Finding Directions

As our regular morning train slows down to a full stop at the city’s Union station, the train loudspeakers blare out the announcement ” This train will stop at track 2 and the doors to the south will open.….” whereupon my wife asks me – “which way is south ?” Frankly, I was never conscious about north, south, east and west until I lived in this part of the world. My wife to date is still struggling with the lingo. We Pinoys have been so used to descriptive expressions such as – left and right, up and down that someone telling us – “ the office building is at the intersection of Sheppard and Bayview streets, on the north side of Sheppard” is like being hurled in a black hole or someone trying to communicate in an alien language. Some of us have strange ways in giving directions, like a Pinoy friend who would always make a landmark as his point of reference – “ when you turn right, you will see a big, white condo building. That’s not my place . Go further and at exactly at the second stop light you would see a 10 storey apartment build at the left. That’s not it. Turn left and ….. ” 🙂 In this part of the world where street signs are up to date and very visible at night, who would need a sketchpad to give out directions ?

But where the heck is South ? Simply put, you won’t have the faintest idea unless you check a map and establish some point of reference ! In my case, the general direction towards the lake is always south. Better than a map or a compass, buy a satellite-based GPS  navigator in your car, with a voice activated unit that translates direction into voice and tells you to turn left or right to get to your destination. There are very sophisticated GPS systems nowadays that even use electronic speech recognition. You can simply say – “take me home” and the system will figure our the directions ( of course it knows your home address in it’s memory). Others have unique features like you can say “ find me the nearest restaurant” and it will automatically plot the directions. A Pinoy friend has one built in his car but finds it hard to tame the unit. The unit only seems to respond properly when his teenage daughter gives out the command but not him. Looks like the unit isn’t too smart with accents hehe 🙂 As for me, I am quite contented with Mapquest, where I can put my origin and destination points and print out the directions.

It is true though that men hate to ask for directions until the last moment, when all possible guesswork had been exhausted. Call that pride or machismo or fear of being robbed or whatever, that’s just our nature it seems !


They say asking a person to join a potluck event whether in the office, church or a regular get together among friends is one way to find out about the person’s character. There are just those people whose mission in life is getting ahead of others in whatever way they can. Some people have this pathetic attitude of contributing the very least they possibly can or even avoiding contributing at all if they can but enjoying the benefits if not more than everyone else. I can’t figure out people who have the balls to play the game of one-upmanship in such a friendly, family oriented setting when you very well know they are not financially struggling. They can be ahead in the game materially but in truth, dignity is worth way more than the 5 or 10 bucks they find too hard to part with. Heck, I could not give away my dignity, with people unimpressed with such a show of selfishness, for a measly 10 bucks where the very least I could do is just to play fair.  You may wonder why the rant but this weekend I just got pissed with a character who makes a habit of showing up in potlucks with nothing, if not junk from their kitchen cupboard 😦


32 Responses

  1. To orient myself, I always remember that airline commercial that goes, “The sunrise in the east, the sunset in the west, we’re ____ airlines…..”. hehehe. Of course, that becomes a problem when its nighttime. Would love to have one of those GPS devices, but they’re still pretty pricey and they only come in handy once in a while (i.e. I’m seriously lost). printing out directions will do for now. 😀

  2. I don’t drive so I rely pretty much on trains and buses 🙂

    Ow, those cheapskates in potlucks. I hate them 😦

  3. Bring me to the nearest pretty girl… 😉
    Where do you buy that GPS system?

  4. Wil – a buddy of mine bought a GPS navigator from Costco and couldn’t find the indoor golf driving range at the other side of the city where he was supposed to meet me LOL 🙂 He returned the unit the following day and got a better one. Conclusion – cheap ones aren’t that accurate 🙂

  5. Irrealis – so you’re quite an environmentalist eh ? 🙂 I hate those cheapskates too haha 🙂

  6. Sidney – not quite … That will be an awesome if it exists hahaha 🙂

    Here we buy the GPS navigators at electronics stores, THey come in different shapes and sizes and features too. Some of them have personal information features, i.e. voice out your appointments !Those built in with the car you purchase are awesome. They turn into a video camera when you’re backing the car so you can see the back !

    Here they’re loaded with the map of the country ( US and Canada) and you can update them with the latest maps through the internet. It’s a very handy tool and I think my wife needs one badly hehe 🙂

  7. You’re right, Manilenyos are into figuring out locations/directions through landmarks. I once gave a friend my exact location by saying “north of Qurino Grandstand” yet he chose to look for me in the opposite direction, which made him miss an exciting photo shoot.

    Smart has a service for its subscribers that when dialing a number, in a couple seconds, an SMS message will be sent back to you with your exact location.

    But I should get one of those portable GPS sysrems.

  8. I don’t think it would be easy to figure out north south east west when you’re in a moving train. I guess it’s just easier to face the direction where the people standing are facing. 🙂

    Diba Filipinos also say… ah, malapit lang ‘yan… dalawang sigarilyo lang ‘yan. 🙂

    Oh, BTW, your wordpress blog rocks! 🙂

  9. natawa naman ako ng husto sa picture at video dito, kawawa naman nagtatanong lang ng direction na disgrasya pa, hehehe. mas sanay ako sa right and left, pero minsan nalilito pa rin ako kung saan ang kanan, nagugulat taxi friver kapag sinabi ko kanan, pero kaliwa pala ang ibig kong sabihin, hehe. mas lalo na siguruo north east south west…

  10. i’m a better navigator than my husband. he was hopeless with directions. i need to be there. minsan ayaw pa maniwala so quiet na lang ako. one time, i suddenly blurted out, we passed by this roundabout twice already. “why didn’t you tell me?” lol…i thought i’m supposed to shut up because he’s the driver. 🙂

  11. Eric – so the reference to the north caused a bit of confusion eh? It does take getting used to figuring out where north and south is 🙂

    There’s a privacy issue with tracking of cell phones location here
    ( North America) that’s why the feature isn’t offered. By default however, the 911 operators have the ability to track an emergency call. Since cell does not use GPS, the accuracy isn’t high. The triangulation technique ( cell phone signal simultaneously measured from more than one cellular exchange) is an approximation technique which is a hit or miss up to 100 yards. The algorithmn being used is still for practical purposes considered accurate.

    There were initial problems with SMART’s locator service in that it was grossly inaccurate ! I don’t know if it has improved but its initial suspension was a bonus to philandering husbands and loitering company truck drivers ! hehe 🙂

    GPS is cool man.. I did play at a golf course here with a GPS service and it tells you the true distances from where you stand to the hole and other relative points like the bunkers, front and back of the green 🙂

  12. Iskoo – that’s why hindi ako nagtatanong ng direction, esp from a woman hehe 🙂

  13. Ipanema – on roundabouts.. I like the concept of the roundabout – saves on traffic lights. We should thank the Brits for it 🙂

    So you are the more aware eh. It is the exact reversal with my wife who is occassionally corrected by my 5 year old. My daughter would ask – Mommy, aren’t we supposed to turn left ? haha 🙂

  14. Toe – even if it we were standing on top of a tower, my wife wouldn’t know where south is hehe 🙂 Funny though but we seem to survive in Pinas without knowing where the heck east or west is !

    Thanks – I had fun migrating over to WordPress, which I should have done long time ago 🙂

  15. I was never good with the compass. I remember that in my boy scouting days, I never knew how to use it. Our scout master would prod me on this endlesslessly, and yet I never learned, even upto now. I just don’t know where to point it.

    In my case, whenever I am at a lost about where north or south is, or where I am standing at, I just look at the sun and remember that it came from east and set down at west side, somewhere at the bay side of this town. There is a huge mountain here that I always point out to be the north of the city. That way, it makes things easier for me.

  16. i myself was never good with directions. and like major tom, i just follow the sun or use a landmark as a guide. at night naman i look for the polaris, cause anywhere i go i know it will be always north.

  17. i also don’t know where south is. basta alam ko yung papuntang alabang.. laguna.. ganun. hehehe. honestly, hanggang ngayon, di ko alam pano naging west avenue, north avenue and timog yung sa qc. hehehe.

    and i hate askig for directions. i would try to look for it on my own than ask directions from strangers.

    and i love hosting potluck parties. so far, those i invite to my parties, nagdadala sila. hehehhe ;p

  18. In our city when the address number is in Even then you are facing south and when it’s odd then East. I use it as my guide and just cross the street if my direction is wrong.
    But we have these stupid border lines, that everything after Yonge is either east or west and I think the north and south is the Bloor and that confuses everything. been in this city for more than 3 decades but i still get lost in places not familiar. thanks to yahoo or mapquest, now I have to get rid of those traditional maps that are just as complicated to read…

  19. Tin- yep, Alabang and Laguna are due south and Munomento and Bulacan are north… hope they didn’t change 🙂

    I hate asking for directions too esp if the person I’m asking doesn’t know. Well good for you – your friends are sport . We have one black sheep in the crowd who after all the aggravation still remain the group’s friend , much like family who you hate but can’t get rid of hehe 🙂

  20. Major Tom- the mountain – that’s a great reference point . I haven’t used the compass really but it’s great to have one in the car when your caught in no man’s land on ocassion 🙂 I know hikers buy a hand held GPS to give them their exact location at all times.

  21. Nell – yes, in an area where there’s tall landmarks like Toronto’s CN tower you will never get lost as long as you see it 🙂 I know the stars were used by the navigators of yore and they were able to steer their ships to their destinations !

  22. Vic – I know it’s silly when a street like Dundas St East turns to Dundas St West and turns to Dundas St East again when it gets to another city 🙂

    Mapquest is great except that last week, I had to treat a couple visiting from Pinas to dinner and they were at a city in the West end. I printed the directions only to find out that it wanted me to take the toll road which I did because I was in a hurry to catch up with them – which turned out that they were 20 mins late for the appointment — what’s new ? Pinoy time forever hehe 🙂 Coming back home, I found that the toll road wasn’t necessary at all 🙂

  23. We live north of the city, and I use our place as my point of reference. 🙂

    I remember this one time when I was asking for directions inside this building, I was told to go down the hall. Down the hall where? I started going in one direction when my oldest son pointed to the other direction, mommy, it’s this way, the guy said down the hall. I only understand left and right. 🙂

  24. Got a little confused about address number. our house is right on the corner and we have to use the main street (victoria park, instead of the intersection, but can choose if we want to. our front neighbor use the intersection as both our houses are facing the smaller road).

    Actually south uses odd number as well as east. So north and west are even numbers> it’s good to know so when I go looking for an address, don’t have to look both sides of the street. I did volunteer driving for a long time, that I was quite good at locating houses or my seniors will be very excited for being late picking them up…

  25. Niceheart – if that man who gave you directions said that the office is on the southwest side of the building, it would be more confusing to most people hehe 🙂

    I gave me wife a crash course on map reading once… I think she needs a follow up lesson 🙂

  26. Vic – that’s news to me – that houses on the south and east side use odd numbers ! Thanks for the tip 🙂

  27. Girls dont need directions when it comes to sales. They can smell it.

  28. Richmond – you bet ! They would scour the entire mall and get to where the best deals are 🙂

  29. Actually, I have no qualms about asking for directions, I do that all the time, especially when I find myself in a strange place. What I don’t like are those know-it-alls who give you a vague answer or worse, the wrong info that you might as well be asking a tree for directions.. grrrr

  30. Sngl – funny you said that but it is indeed more aggravating to speak to someone who doesn’t know and tries to help. Might as well just say no – I don’t really know 🙂

  31. i like the picture. i always kid my girl friends who’re suckers for everything on sale– even if they don’t need it

  32. Tutubi – that’s very true. It’s normal for women to scour the malls for bargains and buy things only because they are on sale. I normally don’t go with them on these hunting trips. I just stay in a bench or the coffee shop because it does seem to take forever 🙂

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