Let’s say you own a house in the Philippines. Just your average house in an average middle-class subdivision in Cavite, say. It’s not the best-looking house in the block, but heck, it’s proudly yours and you have spent quite a fortune having it built.
Unfortunately, you are still abroad and couldn’t quite yet decide on whether to live there permanently or not. You don’t like the idea of having it rented, because you want it ready for you each time you go back for short visits. The concept of having other people live there is just…ghastly. You want the place all for your own.
So for the moment it’s just sitting there, unoccupied. And because the subdivision has tall perimeter walls and gates guarded 24/7 by security guards, you sort of feel assured that nothing will happen to the house.
One day, your caretaker informs you that there has been a forced entry into your house. How would you feel?
(a) Outraged. First at the intruder who had the nerve to break into your house, and second, at the incompetent guys who were supposed to be guarding the place.
(b) Indifferent. It happens, after all, it’s a Third-World country. Charge the losses to experience.
(c) Contemplative. By george, how did the burglar get in? Now, how could the locks be reinforced so incidents like these could be prevented?
(d) Vengeful. You feel like rigging the house with traps so that scums will get what’s coming to ’em. Give them what they deserve!
(e) Amused. That’s because you anticipated that somehow, somebody would eventually find out that the house is unoccupied most of the time, and so wisely enough, didn’t leave any valuables there. There’s virtually nothing worth stealing, unless the thieves are really that intent on stealing heavy furnitures. 😛 And because you also learned that the thief only managed to steal two things: the metal thingy on the gas burner (where the flames emanate from), and one small non-stick frying pan. Of all things!
(f) Feel sorry. What would have driven someone to do something like that? Only the hard-pressed for money would do it, you guess. Someone down on his luck, living a hand to mouth existence. At saka baka talagang kailangan lang niyang magluto? Di ba?
Well, that’s a roundup of the emotions I’m feeling right now, after hearing the unfortunate incident at our residence. I know, of course, that we have to quickly find ways to prevent something similar in the future from occurring again. Extra heavy-duty locks. Metal grills on the doors. Gaah. Personally I hate grills – they just ruin my concept of a "home sweet home." In our efforts to keep other people out, we risk turning our homes into something that closely resembles a prison.
On a positive note, the property manager of the subdivision said that they will pay for the repairs of the damage to our property. The damage is actually minor – the intruder had made a hole on the door to the master’s bedroom, in order to unlock the knob from the inside. He or she probably thought that there was something valuable inside, what with the door closed. What a disappointment it must have been to just find old pambahay (house) clothes in the drawers and cabinets!
Now, I don’t know if they would pay for the stolen frying pan and stove accessories, though. Naku, pano na kami magpiprito niyan, aber?
It’s a wake-up call, my sis remarked when I told her about it. Talk about one of the ugly realities of living in da Pilipins!