The Night Bus

There are almost certainly other effective Philippino torture methods, but the one with which I am familiar is The Night Bus. The Night Bus primarily utilises compression techniques, together with forced aural stimulation to gradually undermine the sanity. Much in the way of goats licking human feet to the bone, the physical pain onset is gradual. Rising exponentially to total numbness of all limbs and a sort of grinding ache in the lower back and base of the neck. This, in combination with the psychological effects of glibly farcical evangelical Catholicism broadcast at circa 300 decibels, reduces the victim to a state resembling that which one wishes one could inflict upon one’s traffic warden on administration of a yet another spurious parking ticket. In conjunction with these more obvious facets, there is an underlying layer of more subtle abuse. The ambient temperature of The Night Bus is maintained at a steady -11 degrees celcius, while anxiety levels of victims are artificially raised via the medium of uncontrolled hurtling. Often across vast tracts of unpaved road, frequently positioned along the extreme edges of ravines. This serves to prevent dissociation from the full experience and produces an effect akin to the initial phases of being shot out of a canon, for solid stretches of hours at a time, but with more bends and a longer sheer drop to the right hand side.

It was with considerable relief that we pulled up to our destination, the sound of the Chipmunks’ cover version of ‘Had a Bad Day’ (also at 300 decibels) polluting our hearts and minds for the 4th and final time. Exiting The Night bus would have been an almost entirely pleasurable experience, had it not been for the fact that our destination was Manila. And the impending threat of a 2km, backpack laden hike across the 4am city (the only difference between this and rush hour being a slight degradation in light levels)…


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