chuvaness
Kotong: More scary in Manila
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Dutch animal activist and artist Katinka Simonse (a.k.a. Tinkebell) arrived in Manila last Saturday night and will be here for 3.5 weeks to work on an mission to save the world.
We met through Brazilian artist Bea Correa who made this art project, the Fake Louis Vuitton bag I wrote about in 2006.
Should I get this?
Not wanting to experience Manila through a tourist’s eyes, Katinka booked herself in an out-of-the way hotel.
That’s where Jeroen, Mich, and I picked her up last Tuesday night.
My driver isn’t familiar with the area, so I used the GPS on my Samsung Galaxy Note to find our way.

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Traffic was bad, but moving. Somewhere along Recto, our driver felt lost and rolled down the window to ask directions from a traffic enforcer. Instead of helping us, the traffic enforcer told him to pull over and started to scold him about some traffic violation we were not aware of.
Our driver tried to reason calmly as the traffic enforcer continued to yell and power trip.
Of course we are well aware he could be calmed down by some kind of bribe money, which I hate.
So I pulled out my Press ID and told him I was covering an event at this place and I was going to be late.
Upon seeing my Press ID, the traffic enforcer changed his voice, gave us directions and let us go.

A few minutes later, the same thing happened on Rizal Avenue. Our driver felt lost, rolled down the window to ask help from a traffic enforcer. I was shocked when instead of helping us, he told us to pull over again.
He started to scold my driver in a way that made me angry. So I pulled out my Press ID and told him the same thing, that we were going to be late for an event. But seeing my ID only made his voice louder, and I lost it.
I told him we had not violated any traffic law, and I can’t believe he is the second guy doing this to us in the same area. I told him I would take his picture and told him, “Huwag kang rumaket.”

I was kind of scared but more angry about the bribe situation. I just find it ridiculous that these people are supposed to help us, and making us pull over to scream at us really just worsens the traffic.
As our voices got louder, I think he realized he wasn’t gonna get any bribe money from me. Finally I said good bye to him, and he said the same thing! Thank God it was over, and we left.

I really wonder who is in charge of these traffic enforcers in Manila, and if he cares enough to do something about it? Because I am now scared shitless of that area. We need protection from the people who should be protecting us? Who is in charge??
We finally arrived at Katinka’s hotel at 7:15 PM.
She reminds me of some American actress in the early ’80s, while Carlos Celdran said she had an Amparo Muñoz ’70s vibe.

Katinka and Jeroen
Katinka and Jeroen

amparo-munoz-108
1974 Miss Universe Amparo Muñoz

We had a lovely dinner at Café Adriatico—with Mich Dulce, Carlos Celdran, Jeroen, Rita Nazareno, Mikee Carrion, Nikki Luna and Katinka, where she told us about her mission in Manila (no animals involved).

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We ended up at Carlos Celdran’s Living Room, where his two dogs fell asleep in the middle of our noise.
They are so adorable!

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I couldn’t resist Carlos Celdran’s hat

Cecile van Straten

Minus the two stressful “kotong”/bribery incidents, I thought we had a great, productive evening.
For me, Malate will always be magical.

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11:00 PM: Jeroen, Mikee, Nikki, Mich, Katinka, Rita, Carlos

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sirenspeaks

After 4 years, I’ve found myself in the same situation (unfortunately) when my friend and I braved divisoria earlier today. I had to drive our new car for convenience. However, I realized we were like a moving prey (new car = no plate yet) as we pass along every intersection in Sta. Mesa and Recto Ave. And yes, we were also flagged down twice. Perhaps visibly having no available plate for the car yet was a giveaway clue for those greedy Manila traffic enforcers on who to try and extort money from for a quick fix. Claire Danes was right,… Read more »

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Hannah

What an experience….   Beware also of a COP riding an old dark blue lancer car along EDSA from SM North.  Will intimidate you and hurl different violations that you “did” while driving.  Wearing a black jacket under his uniform so that you will not see his nameplate.  The kotong cop is dark skinned with white hair and wearing a cap.   Unang gagawin nya – bubuntutan ka nya, then pag pagbibigyan mu siya babagalan nya, pag signal mu ulet na lilipat ka ng lane para pagbigyan sya bubusinahan ka ng bubusinahan.  Tapos patatabihin ka while showing his ticket booklet.… Read more »

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Guest

i love the art, art talk, tsokolate, butter and bread.. sleeping dogs, malate, good friends with good hearts 🙂 

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sumthinblue

On another note, loving Carlos Celdran’s book stash!

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Guest

This will not be tolerated in Davao City! Residents are encouraged to report to Davao City Traffic Management Center if victimized. At the moment, 4 traffic enforcers were sent to jail for extortion. link: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/local-news/2012/06/09/corrupt-traffic-cops-warned-anew-225886.

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Joy

Pls post some artworks by Katinka. Theyre “interesting” and a bit horrific.

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Guest

You should have taken the names of those officers and posted it here in your blog.

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Katinka

Had a great night with you guys!!! And the neighborhood is not so bad 😉 Yesterday I walked around here all afternoon and and felt totally safe.

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Rose Cavello

All the effort of promoting Philippine tourism will go down the drain if they don’t stop these kotong cops!   My husband has experienced this a few times in Cubao (right by the corner of EDSA and Aurora Blvd).  He works in an office in New Manila for six years.  We have always taken the same route home to Alabang for six years – he started getting pulled over last year (I don’t work with him anymore).  What is nasty is they fine you over “reckless driving” (“2000 pesos to get your license back, Sir”) just by trying to get… Read more »

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ryq24

so true! the last two terms of Mayor Lim is a joke. that’s why he will lose in the next election. those yellow boys are there just to ask for bribes from private vehicles. same goes to those in quezon city and pasay! heard the head of those manila’s so-called traffic enforcers is the son-in-law of mayor lim that’s why he’s untouchable!

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Guest

My friends & I experienced the same thing a couple of years back. Same scenario! We slowed down & waved to the officer trying to ask for directions. He pulled us over so we thought he’s going to help us. Turns out we have a violation! O_O We got nervous because we’re all youngsters in the car. That’s probably why he thought he can bully us. We explained over & over but after a long time my friend (the driver) decided just to surrender his license to end the dilemma. We asked for his name & he asked why. Well… Read more »

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melani

that is one of the things i won’t miss whilst i’m gone,mga pulis na ang lakas mangotong pag lunch,merienda and dinner time,,kakahiya!!!…on another note,i’m here in london ms. c and saw COS near my mum’s house and everything is 50% off.i thought of you,went it and experienced it..haha!ang saya ng mga tops nila!i love it!!!

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CVS Reply:

awww…nice :))

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Aihles2012

You reminded me of our experience couple of years ago. Hubby & I stopped to ask for directions somewhere at POEA. Instead, the MMDA officer asked a lot of questions — OR, CR, license, etc. I told him we’re from Iloilo (proof is our license card). We even showed him a map! Then he called another officer, which later I learned from a friend that it’s illegal to be “interrogated” by 2 officers (intimidation?). I ended up telling the officer to give me the ticket so we can settle via Metrobank rather than giving him money. ‘Twas really frustrating! Ang… Read more »

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Guest

i love her name, katinka. mine is cathyne (katin). 

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Aiaiaibuhay Reply:

Favorite ko yong katinka papalitan lang ng 1 letter. Sa kagat ng lamok 😀

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Guest

Favorite ko yong katinka papalitan lang ng 1 letter. Sa kagat ng lamok 😀

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Guest

You have such gorgeous friends 🙂

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Guest

It almost happened to me a couple of years ago. The area was EDSA past Guadalupe bridge going northbound, near Teleperformance. I need to go southbound and crossed the yellow bus line in order to ask the MMDA guy where i can make a u turn. He saw me cross the yellow bus line and obviously going towards him. Then he told me that I broke the law. I said “magtatanong lang po kung saan puwede mag u-turn?”. I got lucky and he pointed me to the right direction without any incident. Whew, that was a close call.

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Guest

This kinda happened to us when me and my boyfriend were in a cab. I said I would take a photo of him, but I really took a video. And the manong enforcer got so mad, that he kept on asking for our names. He threatened that a gang-like name will come after us at home and in our workplace because of this. The last straw was when he wanted to to get the driver’s license. He was already shouting then, I managed to hold my tears. My boyfriend showed the enforcer while he deletes. Then the taxi driver got… Read more »

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Guest

Tsk sayang naman.. Lalong dapat hindi dinelete dahil nag-threat. And sa flow ng kwento nakunan pa up to there. Boyfriend mo pa ba sya? 😀 jowk

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Rajolaurel

I heard your fight over the phone!  Na tense ako!  So I decided to call Mich back some other time!  Happy though that you had a great time in Malate!  I miss that place!  You should have asked to see Norman Crisolog’s flat!  I LOVE IT!!!!

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CVS Reply:

LOL

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Guest

So did you take photos of the kotong cops? 

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CVS Reply:

no.

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Guest

Hi Ms. C,

Would it be possible to get your email address? Would like to write you a letter.

Thanks

Ros

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CVS Reply:

chuvaness@me.com

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Guest

Wow, she stayed near Doroteo Jose? She is brave indeed, and kudos to you and your team for standing up to those enforcers. Minsan talaga, we just have to stand our ground and not give in to the easy way.  I rue the decline of Manila. I only started appreciating it when I started working there and was forced to learn and find my way through it. I think that with the right attitude, right people and powerful publicity and advocacy, Manila will be great again. Carlos Celdran’s dogs are cute nga. And Ms. C, you look like the Mad Hatter… Read more »

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Guest

mas ok pa to ask directions from kuya pedicab driver or mga tambay. kahit sino wag lang traffic enforcers.

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CVS Reply:

Got that. Thanks!!

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Edgar Callos Reply:

so true!!!!

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Guest

so true!!!!

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Guest

Sad but true nga ang stories na yan! Nakow … 🙁
Sa Makati rin eh kahit Makati na yun, may mga kotong cops.  Sa Manila rin. Haay.
Traffic forcers sila … sila cause ng traffic kasi kaka-pull over. Instead makatulong, sila manghihingi. :S

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Ana Maria Zamora

 Parang it was such an awesome night! If I was there I would be scared of you getting mad :-))

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Lei

Tsk, tsk! Scary! Hopefully the people in charge will read your post and really do something about it.

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Guest

As for your problem regarding downtown Manila’s decline. It’s only Mayor Lim. Mayor Lim. And Mayor Lim to blame. Erap will be next Mayor. Sana we can start giving him ideas.

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CVS Reply:

lol. we talked about this….

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Guest

She also might remind you of the lead actress in Officer and a Gentleman? That kind of beauty no?

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Guest

Where is Dirty Harry when you need him…. must be in City Hall…

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