The rain started pouring hard this afternoon and while we wait for it to stop, 49-year-old construction worker Roel Nicompal was beside us under a shelter.
He was silently waiting for the rain to stop, holding his handle bar like how a biker anticipates a green light.
“Hihintayin ko lang itong ulan na matapos. Kung tumagal masyado, wala ako magagawa kundi mabasa,” he said. “Pero mas gusto ko pa rin mag-bike kahit ganito.”
(I’m waiting for the rain to end. If this takes too long, I don’t have any choice but to get wet. But despite things like this, I still prefer to bike.)
Another biker told us that it’s hard to ride when it rains. But he still chooses to cycle because he can wait and go home faster than drive a car and wait long hours in traffic.
Roel lives in Novaliches but he is doing masonry work in Mandaluyong. That’s far. It takes him one hour of bike ride during the morning and two hours every afternoon.
Here’s what he said when we asked why he rides a bike instead of riding public transportation
“Nagbi-bisikleta ako simula 2004, hindi ako nagco-commute kasi sayang sa pera eh. Sa bisikleta, mas mabilis. Hawak mo pa ang oras mo pwera na lang kung masiraan. At okay siya para sa mga kagaya ko na kinukulang ang sahod.”
(I’m biking since 2004, I don’t take public transport for commute because it’s a waste of money. WIth a bike, it’s faster. You also get to manage your time except when you get a bike problem. It’s really ideal for people like me whose salary is not enough.)
“Itong bike ko na ito, 2011 pa. 1,800 ko lang binili kasi second-hand at mura pa noon. Kahapon tinamaan ako ng taxi, biglang binuksan ang pinto. Pero kahit may ganoon, mas madali pa rin mag-bike at maganda na may bike lane ngayon.”
(I had this bike since 2011. I bought it for only 1,800 pesos because I bought it second hand and it’s cheap back then. I got hit by a taxi yesterday, the door suddenly opened. But despite that, it’s still easier to bike and there are good bike lanes now.)
We asked him what he wants right now, expecting he’ll wish for the rain to stop so he can go home.
“Wish ko ay para sa pamilya ko na lang,” he said.
(My wish is for my family.)
We followed up, asking what about a wish for himself.
“Sana mapalitan na lang siguro itong bike ko.”
(I hope to get my bike changed.)