I was Pickpocketed in a 04L Jeepney last Saturday


Last August 31, 2013 (Sat), around 10AM-ish, I decided to visit my hearing aid specialist for some adjustments. So, I took a 04L multicab. The illustration below is what the passenger seating looked like. It’s not entirely correct (I have terrible memory), but it should give you an idea.


Upon getting in, I wanted to sit beside B (the seat was vacant), but he cautioned me to sit elsewhere. The look and the gesture on his face told me there was something wrong with the seat to his left. I couldn’t see anything strange, but I decided to sit at A. I stared at B (he was wearing a sunglass) and looked closely to the empty seat beside him while squinting my eyes. I saw spit on the backrest. That must be why he wanted to move, but a lady sat on it a little later, and he cautioned her about the spit.

As the jeep neared towards the overpass in Salinas Drive (going to IT Park), D, wearing a white shirt and a gold watch on his left hand, told me, “Isulod na sa bag imong cellphone. Maraming magnanakaw doon.” ([In Bisaya] Put your cellphone in your bag. [In Tagalog] There are many snatchers there.)” I found his statement weird. First, he spoke in Bisaya, then suddenly changed to Tagalog. It was clear to me that he was not a local. Second, this was a road I crossed far too many times I can count. I walked this road. I ran this road. I biked this road. I ate in nearly all sidewalk carenderias (sort of like a caferia), and have even gotten a 30-peso haircut in a nearby barbershop. In short, I knew this road, day and night. So, why would he tell me about snatchers in this area?

Against my better judgement, I decided put my phone in my messenger bag. Nearing Cebu I.T. Park, D decides to pay a 20-peso bill to the jeepney conductor, who was near the entrance. B hands over the loose change to C, and manages to drop a coin or two. I decided to move my feet so he could see the coin. He picks it up, and gives it to D. However, he decides to go down again moving his hands forcely towards my feet, as if trying to retrieve more coins. It took too long. So at this point, I knew this was a laglag barya (drop coin) modus operandi. So I held my bag closely. Then, I looked towards E, who was trying to talk to me. “Gikuha imong cellphone” ([In Bisaya] Your cellphone was taken). So, I opened my bag, and found my cellphone gone.

Then, C goes out of the jeepney. I asked around who took my cellphone, and the people (including B and D) pointed to C (in red polo shirt and green bag). So I told the jeepney driver to stop. As I went out, I also told the jeepney conductor (an acquaintance) not to let the jeepney go. I approach C and asked him if he took my phone. He didn’t say anything. Confused, I looked back at the jeep, trying put the puzzle together. Then much later, somebody approaches me with my cellphone; it must have been one of the bystanders who was observing the commotion. And oh, the useless security guard from the under-construction Filinvest Cebu Cyberzone did not bother to mediate. I don’t blame him; it’s not his job, but the fact he didn’t call for police makes him useless. With my cellphone in hand, I let C go, while shouting loudly that he was a thief. Then, a habal-habal (a public motorcycle transportation) driver approaches me to get on his motor so we can look for a police nearby.

As C heads for The Walk, the driver finds two policemen near a restaurant. I hop into the police car, and we go around The Walk, but don’t see any trace of C. We drive towards the main road, but still don’t see C. So, I tell the police to just give it up, since the thief could have already taken a jeepney. They ask if I wanted to report it to the police station. I said no, since I couldn’t remember what they looked like (I have a terrible memory). So they just write down my name, so they could report it to the station. I get out of the car, still shocked by what just happened.

In the end, I’m glad I’m safe and was able to get back my phone, but I still defeated for not getting B, C, and D caught and jailed. I don’t know where the cellphone came from, but I assume witnesses inside the jeep confronted D,  made him give it up, and had the bystander give it to me. As the laglag barya happened, I wished I had a Google Glass (or a hidden camera) right there and then. I could have taken a snapshot of those pickpockets, and shown them to the police. I could have used my cellphone, but that could have been inappropriate (and I was busy holding on to my bag).

To E, whoever you are, THANK YOU! from the bottom of my heart. Please drop me a note; I would like to treat you to lunch or dinner, or at least thank you in person. Or if you were one of the passengers on that jeep, please let me know whatever happened to B and D.

To the rest of you, may this serve as a warning that laglag barya is back. Be wary of people who wear sunglasses inside jeepneys and act strange. As for cellphones, I think it wouldn’t have mattered if you took it out or not, although it would reduce the chances of being pickpocketed if they hadn’t seen it. In your hand, you’d have more control with your phone, and you’d know right away if somebody tried to snatch it. I think the front pocket of a polo is the best place to keep it. But, a pickpocket will always pick something. If he couldn’t get your phone, he’d still reach for your pocket or your bag. So, your best protection will be vigilance.

Breaking Rules at Gawad Kalinga Cebu Run 2012


gawas kalinga cebu run 2012 medal

It’s amazing that I completed today’s fun run, despite the negativity I was generating. I broke 2 basic rules of running (AND I do not encourage it).

  1. I did not have enough sleep. For the past 3-4 days, I barely had a good night’s rest. Last night, I only had 5 hours of sleep. But still, I pushed myself to wake up when the alarm sounded at 3:15AM. I was still so tired and sleepy, and the Lipovitan did not really help. 15 minutes into the run, I was already breathing heavily. After an hour, I just wanted to drop the race, and go home and sleep. Fortunately, last night’s motivational “Never give up” success secret from an attendee at the Digital Influencers Marketing Summit slapped me in the face. If you are going to run long distance (21K, in my case), you need to have a good rest beforehand so you feel fresh, and ready to conquer the road.
  2. I tried out new gear. I bought a New Balance 890 v2 during the Ayala Center Cebu sale a week ago, but didn’t try them out for a long run yet. I wore them to work, and ran 1.5K with them TWICE without any pain… until today. During the half part of the race, my left toe started to hurt. It’s probably just a lacing issue, so I’m going to adjust that on my next run. In case you ask, the New Balance 890 v2 doesn’t feel heavy like the Adidas Supernova Glide 4. It’s responsive and comfortable enough, but it doesn’t provide the coolness (air) I get from an Adidas Climacool Ride. At 40% off, it was a good buy. Now, if you don’t want surprises during a race, never try out new things (food – you don’t want LBM, gear, etc.) without at least testing them during your practice runs, so you can adjust any discomfort (or get at least used to it).

Violations aside, I’m just glad I finished the Gawad Kalinga Cebu Run 2012 in 2 hours and 50 minutes. Overall, it was OK. They had good hydration intervals, and two of them were Powerade, though none of them were cold. One thing I didn’t like in the race was the lack of distance markers. My GPS died after 6K (I must have pressed a button on my phone), and I didn’t bother to track after that. So I just relied on time, and turning points. Now, turning points are scary markers, because sometimes they are not placed in the middle of the race. So when I saw that I was already 2 hours at the turning point, I thought I’d finish in 4 hours, which was understandable given how tired and sleepy I was. So, minus points to the race organizer for not providing distance markers.


GCHANG in the Year 2011


The year I was jobless for 3 months, and regretted not having jobsearched earlier.

The year I nearly got into IBM, and eventually signed for Accenture.

The year I learned Siebel, and now have to forget about it.

The year I joined Yammer, and supported the use of corporate social media.

The year I got hospitalized, and grateful it wasn’t dengue.

The year I started running, and still yet have to make my first 10K.

The year I drank wheatgrass, and wondering if it’s all snake oil.

The year I built a portfolio of private trackers, and getting high on downloads.

The year I joined online raffles, and winning a good number of them.

The year I fried my laptop motherboard, and glad it was under warranty.

The year I plugged in two 110-volt gadgets into 220-volt mains, and still hating it.

The year I reached an all-time high in eBay, and still keeping the faith in online sellers.

The year I joined Citisec Online, and started investing in Philippine stocks.

The year I acquired a brand new phone, and loving my first Android.

The year I got my hands on Kindle DX, and saving trees one book at a time.

The year I bought from Manning and O’Reilly, and still yet have to try Packt and SitePoint.

The year I started blogging in WordPress, and still thinking about my niche.

The year I saw Transylvania move to private domain, and still wishing for new blood.

The year I attempted to make new friends, and still sucking at it.

The year I planted trees, and still look forward to more environmental activities.

The year I started collecting celebrity autographs again, and supporting local entertainment.

The year I had extreme disgust for the Aquino administration, and will continue to do so.

The year I lived through the deaths of Osama bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi, and Kim Jong Il.

The year I lived through the loss of tech wonders Steve Jobs, Dennis Ritchie, and John McCarthy.

The year I lived through countless disasters all throughout the world, including Philippines’ Pedring and Sendong.

And so there goes another boring year in the life of #GCHANG.

Why, hello there, 2012! Happy New Year, folks!