Village People

Let me tell you about Julius, a tricycle driver who lives in his tricycle in Tagbilaran City.

A busy day today. Penny and I got invited to fiesta lunch at Jerry’s house. Fiesta is a Spanish colonial Catholic tradition. It’s largely a social event these days, a bit like protestant evangelicals decorating Christmas trees and celebrating Easter and Halloween. What’s interesting, though, was that Penny was asked to lead the prayer before meals. I always loved Penny’s prayers. In my observation over many years, Penny prays better than the educated people in our village. Her prayers are humble, thankful, certainly not memorized, and honoring of God. I think Penny is a reformed Christian in an unreformed church. Can happen.

Well since Jaime was up in the hills, it was Julius who drove us in Jerry’s tricab. Odd how all my tricab driver’s names start with the letter ‘J’.

Julius comes from Carmen. His wife and 2 kids live there and he goes home weekends. I asked where he stays in Tabilaran and to my utter surprise he said, “in this tricab!’

Turns out some 20 tricab drivers live in their tricabs parked along the road near Gallares Hospital. That sure brought back memories of when I’d go out of the hospital late night to get something to eat or buy hot water from one of the eateries there. I imagined going past Julius asleep in his tricab.

Living weekdays in a tricab is cheaper than renting a room! I asked where he bathes and toilets. He said the Petron gas station where they all get their fuel. They don’t have to pay for the bath and toilet. Oh wow, that’s fantastic, I told him. What about police, I asked, they don’t bother you? Oh no, he said, as long as we don’t block road traffic, etc. I figured the police were compassionate folks who let these hardworking drivers stay.

I’ll be praying for Julius tonight, along with my friends who are sick today.

By Fatima

Artist, Writer, Farmer. Born in Manila, lives in Bohol, Philippines.