As I was just about to head home, I saw this huge smoke just near our residential tower. It seems there is a fire near the Astoria Hotel in Mandaluyong City as I even get to hear sirens. Just in time, my wife sent me an SMS that the area is full of smoke and even to our place, they can smell the smoke emanating from the area where the fire is.

So I rushed not to park but to attempt to reach the place and perhaps check the exact location so I have something to scoop to my wife and son as soon as I reach home. I even prepared my DSLR camera just in case. Well, I took the road from University of Asia and the Pacific (UAP) and headed to Meralco Avenue. There I saw several news vans and fire trucks.

I took Shaw Boulevard and just at the corner of Astoria Hotel, I paused and checked the scene. People are everywhere mixed with firemen and policemen. I can still see the thick smoke and a little trace of fire. Some people who seem to be living there are either crying or some just laughing as if nothing happened.

Filipino indeed! I took my camera and took some shots but unfortunately, image was distorted by a fire truck that passed and blocked my view. Hmp. I took another shot but with a slow shutter and disabled flash, I only got an abstract painting. Hehehe.

So I decided to head home and park the car. There I realized two things. Filipinos indeed are fond of “chizmax” or news (rumors) as they say. Even at a point where it is impractical for someone to venture on something just to check out what is happening, we Filipinos will take all the odds just to get a glimpse of the scene and get the news first hand. Unfortunately and fortunately, I am a Filipino! Hehehe.

More so, Filipinos will always have a smile to brand amidst chaos, hardship and tragedy. We are battle-tested and strong-willed. We never just lose hope. Even at a point where it seems hopeless, we always find it easy to smile and find ways to laugh. Besides, it is free to smile as how my fraternity brod, Ansing advised me (“SMILE BROD! IT’S FREE”) in an unexpected meeting at SM North years ago when he was already a member of the famous SLAPSHOCK band. 

Anyway, I hope that the incident is not a case of arson as most of the people who lost their homes are squatters. The area is in front of NEDA and just besides a famous ASTORIA HOTEL and several posh residential towers and a village. I was thinking that maybe a new commercial tower is to be built there soon but it is just a speculation. I still do not know the story. Hehehe. Again, Filipinos are good storytellers. Hehehe. They are so imaginative that they can put up a story less clues and scripts. Hehehe.

It is sad. It’s almost back to school again and I pity some families especially students who were affected by this tragedy. I do hope that they can move on and start anew. Besides, we are known to be GOOD STARTERS anyway. Anyway, I have to end this blog entry now as I need to change my clothes to get rid of the smell. Cheers!