After dinner, ay pumunta muna ako ng Supermarket to buy fruits at ilang mga kailangan sa bahay. Ang mga kasama ko sa bahay ay nasa bakasyon kaya solo akong lumalakad pamamasyal at pamimili ng bintana (window shopping). Pagkapamili ko ay dumeretso ako sa Real Estate Office upang magbayad ng 6 months house rent.
Ang bahay na nalipatan ko ay 100 hakbang lang ang layo sa dati kong tinitirahan and the Real Estate Office is so responsive sa aming mga pangangailangan sa bahay na may kaugnayan sa maintenance at sa pagrirepair. Naalala ko na doon sa dati, I requested na tingnan ang water heater na nasa kusina, pero for 2 years ay walang ginawa ang opisina nang paupahan at itinaas pa ng 15% ang upa. At dito nga ako napadpad sa mas mura ng 25% (base sa upa sa dating tirahan noong di pa sila nagpasabi na magtataas) malinis, maaliwalas at maganda ang pamamahala ng may-ari.
Bakante ang isang desk man ng Real Estate at doon ako naupo sa harap niya para magbayad. Nakita ako ng may-ari na nasa kanyang table malapit kay Desk Man at sinabi niya na ako ay sa kanya magbayad. He was all smiles at sunod sunod agad ang bati at tanong sa akin.
“How is your job? How is your family? How are your colleagues?” Habang kinukuha niya sa drawer ang booklet ng Official Receipt.
“I’m okay, family is kuayyis, my colleagues are on vacation” sagot ko sa kanya.
Then he started writing on the receipt habang patuloy na nagkukuwento at nagsabi pa sa akin na bakit hindi ako nabakasyon e pasko at bagong taon sa pinas. Sinagot ko siya ng pabiro na “how can I go on vacation. I don’t have money. I am paying for the house rent.”
He laughed and told me that among all the nationalities, kung kanya raw iraranggo as a tenant, no. 1 daw ang pinoy.
I asked him, “why did you say that the Filipinos are the best tenants?”
He explained, “First, you Filipinos are good payers. You always pay on time and 50% ahead of time. The other nationalities do not pay on time and worse, I will inspect the Flats to ask for their payments only to find out that they have already left, owing me 3 to 5 months house rental.”
“Second is that the Filipinos are good housekeepers. You are very clean and orderly and the house is always smelling good. I am always confident that my property will be cared for. The other nationalities don’t care. It is very messy, lots of rubbish, we need to repair this and that, and the smell.. it’s very bad.” Ang kanyang paghahambing ulit.
“Another thing is that you Filipinos are very polite. No trouble talking to you. You always smile and don’t speak in high voice. Very very good. And the fourth thing I like about Filipino tenants is that you are free advertisement. You tell how good my flats are and most Filipinos come to me. Now, maybe about 50% of my tenants are Filipinos.” Ang kanyang sabi. “You maintain close relationship among yourselves and you even extend it to the people around you. Like me, all of you became my friends, unlike the others. Now I know how to greet you.. Magandang Gabi. Magandang Araw. Kumusta ka Kabayan. Kumain ka na?” Dagdag pa niya.
“Thank you Muhammad and I assure you, we are your friends and we will not break any of your impression on us Filipinos. Maraming salamat in trying to learn our language, instead of us learning your language.” Ang pagtatapos ko.
Humabol siya, “By the way, until now I don’t know the meaning of Filipino description of myself . Your neighbor Eugene taught me that one.. ‘KURIPOT AKO!’ what does it mean?”
“You are very kind.” ang sagot ko.
“Say oh (oh) is that your first impression and is that good enough for you. Oh the lasting first impression is what you’re looking for.” – Duran Duran