As a college student, I rode daily the jeepney plying the UP-Pantranco route to and from school. I was on my way home one afternoon with my boyfriend and although the jeep was full, I was feeling slightly uncomfortable because the guy beside me kept shifting in his seat and moving too close to me.
As we made a U-turn on Commonwealth Avenue going to Philcoa, the guy said, “Para,” which was unusual since there were no nearby establishments in that area, just a long stretch of empty fields (at that time, there was no UP-Ayala Technohub yet).
The driver pulled over anyway, and as he did, the guy beside me suddenly whipped out a gun and began pulling on my bag, instructing me to give him my valuables. He also had an accomplice, another man seated across from him, but they didn’t ride the jeep together so people wouldn’t notice that they knew each other. They were shouting at the passengers to give them their things.
As the perpetrator kept pulling on my bag, I could feel my boyfriend clutching at my waist, which kept me pretty calm. I was able to fish out my two phones (both were old and needed replacing, anyway) and a wallet with only P100. Thankfully, I kept my cards and IDs in a separate cardholder, so the guy wasn’t able to get that.
What shook me up was when the guy pulling on my bag fired his gun. Looking back, it might have been a blank shot, but it was still scary that he was seated right beside me when he fired that shot. I was crying for most of the ride after; my boyfriend and I were so rattled, we decided not to go straight home but to my parents’ office, which was near Philcoa.
After that, it took me around a month before I could ride public transport again. Now, I carry with me a pepper spray whenever I go out. I also make it a point not to carry too much cash.