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Overall impressions of the Philippines

PHILIPPINES | Monday, 16 November 2009 | Views [990] | Comments [1]

The Road Warriors...

The roads are fucking crazy!!!!!!!!!! Red light? Hordes of 20 cars or so stream through regardless… Double yellow line? Just go around. Pass on the left, the right… whatever. People rarely stay in the same lane for more than a few minutes. Weaving in and out of lanes is a means of moving forward.

Mopeds and drivers have a 6th sense for each other, and play together symbiotically. Within a few inches, they dance around each other, acutely aware of the others whereabouts without looking too concerned. Norwin, the Santos family’s driver is a fearless road gladiator. The game he plays with other drivers seems to me like they get points added to their score when they manage to cut off another driver, and they lose points and face when another manages to cut them off. I think we got in nearly 4 fender benders that I noticed, but the overall skill level of all players keeps the cars and mind intact.

The tricycles (aka tuk-tuks in Thailand) are made up of a motorcycle, with a side car attached. Some look like sturdy street chariots, others, no stronger than tinfoil. People are calm as they race along the streets, bouncing along on the bumpy roads. Small kids are sandwiched between their parents, who ride with a loose grip on the vehicle they’re propped on. We saw a Jeepney filled to the windows with coconuts, so the passengers rode on the roof. I asked if people ever get pulled over here, and when the answer “yes” came out, I had to ask how many people were plowed down in the process.

The toilets are “Western” style, but the general rule is to leave the seat up. All the women’s restrooms like a dude was just in there, and left the seat up when they were done. I did see a confused white man in the women’s bathroom, but that was in Honolulu airport before I left.

I was looking forward to using my power adapter for my computer, to see if it works, but I didn’t need to. The plugs are the same I’m used to using at home. I turned on the television, and the majority of the channels were in English- British and American. I did watch some local shows, and noticed some words I recognized. Taglish. It’s an amazing contrast to be in a place so different yet so similar to home. I think the Philipines is a great transition to bride the USA and Asia. I’m torn on whether this is a good thing or a bad one. But I guess there is no “good” or “bad”, only what is perceived.

Overall, I think the Philippines will be one of my favorite places, because the people are so warm, friendly, genuine, and just plain nice and fun-loving. The people make or break a place. Doesn't matter how cool a place is, what the sights are, how beautiful nature is... if the people suck, the place is not worth visiting. If the place sucks but the people are great, then it's a blast. The Philippines has both- people and place, and was an amazing experience. I LOVED it!

Tags: people, philippines, toilets, traffic



I pitied the ambulance drivers, who would be stuck in gridlock sirens wailing, and nobody would pull over! In one guidebook I saw the tricycles referred to as 'pestilential' which still makes me smile.


  Stacey Nov 16, 2009 8:23 PM

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