I have to explain to my team leader and teammates why I can’t attend the Batangas team get-away. And I told them the truth. I won’t miss this year’s Labor Day protests. As our teammate (and future team lead) Jeremy puts it, “Wala na pala tayong no choice.”
My shift ends at noon that day so I had to rush downstairs to call anyone from the march to updated where should I proceed. I immediately called Aaron of Sanlakas Youth after grabbing my phone out of my locker.
“Pa-Mendiola na kami. Recto daw ‘ata ito.”, the Cebuano student leader, sounding not too sure, answered when I asked where they are already. His stay for 2 semesters at the San Beda College of Law before seems not enough to learn the confusing streets of Metro Manila’s urban jungle.
I, then, rode a cab thinking that heavy traffic is expected along the usual jeepney route. As always, I navigated the cab through Quezon City and Manila’s inner streets and I was already at Mendiola right when the frontline is about to cross the Recto-Legarda intersection.
The sun is hot enough to give other teams back at work the impression that I attended our team’s beach activity. The heat is really scorching that not a few protesters can’t fight the temptation of going to the sidewalks, where there are a lot more shade than in the streets, to rest.
The Mendiola program is short. I greeted several comrades, waved and danced with a flag and sang the Internationale with the rest of the working class on our birthday. Yes, I am officially a part of the labor sector.
After the program, we, nearly all of us in our 20’s (except for Rasti… hehe), ate at a nearby hole-in-the-wall carinderia along Gastambide. We rested there for a while and with our stomachs full, walked towards España as all of us are QC-bound.
Pia Montalban, the blogger-activist from the group PUNYAL that I met at the Student Summit weeks ago, went with me at home to drink a couple of Super Dry with some political pep talks as pulutan. She actually requested a talk back then regarding my take on several issues, mainly political and some organizational about the left.
She went home at about 8pm and I proceeded to a new hang-out along Kalayaan Avenue to dine and drink with a Aaron, Rasti, Jofti, Rhodz and Job. Sato, Iris and Jan of UP Diliman came along afterwards.
A few quaffs of a German beer, the name of which I can’t pronounce and the spelling I can’t remember, capped my first May 1 as a salaried slave. Happy birthday to me!