  Music blares as early as 4:30 AM, and a fitness instructor starts to bark his orders from the  public address system at about 5:00 AM. I'm sure that compared to the obese matrons doing their routines at the park, I've lost more weight just lying in bed at that hour, no thanks to lack of sleep. I'm sure, too, that the person behind this program, the public address system operator, the fitness instructor and the obese matrons gathered there are glad that their families live far from that area and are able to sleep at that hour undisturbed.

But it's not too late.  One of these days, I just might make the daring move to sell my 75 year old house and lot -- termites, dry rot and all -- leave my city and move to YOUR city, and enjoy the AIM-certified benefits of living there.

One question, though: Is it illegal in Cabanatuan to maintain 13 cats -- none of them neutered -- at home?

[July 15, 2008]