911 Philippines

4:19am March 14, 2009 Saturday
(mostly written as we wait for help on side of the road)

With Megan Fox carefully and intimately sucking on my toes, I suddenly get shaken by some strong vibrations.

“MmEeGgAaNn!” I screamed while still abruptly being shook. I quickly realized that the hot girl from Transformers was only in my dreams.

“That’s it, we just lost our surfboards from the roof,” were my second thoughts as I awaken from my slumber.

We were on our way to Baler, Aurora, about 6 hours North of Manila. The ride had been amazingly smooth thus far. It was nice to be on roads that felt like they were actually built within the past century. Even better, we started our trip at 1am, so there were no signs of any traffic for miles. It’s the complete opposite of the usual unpaved roads and never-ending traffic in Manila. With our boards neatly stowed on top of our SUV flip flops on our toes and sun block in our bags, this was supposed to be the start of a very relaxing surf trip.

Then BOOMrattlerattlerattleshakeshakeshakerattleandroll!!!!

“WwHhAaTt JjUuSsTt HhAaPpPpEeNnEeDd??” I shakingly ask.

Either someone was knocking heavily and rapidly on our windows, as we drive down 135kms, or something else was going on that requested our immediate attention.

Fortunately, we were able to pull over to the side of the freeway with no problems other than the loud rattling sound and the intense shaking of our car. We head out to see what the problem was and immediately notice our right rear tire, or what’s left of it.

Our tire had completely blown. It was absolutely gone; there was even a grainy rubber trail from the pieces of tire disintegrating as we pulled over.

Now my friends try to use the jack to lift the car but unfortunately, the jack they had was too small and couldn’t lift the SUV high enough for us to change the tire. So I then ask them what the emergency number is so I can call for help. Funny thing is, no one knew the emergency number in the Philippines….

It’s kinda funny. I mean put us in a worse case scenario where things go really bad, everyone else is unconscious, and all you have is your phone in your pocket – Who you gonna call? I’d call the Ghostbusters but I don’t know their number either.

I then start my trial and error for the right number. I dial 911, the emergency number for the US, and get Pizza Hut! Well, I guess in times of dire need, you can’t go wrong with pizza.

A few wrong numbers and I finally get to 117, the actual emergency number for the Philippines.

Help arrived right away. No more than five minutes had passed before we see some flashing lights. The guys that helped us out did everything for us. They changed the tire and re-attached the old one to the back of our SUV. We tried to give them some money for their troubles, the usual practice here, but to our surprise they wouldn’t accept it.

It was just nice to know that no matter how much many may think that the Philippines isn’t moving forward, there will be situations like this that makes me think on a more positive note.

Now here’s the crazy part, the guys said that we’re lucky it was the back tire that blew. Otherwise, our SUV would have lost control and probably rolled over. Especially at the speed we were going, 135kms. For whatever reason, the stars had been aligned our whole lives and that tire was on the rear side of the SUV instead of the front.

Weird isn’t it? How little things have the power to change our lives just like that.

If we did, or ever do, get into a big accident, at least now I know the number for Pizza Hut.

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