Kung nasa Southbound lane ka ng EDSA at nalagpasan mo na ang North EDSA, hindi mo mami-miss ang Kamuning flyover. Kung ayaw mong ma-traffic sa Timog Avenue at sa Kamuning dahil sa dami ng mga bus terminals doon, take the flyover. Oo naman, heavy traffic din sa flyover during rush hour. At least, pagbaba mo, malapit ka na sa Cubao Ilalim. Kaunting tiis nga lang dahil sa sobrang daming mga bus na nakapila sa Cubao Ibabaw. Tahimik man ang Timog Avenue during the day; it comes alive at night. Lalo na kapag natapat ang payday near the weekend—super traffic sa area na ito because a lot of yuppies go there to eat, drink, and be entertained.

Hindi lang naman mga restaurant, bar, at iba pang entertainment joints ang makikita sa Timog area. This is also where the stations and headquarters of GMA7 and ABS-CBN are located. Kung may korona ang mga streets along EDSA, Timog Avenue ang title holder ng “Entertainment Center” ng buong Metro Manila. Kung super pressured ka nga naman sa work, at todo kayod ka throughout the month, puwedeng puwede pumasyal sa area na ito para mag-unwind at mag-relax.

image credit: unlawyer via Flickr

image credit: unlawyer via Flickr

Work Hard. Party Harder.

Maraming yuppies ganito ang patakaran sa buhay. Kaya naman, pagkatapos kumayod nang matindi, aba, enjoy-enjoy din nang todo-todo. Have you ever visited the bars and restaurants near Call Centers and other BPOs na graveyard shift? Minsan, 6am or 7am palang, makakakita ka ng nag-iinuman. Happy Hour! Kasi naman, ang tapos ng trabaho nila ay alas singko ng umaga. Kaya tuloy, ang kanilang “after work drinks” ay alas sais o alas siete ng umaga. But that’s not just the way that this principle is lived out. Pagdating ng suweldo most yuppies would say na pinaghirapan naman nila yun so they are entitled to spend it for themselves para mag-enjoy to the max!

Dahil iba-iba tayo ng interests, hobbies, at mga gustong gawin sa buhay, naturally, we also enjoy different forms of entertainment. Some forms of entertainment cost very little; samantalang iyong iba naman ay sobrang mahal. It boils down to our lifestyle choices and what we perceive to be the type of entertainment na bagay sa atin. If you want more of the comfy and more intimate setting, or talaga lang mas gusto mo mapag-isa or intimate group lang ang kasama, then you can enjoy watching a movie or TV shows. Or you may love gaming to the max. Siempre, hindi rin naman mawawala ang simpleng eating and drinking: coffee or something else into the mix. If you’re more of an extrovert, you would probably enjoy going out and meeting people in different places and situations. Ingat nga lang at baka makapag-engage ka in some rather risky behavior and setting.

Movies & TV Shows.

With the expansion of malls to emerging cities and to the provinces, dumarami na ang mga Pinoy na nagkakaroon ng access sa movies. Sadly, however, most of the movies being shown are either from Hollywood o di kaya ay mga Filipino movies na siguradong kikita. I’m not sure about your taste of movies, but if it’s any indication, mas successful ang maraming movies from the US compared to the movies from the Philippines. Pero dahil na rin sa Internet at sa CableTV, sumisikat na rin sa Pilipinas ang mga foreign TV shows like Arrow, The Walking Dead, and Big Bang Theory among others.

Siempre, hindi rin natin matatawaran ang kasikatan ng mga Pinoy teleserye. In fact, may mga subjects na nga sa ilang universities dealing with Philippine Teleserye. At least, watching movies and TV shows isn’t as expensive as paying for a concert. Puwede mo na rin ito i-enjoy from the comfort of your home.

Gaming.

Uso pa rin naman ang hardcore gaming sa iba’t ibang consoles: PC, PS4, Xbox, at Wii. Marami-rami pa ring naglalaro ng DOTA and other Role-Playing Game na Internet-based. But with the rise of powerful smartphones and tablets, dumami na rin ang mga casual gamers—think Angry Birds, Candy Crush, and other simple mobile games. The problem is, these games could be extremely addictive, nakakapuyat, at nakakaubos ng oras kahit supposedly nagtratrabaho ka sa opisina. Thankfully, dumarami na rin ang mga board games para sa mga geek barkada and it’s definitely an awesome way to spend time and hone your imagination, too!

Music—Live gigs, Concerts at Biritan sa Karaoke.

Music touches us in many ways. May mga kanta na nakaka-touch sa puso natin in deep ways to the point na feeling natin, the singer or the band is singing the story of our lives. Minsan din, may mga bands and singers that we just love so much, we want to hear them live sa mga bar, lounge, at sa concert nila. If you love Eraserheads, then sobrang sulit iyong naging ticket price ng kanilang Reunion Concert. In recent years, marami na ring mga foreign singers like Taylor Swift, Paramore, at Michael Buble ang nagpupunta sa Manila para mag-perform. Imagine, some people even had to pay around 10,000 to 20,000 pesos para lang makaupo sa area na malapit sa stage! If you have money, fine!

But if you don’t or kung ayaw mo lang talagang gumastos nang ganoong halaga, then you can always enjoy yourself at mga kaibigan mo na rin sa pamamagitan ng makaputol-litid na pagbirit sa karaoke. Natuwa na sila sa iyo, na-exercise pa ang boses. At kung may magsabi sa iyo na wala kang karapatang kumanta, you can always tell them “Kung si Anne Curtis nga, may karapatang kumanta!” Huwag na huwag ka lang kakanta ng “My Way,” and you’ll be fine!

Eating and drinking.

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image credit: Enon de Belen via Flickr

Maraming restaurants sa Timog and Tomas Morato area—Mediterranean, Filipino with a Twist, Classic Filipino, American, Italian—kahit ano pa ang craving mo, you can probably find a particular restaurant to cater to what you want. Kung gusto mo rin ng drinking spree with buddies, maraming bar doon. At kung trips mo ng kape-kape lang, you can also find several cafe in the area.

Maraming rason para sa eating and drinking—para i-celebrate ang promotion, pag-usapan ang mga personal at work-related problems, makipag-date at magkapalagayang loob, or puwede rin namang dahil trip lang talaga. Iba-iba rin ang level ng spending sa mga restaurants: may lower end na masarap pero matipid; mayroon din namang masarap pero nakakawala nang appetite dahil sa presyo; and still, mayroon ding akala mo masarap dahil saksakan ng mahal ang presyo, pero hindi ka masyadong natuwa sa lasa, pati bulsa mo nagreklamo pa!

Party-Party!

But there’s a different approach to having a good time—ito iyong party-party where you can dance to your heart’s content, drink, eat a little bit, and do whatever you want. Puwedeng mangyari ito sa isang disco or bar, sa isang private resort during team-building activities, or even in a semi-private setting. Kaya lang, some yuppies go all out at nawawalan ng inhibitions—eat, drink, and be merry to the max! Some yuppies even do drugs, sexual acts, at iba pang gawain that are considered to be risky behaviors. At kung hindi ka nag-ingat you might commit some mistakes that could have long-term consequences in your life: unwanted pregnancy, date-rape, compromising videos and photos, and even HIV infection.

As yuppies, we have the money, and we still have lots of energy. On top of that, wala pa tayong masyadong responsibilities sa buhay—either wala pang asawa at mga anak, or bata pa ang mga anak, and there’s this sense that we can do just about anything we want to do! Kaya nga, we look forward to the weekend, and dread waking up on Mondays to go to work.

The TGIF – ONIM Phenomenon.

Thursday afternoon pa lang, a lot of yuppies already feel the joy of the weekend. Kaya ang madalas na expression ay “TGIF: Thank God It’s Friday!” Tapos na naman ang pagsasakripisyo at mahirap na trabaho during the week. Parating na ang weekend and that means fun, fun, fun, or minsan rest naman. At kapag long weekend, hindi lang TGIF ang isisigaw kundi isang malakas na malakas na “Hallelujah!” Magbabakasyon sa beach, or sa Baguio, kahit saan basta malayo sa office at sa mga pressures ng work.

Kaya lang, pagkatapos ng weekend, ayan na, mapapa-facepalm at bubulong-bulong ng “Oh No It’s Monday!” na para bang sa lahat ng araw na nilikha ni Lord, kasumpa-sumpa ang Monday. Gusto pang i-extend ang weekend para mas mahaba pa ang pag-eenjoy sa buhay. Ibig din sabihin niyan, ang pagtratrabaho ay madalas na hindi enjoyable, it seems to suck the life out of many young professionals.

Pleasure and Its Discontents

With all these entertainment products na gusto nating i-enjoy, we want to be happy, we want to feel pleasure. Of course, there are times that a really good movie or TV show can make you cry and make you feel sad, but that just goes to show na gusto rin nating makalimutan ang mga problema natin, even for just a while. We want to be distracted. We want to escape this world and enter a new world where our best dreams could come true.

Wala namang masama sa pag-eenjoy; pinaghirapan mo iyan so you’re entitled to enjoy it. Too often, however, parang nabubuhay lang tayo in pursuit of pleasure. We work. We toil. We do everything in our power to earn money. And then we enjoy ourselves to the max. Kailangan magsaya. Kailangan makalimutan ang anumang problema.

There was once a king who pursued pleasure—wala siyang ipinagkait sa sarili. He “cheered himself with wine,” nagpaka-wiseman mode siya; nagpaka-“foolish” din; nagtayo ng maraming bahay, mansion, may garden at courtyard pa! Nag-ipon nang limpak-limpak na ginto at pilak; sobrang daming alagang animals, nag-hire ng mga singers para kahit kailan niya gusto may kakanta for him. And dig this: nag-ipon din siya ng sobrang daming asawa at concubines. He was the alpha male of his time and he said: “I had everything a man could desire!”

Why not? He deserved all these kasi nga nagtrabaho naman siya at biniyayaan ng Diyos ng pambihirang karunungan. Kaya wala siyang ipinagkait sa sarili. Enjoy-enjoy to the max talaga! “Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors.” (Ecclesiastes 2: 10). Kaya lang, may catch. Eventually, nung natikman na niya lahat ng uri ng pleasures na kayang bilhin ng kayamanan at kapangyarihan niya, he came to a very sobering conclusion: “But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.”

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image credit: Lord Jim via Flickr

Meaningless!

That’s how he saw everything that he did, and that is how he described the result of the pleasures he enjoyed. Maraming uri ng pag-eenjoy. Marami ring uri ng pleasure ang makukuha natin as a result of the blessings that we receive. There is a real possibility na iyong akala nating hinahanap natin, hindi pala iyon. So we try to fill our hearts with the many things that money can buy. Kaya nga we turn to entertainment, we turn to the “good things” that the world can offer.

Sa ating mundo, the entertainment industry has grown so big and it is present in almost every area of our lives. Kaya nga, sobrang dali lang i-pursue ng pleasure in all its forms. But what if, instead of quenching our thirsts, instead of letting us enjoy the fruits of our labors, these pleasures taunt us and lead us into a downward spiral of dependence and ever-increasing dosage of pleasure that does not really satisfy?

At pagkatapos ng lahat ng ginawa natin to pursue pleasure, we end up feeling what the writer of Ecclesiastes felt: “Everything is Meaningless!”

* * * * *

This is part of the #BiyahengEDSA series of reflections for the Pinoy young professional. Read other parts of this series below:

Introduction
Monumento: Out of the Way ang Idealism
Balintawak Cloverleaf: Entry Level
North EDSA: Ito Pala ang Rat Race
Timog Avenue: I Just Want to Have Some Fun!
Cubao Traffic [Poetry]
Ortigas: Relihiyon, Rebolusyon
Swerving after Crossing Ilalim on a Monday Morning [Poetry]
Boni-Guadalupe: Shifting Lanes
Ayala: Traffic sa Fast Lane.
Magallanes: Divergent Roads
EDSA Extension: Ito ba ang aking destinasyon?
Pasay Rotonda: At the Crossroads