Red Brick Road of Teresa

Thursday, October 23, 2014 0 Comments A+ a-

And because it's almost November (the new "hell month" or "sabaw month" for UP students ever since the calendar shift), we're starting to write our graded essays that will undergo class workshops. For the first essay, we could write either about a place (travelogue) or a profile (any person except for ourselves). I chose to write a travelogue because I've been meaning to write about Teresa for the longest time. For people who love PUP Sta. Mesa / Teresa, please don't get me wrong for the first few paragraphs. Believe me, I've come to love PUP / Teresa as much as you do, even if I didn't study there. PUP is home to most of my closest high school buddies, and home to one of the most cheapest street food hubs in the Metro - and I absolutely LOVE street food :) 

At the end of my essay, I've included some of my Creative Writing: Nonfiction classmates' comments. Feel free to comment on my essay too! Whether they be positive or negative, as long as they're written in a constructive way. :) I'll be surely needing those comments, plus a few suggestions would also be nice, since I'll be submitting a revision of this essay by December.


Red Brick Road of Teresa*

Once again, I found myself wondering what to do in my 6-hour long vacant period. A little planning might have helped but I've always believed that indecision at the last minute always pushes you to the best destinations. I was talking on the phone with one of my high school buddies when I mentioned by dilemma. "Why are you even asking?" she said. "Go to Teresa". At that time, Teresa seemed to be a not-so-good idea. Judging my travel time from UP to PUP Sta Mesa and vice versa, I already found myself saying "no" to the idea. Besides, I don't even know how to travel to Teresa. 

But there I was, commuting and leaving the sanctuary that UP is for the noisy, crowded and dirty Teresa (as described by my high school buddies who study there). Teresa was seven LRT stations away from Katipunan, but I opted to ride their famous "patok" jeepneys. Riding the jeepney was easier because Teresa is located at the jeepneys' terminal, so no worries of getting lost there (all passengers will alight at the Teresa terminal, also known as Stop N Shop). Alighting at Teresa, I already wanted to get back to the jeepney for a ride back to UP (Katipunan). The place was just too loud and too crowded for me. It felt as if the noise was invading my very soul, probably because I was so accustomed to UP's more serene environment. Two minutes in Teresa, and the place literally made me feel like my senses were being assaulted.

"Once you're on the red brick road, you're on the right place", said my high school buddy. So I guess I'm not lost. This half-kilometer (my distance estimation) stretch of red brick road became famous for its student-on-a-tight-budget meals and merchandises sold t the lowest price possible. One of the first few things that you'll notice about Teresa is that it smells like something is always on the fry (using frying oil for the nth time), as if the whole community's diet all year round was anything deep-fried. The place also smelled and looked like it never once experienced rain: everything was dry and everywhere felt scorching hot.

There is almost no green life in view, save for the few potted plants in front of establishments to prevent vehicles from parking. The road is so crammed with a variety of vehicles: cars, pedicabs, trucks and motorcycles that one must have the skills of a public transportation driver to pass through this busy and crowded road. Not one place was uncommercialized. Every single place was utilized from small kiosks that sell halo-halos served all-year round and delicacies from different regions in the country (sisig, piaya, palitaw, biko, etc) to the Daniel Padilla stores (humorously labeled as such because ♫ ne seye ne eng lehet..) that sell school supplies, kikay kits, KPop/JPop items, stationery items, and whatever thing you could think of. Teresa is also home to calamares cuts as big as palm for Php 5, and isaws as long as unsharpened Mongol and as wide as the average smartphones for Php 5 (beat that Mang Larry).

As mentioned earlier, Teresa has noise levels that can rival that of Divisoria's during the Christmas season. There's the sound of the PNR train that passes by every 15 minutes or so. Curse words are heard so frequently that after an hour's stay in Teresa, you'll hear yourself saying one.

I've learned to love all of Teresa's "perfect imperfections" primarily because of the people in Teresa, They're as loud and as warm as the place itself, personalities I failed to find in the coldness and isolation of UP. Even on my first visit to Teresa, I found myself smiling and laughing at the conversations of a group of friends walking inches from me. I found myself being given an extra serving of rice and sabaw by the friendly Manang ("extra sabaw para kay ateng sabaw"). I found myself laughing and joking with the energetic and friendly siomai vendor ("dine-in o let it go?").

I found myself yearning for that 6-hour long vacant period, for a trip back to the red brick road of Teresa.