Ang 'Magtataho'

Two days for a weekend seems not enough. Before I knew it I was up again for my usual four am routine of boarding a jeep going to a bus terminal that will transport me back to city life and back to the reality. I was on board a jeep pondering thoughts of how quiet and laidback life is in the province - fresh air, green sorroundings, less noise, less people, and most of all no rush hour! Such a tranquility that would drive people like me into deep thoughts. While doing my silent wonderings, I saw onboard a physically well-built man. He was fighting back the to urge to sleep although he was drowsing. By the look on his face, he's probably close to fourties but I suppose he is a bit younger than my estimates. His eyes mirror something like grimness, his face shows some wrinkles and I guess, it may be because of all the physical hardships he'd endure in life. In front of him were two large aluminum buckets full of taho. He is a 'magtataho'. I guess that explains for his broad shoulders. While taking a few side glances on his face, I was thinking of his family. How many children does he have? How many children is he sending to school? Or if his earnings enough to support his family. Is he happy and content with his life?

When we reached the city proper of Angeles City, he'd called in the driver to stop on the sidewalk. He bent down while putting the long wooden plank over his shoulders and began muscling his way, back first, going down the jeepney. I've seen how his muscles on his shoulders, arms and legs flex obviously for the great physical effort he was exerting balancing the two full buckets of taho. And I noticed, he was wearing only a worn out rubber slippers. How could his feet survive a long walk on a blistering heat under his feet? I guess he'd become too used to all the physical effort of his task that walking on a heated streets of cobblestones, bricks, concrete or dirts is nothing compared to not able to sell out all the 'taho' and going home to his family with a half-empty pocket.

I was expecting he was going to shout out calling for customers but I've seen him walking probably going to the outskirts of the city where his frequent buyers are waiting.

This is just a very usual sight as I am used to seeing 'magtataho' all over the place here in Makati. But it's the closer look of that 'magtataho' that inspires me to write this blog and the realization that after all the blessings I have received from God, I still find myself fretting over something petty and capricious. That sometimes it feels like all the world's burden has been laid down on my shoulder. That after seeing that man move his way, knee bent, crouching as if taking a ready mark to battle with the life, I felt a sudden guilt. Guilty because I've been a whiner most of the time. Guilty because I think I have not been contented with what is given to me.

Although I haven't seen the smile on the face of a man I've seen very early today, I have seen the determination in his every move. As he gazed towards his destination, there fixed in his a face a resolute belief that his day will be spent on fulfilling an installation of the great purpose of his life, without bearing any complains. I'm sure that he is striving to make ends meet, he's harboring thought that someday he might not be walking with thin and worn out slippers... small wants? Yes. But as an answer to the last question above, I think he is happy and content living his simple life.

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