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Ngarag, bes

Raffy Cabristante | Talking to a Wall

Because August is “Buwan Ng Wika,” let me introduce you to a new Filipino word: ngarag, which means “extremely exhausted.”

Imagine yourself on your way to work at six in the morning. You’re running late and there’s flood near your apartment on Taft Avenue. Manila is ankle-deep. It’s raining cats and dogs, too. Since your pants and shoes are already soaking wet and you don’t want to get to your office in Quezon City looking like a disaster, you spend the final P100 bill you have in your wallet to take a taxi. You’re thankful for that taxi, by the way—that was the sixth taxi you hailed while standing in the flood.

You woke up early just to get on time for your 8 AM shift, but because of the intense traffic and flood, the boss still reprimands you for being 30 minutes late once you arrive at your office. The moment you sit on your desk, you’ve got loads of paperwork to finish to. You remain seated on your desk for the next eight hours, stealing a few minutes of work time for bathroom and lunch breaks.

The clock strikes five. You’re still not finished. Because you don’t want to bring your work at home (which isn’t really a very good idea), you decide to go overtime. Fortunately, time is on your side and you manage to e-mail all the deliverables to your boss. You immediately get a reply from him, and you’re surprised because he has a different way of saying thanks: “Lampas ka na naman sa deadline. Usap tayo bukas about your performance.”

You take advantage of the fact that you’re the only person left in the office. You feel so disappointed at your boss’ ingratitude, you scream curses at the top of your lungs. But eventually, you take a deep breath and decide to let it go.

It’s 9 PM. You wait for a train at the MRT-3 Araneta Center-Cubao station, amid a sea of people just as sick and tired of EDSA traffic as you are. But trains aren’t a saving grace either, because the next train that arrives is packed like sardines. You have no choice; you go along with the mini-stampede created by the people pushing you in all directions. For the next 40 minutes, you’re stuck in a hot chamber that smells like sweat.

The only fact that makes you happy is that it’s payday today. But the happiness doesn’t last for long; you find a stockpile of bills outside your door when you arrive at your apartment—rent, electricity, water, phone. You withdraw a little over half of your pay for the bills, and your plans to treat yourself with some good Starbucks coffee are ruined. “Wala nang budget, eh. Balik-karinderya na lang tayo nito,” you think to yourself.

You lie down on your bed, thinking about Dumaguete. Because it’s Founders, you see posts from your friends on Facebook taking selfies from the Hibalag Booth Area, having a swell time. You want to go back home, too—but you don’t have enough money to buy a round-trip plane ticket. Left with no other choice, you fill your head with thoughts of home, until reality hits you—you keep asking yourself, “Why did I leave beautiful Dumaguete for this kind of life?”

That, my friend, is pretty much the world waiting for you after graduation. The real world may look glamorous when you’re a student (trust me, I had the same mindset before), but better enjoy college life while you’re at it. Because sooner or later, you’ll realize that adulting is ngarag, bes.~

Raffy Cabristante graduated from Silliman in 2014 with a degree of Bachelor of Mass Communication, magna cum laude. Right after graduation, he went to Manila to work as a social media producer for GMA News and Public Affairs for two years. He now works with Silliman’s Office of Information and Publications as an editorial assistant.

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