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Which is the best motorcycle-taxi service in the Philippines?

“Habal-habal” originally began as a mode of transport in rural areas where public transport isn’t as developed. Years later, it finds itself striving hard to be recognized as a legal mode of transport in the country.

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Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb

While the commute has severely gotten worse over the years, Filipinos continue to find ways to beat the traffic. The existence and prevalence of motorcycle-taxi services have lifted much of the burden of commuters despite the hurdles that the government throws in its way.

“Disastrous” is what best describes the current state of transport in the Philippines. Congested streets and seemingly endless road repairs continuously draw the ire of the masses who need to adapt to the rapidly changing world. Ingenuity becomes a necessity and not merely an advantage for students and workers.

“Habal-habal” originally began as a mode of transport in rural areas where public transport isn’t as developed. Recently however, it has found its way to the city with the presence of private motorcycle-taxi services that operate in secret. It was eventually given a bigger presence with the launch of services like Angkas making its way in 2017. Years later, it finds itself striving hard to be recognized as a legal mode of transport in the country.

This year began the launch of competing services like JoyRide and MoveIt. Both were introduced to keep Angkas from having a monopoly over the motorcycle-taxi industry and aid in the research of the government to determine the feasibility of such services. In its current state, these services provide training for their drivers to maintain a standard and ensure safety.

With quicker travel times and lower prices compared to apps like Grab or the conventional cab, motorcycle-taxis have changed the way people commute. Rapid developments have made this service more practical with same-day deliveries becoming a prominent feature. Take a look into the most widely used apps and see which service is the best.

Angkas

Screenshots from Angkas app

Angkas is the most recognizable name when it comes to motorcycle-taxis, it has become synonymous the concept itself in recent times. Originally launched in 2017, Angkas built a reputation of reliability and affordability in comparison to other ride-hailing services like Grab and Uber before it merged with Grab. Another defining trait of Angkas is not within the app but rather with its social media presence as it pokes fun at other services, the detractors, or even itself when glitches or problems arise in the service.

The app interface is clean and intuitive but its most recent iteration has drawn flak from some users as its original design was already considered to be adequate. There were also problems with booking in this iteration but most of it has been fixed. Nonetheless, booking in the app is simple and quick. The availability of riders as well as cost is relative to the location of the user. 

Angkas also reminds the users constantly of the safety protocols such as what not to wear and the grounds to which riders can refuse passengers (such as weight or clothing). The riders of Angkas undergo training and screening to make sure that they provide the best and safest experience for their passengers. This translates to the ride experience as the riders clearly show attention to safety and closely follow traffic rules as well as driving well under the speed limits. Even if you’re not used to riding in a motorcycle, Angkas riders will certainly give you the ease of mind with the way they ride.

JoyRide

Screenshots from JoyRide app

JoyRide is one of the new players that the government introduced to compete with Angkas. It is the second most-popular service in this new industry but its name did not grow immediately because of its quality. JoyRide has faced a lot of scrutiny regarding its true owners with allegations being made that it is being run by a government official, their management has denied this.

JoyRide’s app is reminiscent of Angkas’ app with minor changes in detail to set it apart. Pinning locations is easy and quick with options such as notes or promo codes being made visible should the user have any use for it. Prices between JoyRide and Angkas are usually similar but there are certainly moments where Angkas becomes more expensive but again, these factors are relative to location as well as availability of riders.

Resemblances don’t end with apps when it comes to JoyRide. From helmets to vests, JoyRide clearly took inspiration from Angkas. Riders wear purple variants of their gear as opposed to Angkas’ blue. The vests come with a handle that passengers can hold onto during their ride and this has been consistent with every rider so far. Ride experience varies from rider to rider as some riders may drive too fast but similar to Angkas, tapping on the shoulder of the rider would be a gesture to slow down.

MoveIt

Screenshots from Move It app

Another one of the players that aims to compete with Angkas, MoveIt tries to set itself apart in its appearance from Angkas in an effort to be recognizable. It tries to merge what was good with Angkas and Grab to become a possible all-in-one solution when it comes to express courier services. While not as popular as JoyRide or Angkas, it certainly deserves a mention in the conversation of motorcycle-taxi services.

MoveIt’s app is much more different than the last two offerings: a pro and con. The user is greeted with different options of what they could do with the app such as delivery or booking a ride and reloading a virtual wallet to pay with. While the uniqueness certainly sets it apart, the design looks dated and plain. This doesn’t affect the usability of the app itself but compared to Angkas and Joyride, it feels noticeably jankier. 

Ride experience is similar to Angkas and Joyride but appearance-wise, MoveIt’s riders are a lot more subtle. The red long sleeves or jackets that they wear stand out a lot less than Angkas or JoyRide’s uniforms. Another difference of MoveIt is with their helmet. It sports a different style compared to Angkas or JoyRide’s half-face helmets. This can be annoying as the size is a bit smaller than expected which could make the fit awkward for passengers. 

Facebook groups

Screenshots from Facebook app

Feeding off the popularity of Angkas, more and more Facebook groups offering the same service popped up after the prior’s launch. While not being recognized by the government and thus not being legal, this has become one of the ways that users book motorcycle-taxis for even cheaper than those offered in the apps. What makes it most convenient is the fact that no other app would be needed to book a ride.

Being a Facebook group, it simply runs within the Facebook app itself or through a mobile browser. The only thing a user has to do is to follow a specified format and post a request of a ride, delivery, or purchase. Any special request can be made within the post and can be negotiated between the rider and the passenger. The glaring downside of booking through this group is the lack of enforcement of rules or any safeguards for the rider or the passenger.

Ride experience will vary wildly from rider to rider as there is no screening process involved in booking a rider. Simply choose a rider from the myriad of riders who will comment and leave messages and hope that the ride will at least be okay. The ride is entirely up to the rider but you can still communicate whatever you may need from them. To sum it up shortly, the entire experience is solely at your discretion.

 

Commuting in the Philippines for some is a lot more tedious than the work they actually have to do for the day. Motorcycle-taxis have become an effective medium for transport despite the scrutiny of the government and the unease of others. It has also opened up job opportunities for more people and has helped ease the stress of commuting for a large portion of Filipinos. 

At the end of the day, motorcycle-taxis cannot resolve the problem of heavy traffic in the Philippines. These kinds of services only serve to make the problem somewhat manageable for the moment. Services such as Angkas or Grab should not have to be a necessity for Filipinos to get to where they need to be on a daily basis. What we really need is a solution that addresses the problem effectively and permanently.

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Netflix’s Money Heist and its aim to fight for political reform

La Casa de Papel or Money Heist is a Netflix series about a guy called the Professor leading a group of criminals aliased after major cities across the globe to pull off one of the most impossible felonies of all time — robbing the Royal Mint of Spain.

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Photo from Netflix

WARNING: Mild spoilers ahead!

La Casa de Papel or Money Heist is a Netflix series about a guy called the Professor leading a group of criminals aliased after major cities across the globe to pull off one of the most impossible felonies of all time — robbing the Royal Mint of Spain. The show focuses on how the crew masters their plan, down to the very minute details, to ensure that they can execute it impeccably. It is shown how the Professor implements some rules and ensures that the crew abides by it for the operation to run smoothly, or so he believes. With interesting costumes, catchy tunes, and mind-boggling twists in the story, this show will surely get one easily hooked!

The show has been gaining online buzz recently — from an Instagram filter, tweets from excited fans, to teaser trailers all over the web – there is a built hype for the show especially now that the new season’s premiere has dropped on Netflix today. It has been months since the end of the third season, and everybody’s been anticipating the next series of events. Avid viewers of the show are very much eager to know what happened to our favorite crew, with all of us having a bunch of unanswered questions after that cliff-hanger of a finale left our hearts pounding and jaws dropped. Now we can finally sigh in relief because the answer to all of our questions possibly lies in eight 45-minute episodes. 

Money Heist is one of the most interesting shows of our time since it has a different take on the Heist cinematic genre. The generic formula for films and series in this genre is usually a clever mastermind recruit a group of delinquents with their own respective charms, add a seemingly fool-proof plan into the mix, and voila, you have created a crime film. This show has all of the essential components, but one thing sets them apart from the rest of the other works under the same genre — the group’s ulterior motive, which is evidently not just for personal gain, but for public changes as well. It took the elements of the classic Robin Hood-themed narratives and incorporated it into contemporary societal injustices, which make for an effective series of social enlightenment.

It could be said that the root of these vices is money. Why would an individual dare to stage a heist in the national bank of Spain to win over the sympathy of the masses? The answer lies behind the very reason why they are conducting the robbery. Through the heist, they insinuated the need for redistribution of wealth because of the stark imbalance between the rich and the poor. Besides, they are technically “not stealing” from the bank since they are just producing new bills through the bank’s printers. Additionally, for every bump in the road that the team faces, they still strictly abide by their moral principles to resolve the dilemma. Their means may be questionable, but their goal is quite reasonable.

An essential hallmark of the show is the identical masks the robbers wore in their heists. The Professor made them wear the mask to hide their identities, but his choice of design aims to make a statement. The masks are of Salvador Dalí, a Spanish surrealist artist, whom the protagonists’ philosophies are aligned with. Dalí is a renowned artist, famous for his works and for his protests against society’s capitalistic ideals. The mask symbolizes the people’s resistance to a system that forces them to accept the irrational normalization of social class, which is usually in favor of the elite.

Since the beginning of the show, the song Bella Ciao was heard in varying tempos to denote the highest and lowest points of the storyline. Historically, the song was sung in rallies during the Italian Resistance, with hopes of ending the rule of fascists. The song was actually banned in Northern Italy a few years back and that itself says a lot about its impact. It is still played in modern-day protests, with activists hoping that making a statement and refusing to swallow abysmal ideals dictated by unjust rulers could commence redefinition of unjust societal norms.

With the alarming responses of our own officials towards a national crisis, shows like these ignite our passion to fight for political reform. It empowers us to make a stand against tyranny and to also break free from the oppressive societal standards that the opportunistic upper class sets. Bella ciao!

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10 things you probably have encountered in an online class

Ever since online classes have been rampant in UST, we have noticed some interesting phenomena that happens in almost every class. These vary from each situation so if you have encountered some of these, you’re most likely going to relate!

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Artwork by Tricia Jardin

A decade ago, suspension of classes were a big nuisance especially to the pace of the academic year. This is because we did not really have a platform that was capable of holding more than 20 persons in a call. However, with the advancement of technology, it has paved the way to conduct classes online without the fear of falling behind the schedule.

Ever since online classes have been rampant in UST, we have noticed some interesting phenomena that happens in almost every class. These vary from each situation so if you have encountered some of these, you’re most likely going to relate! The following are the 10 things you probably have encountered in an online class.

1.  A dog

Your dog or your blockmate’s dog have probably taken the spotlight in this one. Cue the “aww!”s and the “your dog is so cute!” to inform people there’s a new member in your block.

2. Some bedroom noises

These bedroom noises vary in category. It could be your newborn sibling crying in the background or your sibling groaning as they stretch before they get out of bed. It could also be your neighbour’s feel good music that’s blasting on full volume. (What did you think the noises were going to be?)

3. Your mom’s voice in the background

You’re probably familiar with the sentence, “Anak! Nakalimutan mo nanaman maghugas ng pinggan!”. This is your cue to quickly wash the dishes or to ask your brother or your sister to do it for you. Just don’t forget it the next time.

4. The sound of vehicles driving past your house

It’s 9o’clock in the morning and everyone is still sleeping. Your professor is rambling about the adjusted schedule because of the suspension of classes. Everything was silent until you hear that loud “VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM” that broke that silence you thought you had. A notification. Your blockmate typed, “Kaninong tricycle ‘yun?”.

5. The neighborhood chicken

No one in your house is awake yet to cook breakfast and you’re 10 minutes late to your online class. You’re hungry and sleepy but you are determined you’ll focus on this class you need to catch up on. You sit down with your laptop, head propped by your arm to try to stay awake. Then suddenly, you hear a faint cock-a-doodle-doo from your speaker. A notification. Your professor typed, “Guys, sorry, wag kayo mag-alala. Ipriprito ko na yun mamaya.”.

6. A comfort room break

The waterworks are on duty today but you’re unsure if your strict professor would allow you to go to the comfort room to release whatever your body needs to let go of. It’s funny how we still have to ask even when comfort is at our disposal a few steps away. Imagine what it’s like for your blockmate who often needs the toilet. 

7. Your younger sibling who keeps on crying

If it’s not your mom, it’s most likely your younger brother or sister who’s making the noise. You should probably check on them right now though. I assume they need something or someone.

8. The teleserye your lola is watching

It’s 10 in the morning and you are in your living room. Suddenly, your lola picks up the television remote control to watch her favourite teleserye. She hands you the remote control to raise the volume higher. Don’t worry. It’ll just be an hour of your time everyday. Just wear your earphones. It’ll be over soon!

9. Your blockmate who’s often M.I.A.

Better call them now. You definitely don’t want them to miss another class.

10. Conversations that are best kept on Messenger

It’s best to keep your block’s conversations in another messaging app. I know you know what I mean. 

We all have different practices in our face-to-face class as well as in online classes. However, in the midst of the distances from our second home – our school – let us not forget the reason why we do this: to learn and to later on serve our country. 

Lastly, use your time productively and don’t forget to wake up your blockmate!

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Ilaw ng Tahanan, Sagisag ng Lansangan: Rage Against Feminine Archetypes

Comical as it seems, it has become so indoctrinated in the narrative of what it means to be a woman, that essentially it has become a means to favor and please the men in our society—to put it simply, the feminine archetype is a catalyst for the patriarchy.

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Artwork by Tricia Jardin

A natural beauty, she was. Daisy-fresh. Frail and delicate, with her small frame and timid silence. Her hair constantly smelled of vanilla, and she had a smile that came with her almost effortless grace. She is painfully soft-spoken. Her cheeks resembled that of the skin of a peach—supple, smooth, tinging coral. And above all that she had eyes that could lure you in. It was almost as if she knew the kind of beauty she held, but not enough to be flaunting it.

Here is an example of a misrepresented woman as shown by the ideal woman trope. In literature, we see her as Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby; in film, Summer from 500 Days of Summer. Women in fiction, yes, but still prototypes of the ideal woman, told from the account of a man, that sooner or later, serve to cater to the male gaze.

This is the feminine archetype, contemporarily known as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl or the Femme Fatale: the idea that a woman, in all her precious glory, should be of natural, flawless beauty—none of that cake on the face, none of those fillers and such. She should be modest, otherwise if she is vulgar she is an embarrassment. She should attend to her husband like a real woman, whatever that is supposed to mean, because it is her responsibility to do so. She should be dainty! If she must fix herself up she must do so without going overboard. 

But this is relevant… exactly how?

These templates of the ‘perfect woman’ teaches young girls and the children who may come to identify as girls, beyond reasonable standards to live up to, furthermore decentering from their freedom of expression and identity. Comical as it seems, it has become so indoctrinated in the narrative of what it means to be a woman, that essentially it has become a means to favor and please the men in our society—to put it simply, the feminine archetype is a catalyst for the patriarchy.

This continues to be a challenge for contemporary feminists as it has been for their predecessors. Years upon years of uprisings and nth wave feminism movements helped established the New Woman, who, on this day and age, in contrast to the feminine archetype, is no longer soft-spoken, doe-eyed, or motherly—but resisting, self-sustaining, and non-conforming. She is tenacious, and is unafraid to bring her revolution to the streets, like all other female activists that preceded, but the objective is not to discredit them.

This is to introduce an entirely new breadth of feminists who willingly engage in activism in and out of the streets, who challenge the still-in-existence feminine archetype, who fight against those who continue to disparage women, and most importantly, to empower those who need empowering. Women and their eagerness to champion equal rights have prevailed even in social media platforms—a brand new kind of solidarity that cuts through the one-dimensionality of the digital world, which is now without limitation in addressing a variety of sociopolitical issues.

The feminine archetype is but a small part of a bigger issue that continues to misrepresent women as charming, frail, and subordinate—much like in movies and literature—which in turn contributes to, and may even elevate to a great deal of oppression and abuse. Once we value other women as much as we do those in our lives, once we acknowledge that some women might not even be female at birth, and that some may not even appear to be women, we perpetuate intersectionality and a mindset that more often than not, empowerment is more important than power.

 

Happy Women’s month to the cis-females, the transwomen, those who identify as women, women of color, female activists, women who were rape and sexual abuse victims, women who are victims of social injustices, comfort women, and all the other women in the world.

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