THIS week, we return to the more introspective and more personal side of this regular bi-weekly ramble. But first, we get out of the way the news that Baguio Chronicle won fairly big in the PPI Civic Journalism Community Press Awards. Three categories of six isn’t bad in the slightest, and is worth some pride, so for a moment, let us puff our chest.
One category we won in was Best Editorial, where the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) cited our “well-written, fact-based opinion pieces” that encouraged readers to think critically. Again, I am in the middle of getting out my chest-puffing, so allow me to take minor credit for this as I have been part of the opinion pages for a few years at this point. Puff.
With that puffing out of the way, allow me to transition to the main topic of this week’s ramble. News is, two individuals have been arrested by the RACU-COR, the Cordilleran super cybercrime cops whose jobs are undoubtedly less exciting than Cyberpunk would have you assume. I want to zero in on one of these individuals, who was caught after a “romance scam” (and she would have gotten away with it were it not for those meddling cousins – context in this week’s issue of BagChro!).
For those who skip straight to my column – should you even exist – the gist of it is that a Baguio woman posed as someone else online, started an online romance with some poor sap, and scammed them for P65,000. More, if she’d had her way, but the sap’s cousin talked some sense into him and sent him to the RACU-COR.
Ain’t that a kick in the head, indeed.
I would like to say that first and foremost, obviously, exercise some caution, but here is where I introspect a bit. As much as it would be good to say that I would never fall for such a trick, such a statement would be dishonest. I am, to put it mildly and vaguely, horribly vulnerable to such a trick on account of my views on love and romance and longstanding lack of both. And here is where I gamble on the low view-count of my regular columns and assume that now that I’ve exposed one of my many, many, many weaknesses, no one will take advantage of it. Please don’t romance scam me, but I welcome romance.
In the end, it all boiled down to trust. Trust misplaced no doubt, but genuine, heartbreaking trust. Imagine the poor sap’s reaction to finding out that someone they’d loved and planned a future with – the scam payment was supposedly to get a package of business capital released and usable for their lives together – had merely deceived them for so long and built up their trust only to swindle them out of hard-earned money. Even before the P65,000 sinks in, imagine the pain of the twisting knife that is the deceitful relationship.
Would you, in such shoes, be able to trust again? Would you be able to entrust your heart once more to another, or would the taste of love be poisoned forever?
In a way, this column is more of a question to myself. I am easy to trust, admittedly. So when I saw this story unfold, I wondered to myself, would I be in the same shoes, would I so easily, so acceptingly offer up what took so long to make, would I so easily share what I kept close to my chest?
And the hard part is accepting that the answer is not a definitive no. For as much as I may be a cynic, I know that deep down I wish to find that one person to trust, that one person to lay the self bare to. So in the end, all I may do with myself is remind myself of vigilance. Love may be a kick in the head, but don’t get groggy – lead with the heart but let reason take the wheel.
(Angel Castillo writes the bi-weekly column Verhungern as well as this informational bit in third person. For responses or thoughts, email the dedicated firstname.lastname@example.org email address.)