MANILA - Every chance they secure a seat is a chance to be with their loved ones.
With 4 days left before Christmas Day, more passengers have been flocking to the Araneta City Bus Station in Quezon City for their trips home for the holidays.
A total of 5,746 passengers left from the Araneta City Bus Port and Bus Station on Friday. The management expects more people to leave Saturday.
Since most bus companies are either fully booked or has a first come, first served basis, families had to get in line early even while their scheduled trips were still at noon.
Auring Sigalat spent more than a month in Marikina City to take care of her ailing mother. But she is homebound to take care of her children in Bicol. She is having a difficult time securing a ticket.
“Medyo may kahirapan, maaga kami pero wala kami ticket. Dapat daw magpapareserba. Bahala na si Batman!” she said.
(It's a bit difficult, we came here early but we can't get a ticket. We should have reserved, they said.)
Sigalat is eager to come home as her family in Bicol was affected by Typhoon Tisoy, which struck earlier this month.
“Sana kahit kami ay nabagyo maging masaya kasama pamilya kahit maraming sakuna. Medyo mabigat ang 2019, ‘di katulad ng dati, mahirap maghanap ng pera,” she said.
(Hopefully even if we went through a storm, our family will still be happy. The year 2019 was a bit heavy for us, unlike before, it was difficult to earn money this year.)
Lolita Bituya, 69, is excited to go home to Pasi, Iloilo. She had stayed with her sister and tried to work as a sweeper in Manila. But she said life is much harder here than home.
“Mahirap, nangungupahan lang kami apartment dito. Sweeper po. Sana po pera. Wala po pera talaga kasi. Ayaw ko na, mahirap,” she said, when asked of her wish.
(It's hard, we're just renting an apartment here. [I work as a] sweeper. [My wish is] money, because that's what we don't have. I don't want to stay here anymore, it's hard.)
Josephine Palmares, a part-time all around helper and criminology student, also felt the brunt of 2019. From Morong, Rizal, she will go home to Iloilo to spend some quality time with her father. But she said she has to return to Rizal before the year ends because of work.
“Actually taon-taon nagbabakasyon ako kasi kailangan ko po para sa pamilya ko. Personal na hiling ay makatapos ako sa pag-aaral para makatulong sa pamilya ko,” she said.
(I go home yearly for a vacation to see my family. My wish is to finish school so I can help my family.)
Honorato Docena, who is bound for Samar, remains optimistic despite a difficult year.
"Sana masaya kami mag-anak. Saka may handa... masaya ang pamilya. Depende sa pag-aadjust alam na natin na mabigat pero depende ‘yan sa sarili,” Docena said.
(My wish is for the family to be happy. We hope to have a feast...happy family. It depends on your adjustment how you handle difficulties.)
Passengers going back to their homes may have different struggles and problems, but they have a similar wish this Christmas: that is to get a chance to be with their loved ones.