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.

Greenwich to host Cebu Foursquare Day 2013


Last year, Cebu City celebrated Foursquare Day with Bo’s Coffee. This year, we celebrate with GREENWICH, a popular pizza chain in the Philippines.

While Foursquare Day is celebrated every April 16, we’re doing this on April 17, so that we can celebrate together with the other side of the world. After all, this is an American GLOBAL thing.

We will be handing out OFFICIAL 4sqDay2013 water bottles, thanks to Foursquare. We will also be giving out Foursquare tip stickers from last year’s Meetup.  And if you’re feeling hungry, there’s also a slice of GREENWICH for the first 50 to check-in to their venue.

4sqDay 2013 water bottle

What do you need to do to get one of these? Not a lot.
1. RSVP at our Meetup page. Immediate freebie reservation.
2. Like our Foursquare Cebu page.
3. Show up at Greenwich, Ayala Center Cebu on April 17 (Wed) 8-9PM.
4. Check-in at Greenwich’s Foursquare venue.

NOTE: While the Meetup is on April 17 (Wed), the one-day-only Foursquare Day 2013 badge can only be unlocked on April 16 (Tue). So, make sure to check-in on April 16!

SPECIAL THANKS to Foursquare for the freebies, Greenwich for hosting the Cebu 4sqDay 2013, and to @karissayu and @jerminix for co-organizing this Meetup!

cebu foursquare day 2013

Cebu City Foursquare Day 2012 Meetup Swag


Hey, Cebu City! Are you excited to unlock the Foursquare Day 2012 badge on April 16 (Mon)?

No? Well, I guess I’ll have to keep all these Foursquare freebies for myself. Yep, you read that right! FREEBIES. Man, I just love that word. I’ve got cute button pins, and foursquare stickers just for you people of Cebu! These are exactly the same stuff you see in the Foursquare Store, all sent by Foursquare themselves!

So, come join us at the Foursquare Day Meetup in Bo’s Coffee in Ayala Center Cebu from 7:45PM – 10:00PM. RSVP here. If at least 50 of us check-in at Bo’s Coffee, we just might unlock the first-ever Swarm badge in Cebu City (after 2 failed attempts last momth).

Please note that I am not related nor connected to Foursquare in any way.

Cebu City Nearly Wins in Foursquare Badge Contest


Foursquare, a social networking site for location check-ins, announced a global city badge contest last March 7 (Wed). Three days before the deadline on March 23 (Fri), I came up with an initial list for Cebu City, Philippines.

The Best of Cebu City 2012 ended up with 49 venues, most of them from existing lists, and from recommendations. It contained a combination of iconic Cebu City venues, malls, restaurants, and several others.

The biggest challenge was in getting folks to follow the list. For the most of the time, I resorted to spamming local check-ins in Foursquare. I also posted tips in the recommended venues, and made use of other social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Yammer. I also posted to forums like istorya.net and CebuTechForum. To date, this effort has earned The Best of Cebu City 2012 54 followers.

Today, March 29 (Thu), Foursquare announced the list of winners. Unfortunately, Cebu did not win. But, we did get a special mention:

With that, I’d like to thank all the people who were involved in the creation of the list, to those who followed and shared the list, and to those who retweeted my posts! THANK YOU, ALL! This activity, especially the spamming, was not something I was comfortable with, but it was a challenging and interesting experience nevertheless.

BUT, this does not stop here. We are going to improve on this list, and make sure Cebu City wins in future contests. This coming April 16 (Mon), join me and fellow Foursquare users as we celebrate Foursquare Day! in  Bo’s Coffee at Ayala Center CebuRSVP here, and be one of the few to get official Foursquare freebies (while it lasts) from Foursquare themselves!