Thursday, December 5, 2013

I Got Mugged and What You Can Learn From It


Manila, the Bruja, at night. 
The night has fallen. The city rats come out to forage dirty left-overs.

3WH steps out of the bus. He breathes the foul air of the public market nearby. He is happy.

He looks around the Christmas bazaars that has formed around the public market. He notices the whole of the market has closed but the vendors have poured outside in the street to sell their wares. He is amazed at what he sees. A truly different alien world mixed of Chinese goods and poverty class army of hawkers. He looks for a worthwhile product. He reminds himself it was his mission to investigate.

Investigate he did.

He goes around the public market to see what sorts of critters he will find in the graveyard of stalls. He advances into the darkness of an alley that line the side of the desolate market. The calm moon barely lit the way and nothing else. He took his iPhone to illuminate his way.

He hears rustles. He sees a small figure of a man. 

It must be vendors sleeping here,” he mutters to himself.

He didn’t think he was in danger. He had been too far shadier places in Latin-america.  He thought he blends-in even though countless others have told him that he stands out.

He advances armed only with the light of his iPhone.

On the very back of the market he sees lights and the faint hum of music. There were people. It quiet his mind. He takes a closer look and peers inside the shanty bar. Wooden chairs, and a music machines, and maybe 8 men. He looks at them. They look back with a drunkard glance.

Someone has entered their territory. 3WH knew it. He has pushed his luck this night.

He steps away. Proceeds to go back to the bustling of the street away from the quiet corner. He cannot see so he uses his iPhone.

30 meters away to the lighted street. He could see more figures in the darkness following him. Through closed stalls they were obviously stalking him.

It will be just a matter of time,” he mutters to himself.


from the shadow, they stalk
He removes his gold chain off his neck and quietly stuffs it in his shoes.

A figure arises from the front. He stops.

Just give them what they want,” he remembers a voice uttered by a friend on what exactly to do in this situation.

One in front. Two in the Back. 30 meters from the street. A closed market.

This was not a pickup. This was a hold-up.

They approached. I gave my wallet and the iPhone. I did not see a blade, but I was told there was one.

They left. I walked to the street. WTF next? Went to a police station reported the crime. Went to a taxi and went home.

Went home, reported and reordered everything. The next day I had my license back.

It was an interesting story. I have lost some things, but interestingly, they didn't’t take what was important to me. 
If your surrounding is increasingly turning into this picture.. you should turn back
Taken:
Leather Wallet
Cash – Php600 ($15)
Iphone 4 (w/ cracked screen) 3 years old with hardware problems.
ID – Village ID, American License, American Debit Card, Philippine Debit Card, Philippine ID, numbers of random girls.
What they didn’t take
Gold Chain with my Patron – Priceless
Go-Pro with Mounts and Peripherals - $400 dollars.

The good thing about this venture was that it taught me what exactly it is I am dealing with. I now have upgraded instincts of what constitutes dangerous situation. I was dumb for doing what I did, but I had no clue.

Now I do.

Lessons
Do not explore slummy looking areas at night, stay in developed places
Carry a hidden stash of cash with you
Have a back-up wallet at home  
Primary wallet should contain Debit card #1 and Local ID 
Backup wallet should contain Debit Card #2 and Local ID
Have all the numbers to report theft handy
Never bring a passport when you go out
Never bring US Identification (if you have local ID)
Never bring US bank card

Most important: always give them whatever it is they want.  Do not put up a fight. 
Look out for any place that has men drinking outside.
dark brown, no shirt, cards, drinking, unpainted hollow blocks, ghetto wood table, alcohol = signs of bad news

All in all I had it good. I lost some sleep over it but it really wasn't that bad. Those guys were drunk and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Slummy people know who is from there and who isn't. In a way, I had a true crash course of Philippine society. Don't let it happen to you. 

Maybe it was Karma. From breaking hearts. If it was penance it was not enough. I think I’ll chill for a bit get my Karmic level up. I think this experience had made ready. Maybe it is time to write the 3WH guide to Manila.

Stay tuned. 


A moment of peace for my IPhone

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You have been there for countless years

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your pearly skin had led me to many skins

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I only wish I had left you in better hands

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We used to listen to this a lot in the train

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Dedicated to you

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