About seven months ago, while lined up before a cashier at the Savemore branch in Filinvest City in Alabang, a man in humble clothes greeted me by name and said it has been some time since he saw me. He bowed his head and in mournful tone said, “Si Caring, na–aksidente po nung makalawa. Nakaburol po ngayon sa bahay. Namimili nga po ako ngayon ng pagkain para iahin sa mga nakikiramay. Sana po makatulong kayo.”
I don’t remember having met him before, but I gave him P50.00, just in case he is one of many former employees or one of the subdivision utility men who had done work around my house that is why he knew my name.
Last weekend, while walking past the SM Supermarket in the SM Southmall in Las Piñas, a guy in undershirt and worn-out baggy pants called me by my first name. He said he had just delivered a bag of mangoes to my house. I immediately sensed he was out to pull a trick. I don’t know anybody who grows or sells mangoes. And he could not have delivered anything to my house while I was out as the subdivision security guards would not have allowed him to enter the village.
When he said, “Namatay ang biyenan ko, nakaburol ngayon sa amin. Namimili nga ako ng pagkain.” Before he could continue his spiel, I said, “Bakit ba tuwing magkita tayo, may kamamatay lang ng miyembro ng pamilya mo. Nung huli tayong nagkita ang asawa mo ang nakaburol.” Before I could finish, he walked away in fast steps.
My son, who was with me, asked me what the guy talked to me about. It turned out, the man had asked my son before he approached me what my name is.
Along the stretch of Alabang Zapote Road from Filinvest to South Mall, there are seven large supermarkets; Savemore, Shopwise, South Supermarket, Makati Supermarket, Metro Gaisano, Puregold Molino, and SM Supermarket. A scammer could collect as much as a few hundred pesos just by hanging around one of those supermarkets for just a few hours a day.