The Manila's finest... SWAT team storming the bus that resulted in death of 9 people including the hostage taker
A wretched soul, bruised with adversity,
We bid be quiet when we hear it cry;
But were we burdened with like weight of pain,
As much or more we should ourselves complain.
– William Shakespeare

The Philippines is known for its friendly people with a warm and beautiful smile that’s always ready to greet any tourist aboard the island; that acuity has vanished and turned into a shadow of death for some 19 tourists visiting the Philippines.

On Monday morning, 23 August 2010, a tourist bus with 23 passengers aboard were held hostage by a former police officer Rolando Mendoza. The supposedly fun and exciting city tour turned into a shocking and horrible experience.The standoff ended in bloodbath (watch the video HERE])with nine lives lost and the Philippines is back again in the limelight not as prime tourist destination but as a death zone for foreigners.

Truth: Nine lives were lost, several others were injured.

This would long be remembered by the world community about Manila and Philippines in general. A pitch black aftermath will continue to haunt, not only the victims and their families but in a greater scale, a nation’s blurring image and its people trying to be recognized as a primary tourist destination in the world.

Sad that it has taken nine lives just to realize what the country needs to sustain an orderly and likable environment, much more a tourist destination. We may all agree that this kind of incident is an isolated case and can happen anywhere else in the world, but sadly enough, this had happened to a country that’s been trying hard enough to showcase to the world its wonderful people and culture to attract more tourists to boost its economy in the midst of financial global crisis. Now everything has gone wrong.

We may put the blame on the irresponsible media people, on the officials who mishandled the crisis and on the incompetent police personnel but at the end of the day, we can only have our fingers to point on them and truth remains that this incident claimed nine lives. The only consolation is that the Philippines has finally realized how ill-prepared and ill-equipped they are to address life threatening situations such as this one.

Truth: No matter to whom we put the blame or argue about what could have been done better, it won’t bring back the lost lives of the innocent victims and change the image of a country that’s been battling with so much uncertainties for the past centuries.

Filipino should stop crying over spilled milk. No amount of tears can bring the milk back to the glass. And no amount of arguments or faultfinding can change the image of a country that has become a picture of deaths and chaos to the world. You cannot alleviate the sufferings of a despaired heart with damn arguments about what could have been done better or who’s to blame for the deaths. You cannot take away a bad experience with those words either. What the world has seen is what the rest of us don’t want to see our self or our loved ones to be in.

The Hong Kong government may have drawn the long bow when they issued a travel ban to Philippines but can the Filipino people complain about it? This hostage incident is definitely not among the kind of things the travellers would enjoy and like about the Philippines, that’s for sure. But bad stories such as this one hovered like thick black clouds amidst the bright sunny day and turned the bright sky into darkness. This is what the world has seen and this is what they know for now.

It may take months, perhaps years before the sun rises again in the orient land and the Filipino people will continue to live with this horrible incident every day while the rest of the world may have forgotten about this already. But one thing is certain about this incident, nobody wants this to happen and nobody is happy either. The victims and their families must have suffered greatly for their loss, that’s for sure but, nobody is more bruised and bloodied than a nation of 90 million people who took all the blame and hatred for the mistake of one person.

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