TODAY, I VOTED.

Posted on: May 10, 2010

Today, we are making history – a big one that is, as the whole (or probably a large portion of it but not really all) are going out to vote and elect a new administration that will rule the Philippines – and hopefully change it for the better – for the next six (6) darn years. But then again, our country has been known for making history even with the most insignificant of events in the world of politics. And every election, known to be smothered with unjust and unfair practices, has always been majorly historical – guns, goons, and MONEY.

And despite the fear and uncertainty brought about by all the problems with the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machines, I hear more cries of optimism than hopelessness. And I am quite surprised to be frank. I, myself wasn’t too eager to vote until the day before. I was looking forward to the elections not because I WAS excited to have a new president but because I wanted blasting campaign jingles-free mornings and days for that matter. Yes, I was kind of apathetic. But I had an awakening yesterday while watching the news. It suddenly dawned on me – this country needs people who really cares, not people who complains. And like most Filipinos I know, I am a major whiner. Nakakahiya.

So I, together with my mom and my unnichan, had an early start today. We were at our designated precinct at 9:30am and while it took them only about 30 minutes to vote, it took me nearly two hours (most of the time just waiting in line for my turn). I will try my best to have a blow-by-blow of what happened:

Our voting precinct

9:30am. We arrived at Jose Magsaysay Elementary School (our designated precinct) and I was literally blown away by the number of people waiting in line. Actually, they were scattered as if waiting for a concert to start. Parang Woodstuck-Gone-Bad. The only difference is a lot of them were obviously clueless of what to do or where to go. There were a lot of “watchers” obviously trying very hard to campaign for their candidates at the last minute.

9:35. We looked like refugees trying to get inside a refugee camp. Mom, unni, and I were in front of the gates of the school, along with a hundred others begging the lady guard and the elections officer to open the gates and let us in. We didn’t exactly know our numbers yet but we just wanted to get inside first and take it from there. It was not a very pretty sight if you’ll ask me. The sun was angry as usual and I nearly swapped faces with people I don’t know.

9:40. Unni waged war against the lady guard and all the people inside who were telling the crowd outside (a.k.a. us) that they couldn’t let us in because the building is still packed and it’s very hot inside. (Honestly, we would prefer that than being scorched directly and the possibility of heat stroke!) Mom kept shhh-ing her. Haha.

9:45 (and a few minutes in between). They opened the gates to let the “senior citizens” in. The funny part was not all were ACTUALLY senior citizens. There were instances where there was one lolo or lola and a whole THRONG following him or her . Unfair. Don’t get me wrong, I was really happy they are prioritizing the oldies but I’m hoping they would also be fair about it, like, try at least to monitor this closely because others are taking advantage.

See my name? =)

10:00. Finally, we’re inside! Mom and unni easily found their names in the voters’ list but mine was missing. In our precinct, there were boards lining up the first floor where voters are supposed to get their numbers and clusters. After that, they go up and go through the maze of finding their designated rooms. The amazing thing was when I was looking for my name, my gaze landed exactly on it on the next board… I was genuinely amused!

10:05. Mom and unni were already inside their rooms, waiting for their turn to vote. I decided to look for my room by myself and start the painstaking waiting-in-line-while-standing process. I brought a pocketbook but I chose people-watching over it.

10:10. I was still at the end of the line and it didn’t move an inch.

10:30. Finally, my line started moving! Thank God, I was able to connect to Facebook and Twitter. =)

10:35. The lights went off on our floor but it was only a pulse alarm. Some idiot accidentally switched off the lights.

10:40. Mom and unni were done voting. I was still in line (and it was barely moving!) I amused myself taking photos. See photos here.

clockwise: Cluster 97, me & unni amusin' ourselves while waiting in line, and me lining up =)

11:10. I was finally inside the room! Honestly, I’m surprised that the teachers and the poll watchers are very nice and accommodating this time. The first time I voted back in 2004, they all looked like hungry dragons to me. =) It took me quite a long time to decide because I was torn on who to vote for president. Plus, I was really careful shading the ellipses because my hands were shaking. I was nervous the machine wouldn’t accept my ballot. But it did and the feeling was priceless. =)

11:25. I’m officially finished voting. And I’m glad I am because the queue that we left when we went inside was unbelievably loooongggg.

As they said, now, you’re done voting, NOW, let’s start praying.

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