HOW MUCH IS a 10-peso worth?
A tricycle fare.
1-minute celfone call.
A tabloid newspaper.
A whopping P126,880,212.60.
That's right! You can exchange your 10 pesos with that amount if you were the "lucky" person yesterday, who saw and lined up in one of the lotto terminals found in every SM mall, some street corners or wherever tickets are being sold. With the right combination of 6-numbers in your possession, you could probably be rejoicing now, or having your heart jump out of your chest, in doubt that you are now an instant millionaire. Whoever that person is, I somehow wished it was me. Or a friend who's always the first person to update me of the results of the millionaires raffle.
These long lines are not mere indicators that the prize money of the Philippine lottery is a huge sum, but shows how a hole in a roof can be seen as a passage of miniscule rays of hope.
If it's me who won the prize, my mind would either:
a] Go crazy and quickly be cluttered with material things to lust about. A Canon 1D-Mark III, the latest in BMW line of cars, one way ticket to Paris and elsewhere, a house I have never dreamed of having and my own jetski. (Or)
b] Remain sane and set priorities on how to properly spend more than a hundred million pesos-- which probably would include raising a business related to photography, publishing, internet, web design, farming, food, and coffee, among others. Donation to charity and environment conservation causes. And of course, share the treasure to the long lines of the family.
However, these are just scripts born of imaginative mind.
I was in my second year in college when I learned about the game, bet on it and eventually lost a countless times. I have seen different kinds of people, too, that have gone through these lines. I remember at one time, the guy next to me was donned with dirty baseball cap and rugged clothes. He was holding his bicycle which appearance told me that he used it to go to work as a welder in some metal fabrication shop. He had put his hopes in a single bet as he let out an exasperated sigh. He must have been very tired of his kind of work, and his eyes showed he's dead tired of being poor. That's why he probably invested his remaining cash for the day, because his one ticket could save him from his debts and mundane living.
Beyond the money game itself, it brings us the reality of the lives of many Filipinos who belong to the lower class. These long lines are not mere indicators that the prize money of the Philippine lottery is a huge sum, but shows how a hole in a roof can be seen as a passage of miniscule rays of hope. Hope that in every bet, it accounts a degree of chance where the bettor put his prayers in winning the jackpot, and eventually, a better life.