the ugly writers

Morning Routines in Hell

Not even five minutes in, my sweat started dripping. People started fanning themselves. Some even have portable electric fans to save the day. No one is fresh-looking. No one looks like they got out of the shower at 7 in the morning. Not a living soul.

Morning Routines in Hell

I wake up at 6 in the morning to reach my office at 9. Every day is exactly the same as yesterday, no special details or Easter eggs—a perfect pattern. It’s an excruciating routine if you ask me, and it has been the same since I started working here in Manila.

Who would want to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to wait in line and battle the traffic? No one, and also everyone. The options are limited, you see. But the bills are ever-growing, and there are stomachs to be filled. So I left the comfort of my bed and went to my closet to pick up my clothes for today.

Jeans. Long-sleeves. Sneakers.

My job doesn’t have a dress code. I can wear whatever clothes I’m comfortable with. And for now, I’m comfortable with jeans, long-sleeves, and sneakers.

I took a quick shower, ate my breakfast, dabbed some foundation on, and left my apartment.

The streets, like my usual routine, are the same as yesterday. I’m still a few kilometers away from the highway, but I can already hear a thousand car honks from where I’m walking. And from my estimation, it would take me an 8 to 10-minute walk from my apartment to the Jeepney terminal.

That wouldn’t be a problem. I always take my time walking. I’m never in a hurry as I’m never late to work or any other occasion people want to invite me in. But there’s one alley where I wish I walk like the wind—or the speed of light.

Yesterday, I called this Wolf Street. In here, I can constantly hear howls and whistles from hungry alphas and betas of different packs. The other day, I went as far as to call it Calle Purgatoryo.

Today, I think I’m going to call it The Second Circle of Hell as here lies the lustful whose sexual appetites are satisfied by assessing women like a fine steak. I just wish that each one of them, for the rest of their lives, are constantly being whipped by wild winds and violent storms—worse than what Achilles, Tristan, and Paris experienced in Hell.

But that’s just wishful thinking—a fool’s hope. Now that I’m standing at the beginning of the alley, I do what I always do.

I untangled my headset inside my bag and turned my music to full blast. I can hear nothing but the voice of Freddie Mercury and David Bowie singing Under Pressure, and of course, the unsteady beat of my heart.

I adjusted the hem of my t-shirt despite knowing full well that they wouldn’t see an inch of my skin. Just to be sure.

I took a deep breath and exhaled. I’m ready.

♪ Pressure, pushing down on me, pressing down on you, no man ask for ♪

As I walk, I made sure that my chin is up and my view only sees the destination. I wish I could also block my peripheral view. I can still see the array of boys, men, assholes, and demons lined up on the sidewalk.

♪ It’s the terror of knowing what the world is about, watching some good friends screaming “Let me out!” ♪

I couldn’t hear the satanic language they’re speaking. I can only guess it’s either “Miss, ang sexy mo naman” (Miss, you look sexy) or “Miss, pahingi naman ng number mo” (Miss, give me your phone number). They have a glossary of terms that I have involuntarily memorized verbatim because like my morning routine, this happens every day.

♪ Pray tomorrow – gets me higher. Pressure on people, people on streets ♪

Apart from the meaningless words I have learned to ignore my entire life, some of them are also fond of wolf whistles and other weird sound effects they could think of. The whistle, above all, is the universal leitmotif of catcalling. It’s a constantly recurring musical piece every woman hates. Once their mouths formed the O, I know what’s going to happen, and I know I’m not going to like it.

♪ Turned away from it all like a blind man. Sat on a fence, but it don’t work ♪

As the whistles and the unidentified language went on, I walked faster.

♪ Keep coming up with love, but it’s so slashed and torn. Why, why, why? ♪

And finally—finally, after my excruciating two-minute walk in the depths of Hell, I reached the Jeepney terminal unharmed.

I paused the song to catch my breath and assess the situation in front of me. Looking at the long line of passengers, I can tell that I’m going to wait for a good 20 minutes to get on board. The waiting game would probably take me a whole album, so might as well listen to my personal Queen playlist.

Not even five minutes in, my sweat started dripping. People started fanning themselves. Some even have portable electric fans to save the day. No one is fresh-looking. No one looks like they got out of the shower at 7 in the morning. Not a living soul.

By the 7th song, the waves of our sweat are singing Don’t Stop Me Now. People are still coming in, but there are no Jeepneys to be seen. By the 10th song, Mercury is looking for Somebody to Love. I’m looking for Somebody to Give Me a Ride.

The Jeepneys that had probably come all the way from Mars finally arrived at the 11th song. The line started moving, and lo and behold, there’s enough room for everyone.

I chose the seat next to the driver since it’s still empty. I noticed that my breaths are still quick and erratic due to stress, heat, and everything in between.

I tried to calm myself down. And just when I’m about to breathe a sigh of relief—for passing through that alley and for braving the heat, the driver touched my upper thigh and muttered: “Miss, libre na pamasahe mo” (Your ride is free).

Judas even sealed it with a wink.

I held back my sigh.

I held back the relief.

It seems like Wolf Street, Calle Purgatoryo, and the Second Circle of Hell will never be just an alley.

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Joanna Marie Ligon
Articles: 1


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  1. We are living in this monotonous life of ours, where in we just do our daily routine day after day. But we have this kind of hell places that we cannot avoid, such as the place of full of jerks, where in cat calling is accepted and very normal. Fight for your own rights and don’t hesitate to call the attention of the people in this world despite of the existence of the ignorant people in this country.

  2. As a girl, being catcalled, harassed and sexually abused are some of the most gruesome feeling of being alive. They tend to outbreak and vanish any moment because of the unknown fear of anyone making you uncomfortable. There’s a random feeling that some girls wished to be not girls because of what is happening in them. It is like you are in a depth of hell when you encounter people like a demonic Satan. But what makes it real is even men also experienced that kind of abuse. I don’t know why these people do that abusive actions maybe because it’s their nature? or maybe they can’t control their libido? Nevertheless, they should be aware of the feeling when their sisters, mothers and wives got to it. They should eradicate that because they break someone’s life. Instead, women should be respected and appreciated and not abused or whatnots.

  3. Our country became dangerous this past few days because of different crimes happened like rape and killings. Especially for girls, streets became threatening. Our country should be aware and give solutions about these problems because it is not forgivable like what happened to the 16 year old girl who was skinned and raped by the rumored psychopath surgeon. I also encountered being catcalled and harassed by some men but I managed to keep it by myself and also learned on how to defend myself against them. Men should learn on how to respect women because it is not our problem to be their type or whatsoever. It’s not our fault for being harrased. So that’s why every women in this world should be trained to defend themselves for those bad men.

  4. Catcalling can be a whistle, unwanted comment, gesture or action forced upon an individual in public without their consent. I have experienced being catcalled and it’s so uncomfortable and it scares me at the same time. I don’t what’s in their mind to do those things without knowing the effect of it to the victims. Maybe for them it’s fun but they didn’t have a idea that it has a big impact to the victims. Catcalling is not a compliment.

  5. Catcalling, sexual harassment and rape. Why do some people doing this kind of crime? Do they know the feeling of being in this kind of situation? As a girl, if I were put on this situation, i will feel pain in my heart. I will feel fear everytime i will go outside. There will be suicidal thoughts running on my mind. I thought men will protect women but whats going on today. They should remember their family and relatives. They should think that this will leave a big impact on their lives. They should also remember that girls, should be loved and respected in any ways.

  6. As woman and in my own perception being sexually harassed , catcalled is the most bullsh*t experience that woman would encounter, now a days we really feel that we are not safe in our own country because of those news about the things about rape, and we as a women we all know that the problem is not the way we dressed, now as a 19t yrs old ive been experiencing being catcalled even wayback in high school , i know to my self that sometimes i need to fight back but when you are in the situation of it , it will froze your body and you can’t say anything, i know that im not scared but then it happens that i cant take any action towards to it because as a women there’s still the weakness part of us even we think that we’re brave enough

  7. Anyone can experience catcalling no matter what your gender is and what you are wearing. Catcalling someone is not a good thing it can make people uncomfortable and scared because it is not a complement even though you said she/he is beautiful or sexy.

  8. Catcalling, sexual harassment are the things that a girl doesn’t want to experience. I don’t know why some people do this to every girl. Even if a person whistle at you while you are walking, or called you “Ganda”, “Miss hatid na kita” or what, it is not a compliment. As a woman, I experienced to be catcalled and it is not good in feeling. I feel like somebody are trying to disrespect me as a woman. If a person continu to catcall or what, it may lead a traumatic experience to the victim. No woman wants to be catcalled or what. Every woman deserves a respect.

  9. We cannot deny the fact that it is the girls who always experienced sexual harassment but everyone regardless the gender can experience it. Catcalling is one example of this. Someone said that there will be no sexual harassment if no one provoked the harasser to do it. However, girls who are wearing their uniforms, t-shirt and jeans, dresses or shorts can experienced it. Most of us were afraid of going outside alone but we cannot escape the fact that there will be a time that we will be alone. We have this fear that if we go outside, these harassers are waiting on the street not realizing that they are everywhere.

  10. do guys understand that most women have experienced a form of sexual assault/harassment/abuse at least once in their lives? You all know it doesn’t just happen on the news and in the articles right? The maturity of those guys whose continuously catcalling had bad ping, probably why it lags behind and downplay situations like this. I know that so many girls have been through the same scene where they have to take a different route just to avoid males’ attention whenever they go out and walking around with this quick beats in their hearts and most of the guys think it’s a joke. Men it can really tear a soul up. Let that sink in!

  11. Catcalling is a kind of sexual harassment. To all those men who thinks women are just toys to played and worthless creatures roaming around this planet, well you have to know the things they have given up, the sacrifices they have made and the sufferings they have been through to satisfy the world and its needs. For I myself have gone through it and it is not easy to be downed by people whom you once given trust. And I do not wnat other woman to be in those kind of terrible experiences.

  12. In today’s world we can’t really know where is the safe place for us woman be able to feel at our most calm and safe feeling. It is very fearful for us to be catcalled by those strangers because we cannot determine if they will be able to touch us. All of us must stand as one to make this world a better place again for this present time and for future generation.

    ACT 181

  13. If anyone abuses his fellow man is not worthy in this society because it is a devil’s work. Catcalling is one of the acts of rude and uneducated people they do not know they are doing is something shows disrespect. Sexual harassment or touching by the stranger on the part of the human body is a kind of crime that should be punishable because it can affect the mental and emotional condition of people who are abused. If we encounter with these people its better to ignore theme and avoid them for our safety. Most of those people who experiencing catcalling is the women even when they are wearing a proper clothes there still a people doing things that are nonsensical due to inadequate awareness of proper treatment of the women.
    Ryan Dave Biron ACT186

  14. We are living in this monotonous life of ours, where in we just do our daily routine day after day. But we have this kind of hell places that we cannot avoid, such as the place of full of jerks, where in cat calling is accepted and very normal. Fight for your own rights and don’t hesitate to call the attention of the people in this world despite of the existence of the ignorant people in this country.

  15. Everyone may experience catcalling. Other people may see catcalling as simple as they thought but little did they know that catcalling may affect someone’s life bigtime. I have experienced being catcalled and I can say that, that is one of the experience that I don’t want to experience anymore. Those people who are catcalling someone maybe doing that just for fun without thinking about those victims feelings. People should know more about the effects of catcalling.

    Rayo, Lexzadel

  16. At one click, this brought us up to the shadows of reality that our country’s facing now. Almost everyday in news, there’s a poor little girl that was being raped and murdered. As the rapists and victims getting younger and younger, this just proved how drugs and lust is embracing each one of the blinded Filipinos. Wherever you are, as woman, we must be tough even if it is hard to do in that situation. Yes, we must do something, because I know that despite of those assholes, there are still a majority of warm hearted Filipinos that can be our allies in fighting the Giant of Lust living in the Second Circle of Hell.

  17. We are always unsure of what may happen everytime we go out. We could be walking peacefully, greet the people we knew or on the worst scenario, we could be catcalled. We are greeted with a feeling of being disrespected. Catcalling will never ever be a compliment. We often experience this kind of harassment. Harassment that has a big impact in our lives. This impact may change someone’s life. We, people, should be treated rightfully. We should be respected. We should be treated as a human and not as an object, because no one deserves to feel that way.

  18. I just like to have a comparison between the way of life before and up to now. The environment before is safer than today. As we notice, it is not safe to go home and stay outside when night. Crime is everywhere and we must be aware of it and what’s happening in our surroundings, for us to be prepared and safe on people who have bad intentions. Before, it’s safer because of the policemen and barangay tanods that roaming around our area. For women, of course, we feel safe because of the officers around but for today’s generation even the officers are the one who’s having bad intentions. It is good to be alert and aware every time for us to be safe.

  19. Catcalling is a continous sexual calling or harrassment to women that is acted by most of unknowledgeable men nowadays and this is also a main reason why women are afraid to pass on a group of unknowed men. Everytime this act occurs, it has an equal rise of threat to women that gets them uncomfortable in a way they feel to be conscious about there worm outfits or the way that they move. This is a crime that is needed to be stop and the first move to stop this nonsense is by respecting the rights of women.

  20. The answer to this one is phenomenally simple: boys will control themselves and respect others, just like everyone else has to. Firstly, grown men are not “boys”, and have had many years to educate themselves on how to function respectfully in society. Secondly, misogyny is not some uncontrollable force, luring you into bad behaviour. Lesbians don’t go around leering and catcalling so straight men can figure it out too.

  21. Catcalling is no good for women. People who do this, specifically men, shows no respect to opposite sex. Just because it pleases them doesn’t men that there would be a psychological effect to the victim. Worst scenario is it may trigger mental health problems which may lead to further problems.

  22. We live in a world where being respectful and decent are not practiced by several people. And mostly females are the ones experiencing shit like that. Catcalling. Creepy dudes. Everywhere. It doesn’t matter what you wear. You are not the problem. The problem is the mind of these people. They probably think it’s okay. They probably think that you’re asking for it. They probably think that it’s a compliment. But it’s actually NOT. I don’t understand people like that. I despise them. Imagine being a man and waking up everyday without worrying of being catcalled or worst case scenario, being raped. Must be nice. Well, we need more respectful people in this world. It’s not that hard to do so why can’t y’all just keep it in your pants and act decent. Serious thought.

  23. Here in present, there’s no safe place for women to be calmed knowing that catcalling is anywhere. So, everyone must unite to make this world a peaceful place to live for the sake of today and the future.


  24. Catcalling is one of the things girls afraid of, because it is a small gesture of harassment , as a girl I also experienced catcalling Everytime i walk alone going to school some guys will whistle at me and it was so frightening and sometimes it can cause of accident, because can’t focus on the road just to escape from those guys, so we should stop catcalling to remove the burden on womens life. Because like hell it is the matter of life and death.

  25. People like that might be under influence of illegal drug or alcohol. Or maybe they just really have no manners and respect to women. Catcalling happens not only in the Philippines but in other countries also. What women wear is not the problem but those guys are. As far as I know, there is a law protecting women from catcalling. But it don’t seem to be effective. We have thousands of Police but they are all in head quarters and offices. I think government should allocate them to different places that crime always took place. Women are afraid because they have no one to protect them. Men are also afraid to confront those stupid guys because they think that those guys might commit more serious crime.

  26. Catcalling disproportionately affects women and it can have significant impacts and effects on their mental health, self esteem and to their safety. As a woman, i am really afraid to walk by myself without a companion or someone i can rely on. I’m always been a victim of catcalling, even when i’m all covered up or dressed up decently. Catcall are not flattering, they’re creepy and flat out disrespectful.

  27. Her routine is somehow similar to mine. I can relate all those scenerios mentioned above. Being a commuter and living quiet far from your destination requires discipline in time. We used to be seen by so many random people and we don’t know the possible things they might do to us strangers. We shouldn’t let ourlselves being catcalled or anything offensive/rude action. Whatever you are wearing, it won’t define your worth and label to the society. No one deserves to be harassed and we should be strong on that stand.

  28. I’ve been catcalled many times too and for me, it is a sexual harrassment for it neglects the feminity of a woman. It is very disrespectful and annoying to hear someone or a group of people catcalling you as if they are already stripping your clothes. Ladies would never want to be catcalled as it degrades them and people who catcalled seem to be enjoying the moment as they whistle, or say ‘Hi Miss.’ How I wish I could get rid from these people.

  29. I think many of us girls experienced catcalling from someone wherever we are, even boys also experienced that. Catcalling can be a whistle, unwanted comment, gesture or action forced upon an individual in a public space without their consent that stems from a culture of gender-based violence. However, we fail to treat this behaviour as such and instead we accept it as a societal norm, dismissing catcalling as merely ‘men being men.’ Street harassment though, is the everyday reality for women all over this world that needs to be taken seriously. Although men are also victims, catcalling disproportionately affects women and it can have significant impacts and effects on their mental health, self-esteem and feelings of safety as well as feeding into a culture of normalised sexism where a ‘harmless’ jeer opens up a gateway to violence, sexual aggression and systematic oppression.

  30. Every gender experienced being catcalled, but usually girls experienced it the most. I always wondered if they don’t have any sister, daughter or mother because if they don’t want to do it to their daughter or sister then they must not do it to other girls. Catcalling girls or even boys is not really appropriate because you make them feel uncomfortable.

  31. Catcalling isnt something we should normalize about. It put the victims in a state where they feel fear and uncomfortable in a public place. We are living in a world where, if most people do things unnecessary the society will just accept these changes and adjust to it.

  32. Teenager is a difficult phase in life to navigate. One of the struggles of being a stranger is trying to figure out who they really are. By figuring out who you really are means knowing what your needs and wants. As I grew up, I bought things that are not really important. Like make ups, cell phone accessories, shoes, bag, and the most expensive thing that I bought was a shoes. A shoes for my ex. I regret it buying. I should’ve bought my bestfriend’s favorite perfume and with that, for sure I will never regret it because he deserves more than that. I know for sure that it would’ve sparked joy into my life because I love him so much. But I didn’t bought it because I was blinded by love that time so I bought my ex a shoes rather than my bestfriend’s perfume.

  33. Anyone who thinks catcalling and whistling should be regarded as the slightest bit of flattering should back out with there perception towards it. Catcalling is not an act of flirtation, nor can be compared to complimenting someone.