What's so great about the Philippines...
What's so great about the Philippines... Reviews
why I love the Philippines... Mar 16, 2008
Yes, there is a LOT of pollution in the Philippines - I often found my lungs resistant to inhale while sitting in the back of a crowded jeepney, overwhelmed by smog, but away from the unregulated auto emissions of city traffic and the countless curb-side trash fires of the rural areas, there were plenty of places where the air was perfectly breathable. Litter is quite a problem in some areas as well, but no more so than it is here in the town of West Haven, Connecticut, where I currently reside. The noise pollution of blaring music, outdoor karaoke machines, rambling vehicles, and screaming roosters took some getting used to, but a good pair of earplugs can help to block it out.
The poverty is really unfortunate, but it was inspiring to witness the resilience of the people - their resourcefulness and ability to make due with virtually nothing. Although abject poverty is never desirable, the warm climate in the Philippines does make it a bit more tolerable than it must be in northern areas. In addition to finding food and public toilets, homeless people in my state throughout the winter also face a real danger of freezing to death.
Thankfully I didn’t experience any crime during my six month stay in the tropical nation, although my former landlord did exploit my absence from the US by robbing me of the $700 refund she owed me - grr! Over my life, many Americans have ripped me off, but never has a Pinoy. :-) Perhaps my luck is just better abroad.
Although I was appalled by the ridiculously high price of electronics and frustrated with the unbelievably slow postal service, most of all, the only things I really hated in the Philippines were the toxic American pop-culture influences that are infecting Filipino ideals, values, lifestyles, and health... namely, McDonalds, KFC, rap, hipidy-hop, and the like.
What I found so interesting about the Philippines was EVERYTHING else! It’s just such an amazing archipelago. The people are so cool, friendly, funny, kind, different yet similar in a “near-miss” sort of way, and most of all relaxed! I really loved the low-stress, laid-back attitudes.
As congested and chaotic as the roadways are, drivers take every liberty as though there are no traffic laws at all, but I only saw the aftermath of one collision in the six months I was there and never witnessed an incident of road-rage. Drivers do toot their horns, but only to alert others to their proximity, they display no anger or hostility. Everyone is so accepting that it simply takes a long time to get anywhere.
The architecture, if you can call it that, and building techniques are so strange compared to other parts of the world, but they work. In the absence of cold weather, thick, insulated walls and roofs are unnecessary and even heated water is rare. With extensive use of natural materials, the smaller homes blend in beautifully with the lush surrounding scenery. I was even amused to observe simple oddities like the spaghetti of wires jumbled and strung in every direction from the tops of utility poles and the vulcanizing shops on seemingly every corner.
Of course, the vehicles comprising the public transportation network are out of this world! The v-hires were not too unusual, save for the quantity of people packed inside. Jeepneys, on the other hand, as well as the unique tour buses, multi-cabs, mini-buses, tricycles, and tricykads are all so fascinating. I’d never before seen such intriguing and flamboyant vehicles, at least not in common usage.
The culture, the food, the pastimes, the work ethic, the joy, the drama, the languages, the landscapes, and the natural wonders… the public markets, the fresh fish, the delicious produce, the ever-popular artery-clogging lechon, and my personal favorite economy take-out food lechon manok… the annoying flies, the droves of tiny ants, the occasional huge cockroach, the giant spiders, and the speedy little house lizards… the Philippines is just a fantastic wonderland! I can’t wait to return.
Part of the six months in the Philippines travel blog
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!