My Few Short Minutes As An Action Star

By BobbyRica | December 15, 2010


A few days before I had to leave the Philippines, I had one hell of an experience today while walking the busy streets of Manila. As it would happen, somebody got mugged and I saved her day!

Robbers are everywhere. Hearing stories about how rough the city can be is pretty normal. In Manila, snatchers and robbers are pretty common, at least from taxi drivers’ experiences. Yes, taxi drivers know a lot. But me saving a poor lady against a purse snatcher is extraordinary. In fact, I felt like the king of the world!

This is how it happened:

The driver got me off a busy place called Baclaran. Baclaran is like a market with all sorts of goodies – clothes, shoes, and all sorts of cheap souvenir junk. In Manila and other parts of the Philippines, I usually notice that the marketplace is adjacent to a church. I heard that Spaniards were of great influence to natives.

I sat down a small eatery for a chilled can of their local San Miguel Pale Pielsen. Idling the time before I haul my ass back to the motel, I wasn’t in the mood to be adventurous since it was thirty eight degrees out. I was watching a continuous stream of humanity when I noticed that this guy in his twenties was negotiating his way to a crowd. He seemed deadset on reaching this forty-something woman who I thought to be his companion. With the crowd getting bigger, the guy used his chance to stay closer to the woman. Then without warning, he grabbed the strap and yanked the woman’s purse out of her shoulder.


The woman screamed but because of the crowd, couldn’t get through the crowd. I didn’t know what had gotten into me but I suddenly sprang to my feet (I already paid for my beer) and attempted to chase the guy. I suddenly developed tunnel vision as the guy only became visible and everything else faded to obscurity. I never knew it was possible in real life; I thought only movie cameras can do that effect.

I sprinted further in hot pursuit. The crowd had blessedly thinned out where he gave chase. Adrenaline has blessedly kicked in and a second rush emboldened me to move faster. Maybe it was the sight of a huge six foot five white guy speeding towards but the guy somehow began to lose steam. I reckon that the guy was not a runner and so by sheer will, I managed to grab his shirt, pin him down and then grab the stolen purse! That was some kind of real action! During the entire time, I was both into the moment and watching everything at a distance (like an out of body experience).


A minute later the woman came to the site where I knocked down the snatcher. She was so thankful she cried. A few people who saw the act applauded minutes before the local police arrived. The onlookers may have been totally useless during the incident but I must admit their applause felt great. It was my five minutes of fame.

I thought that the applause was the best part of the incident. To my surprise, the woman I had saved was with this beautiful Filipina girl who had long black hair and considerable height. She just called the woman “mama”. I blushed. She looked to me like a tropical princess. Gauguin would have a boner!


After the victim and I gave our statements, the cops took the snatcher. The woman approached me and started talking in Tagalog. I couldn’t remember what she said since I was distracted with her beautiful companion. The woman then introduced me to her beautiful daughter. That’s the reward I have been waiting for!

I offered to walk with them to the church. Just like other Filipinos, these two women are deeply religious. We had a short chat about where I’m from and how my tour in Manila is doing. That moment I wished that the church were still far from our sight.

When they got to the Baclaran church they smiled at me for the last time. They shook my hand and thanked me. I waved back at them and said goodbye.


Now I know that people can beat the odds just to steal or get something at the expense of another. I thought snatching is best done in less populous places but really, these people know how to get what they want.

Getting five minutes of fame and another few more minutes of bliss is the best souvenir I got from Manila so far. I continued strolling at the busy streets of Baclaran before heading back to the hotel. My last day at Manila was great and I wonder if I am going to have a blast tonight.

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