Typhoon Glenda left us with a number of casualties, scores of uprooted trees and Meralco posts, and a power outage that blacked out most of Metro Manila. Many households, especially those in the south, have had no power for more than 48 hours. Even the posh subdivision of Ayala Alabang was not spared – according to my friends and relatives in that area, more than half of the subdivision still has not electricity.
So it's no surprise that, as I drove inside Victoria Court Cuneta last Friday evening, the usher ran up to me and warned that we had to wait a little bit longer as there were no rooms available. The queue of cars, coupled with people walking in and out of the area, was a dead giveaway that VC was doing brisk business.
Yes people were hoofing in inside the motel, and they didn't seem like people sneaking in for a quick 3-hour tryst. Their heads weren't bowed low. They weren't hunched down trying to avoid eye contact. They looked like ordinary couples who had booked hotel rooms and who are now returning to their rooms. They were dressed in home attire – T-shirt, shorts, rubber flip-flops. Some were carrying grocery bags.
Fortunately a couple had already vacated a room so I didn't have to wait in the driveway. I drove my car inside a garage where my companion and I would have some privacy away from the glaring headlights and the foot traffic.
One of the motel staff then approached me and advised me that I would have to wait for more than the customary 15 minutes to clean the room. Apparently the couple who preceded me had an overnight stay so the cleaning staff would need extra time to bring everything to a pristine state. I didn't mind. We had just come from MOA, where we had just watched a movie sans air-conditioning so we were feeling a bit sticky and looking forward to a comfortable bed and cooler temperatures. I inquired about the occupancy and the staff told me that most of the guests were booked for 12-hour and overnight stays and only a few had booked for the 3-hour short-time.