20 Reasons Why I Hate The Philippines
This guy gave you 20. Here's one more...
The entire time the "20 Things I Hate About The Philippines" video went viral, I was on vacation in Dumangas, Iloilo and Guimaras. These places are slightly remote, most of the time with no cel signal and I was on vacation, meaning no time for TV. I was there to immerse myself in the culture and absorb as much as I could while I was there. No time for television. I had no idea of what was going on in Manila and the news until I set back foot on city soil.
The time I spent in Iloilo and Guimaras was to say the least, wonderful. Sadly, landing back in Manila was a whole different story.
I have been living in Manila BY CHOICE for all my 32 years. My dad has been living in the States since I was 5. When I was about 12, my dad and my grandparents tried to relocate me so I could live with my dad and continue my education there. With as much vigor as a 12 year old could possibly muster, I refused, stood my ground and continued to live in Manila and finish high school here. When I was in college, my dad tried relocating me again by enrolling me in The French Culinary institute in New York. I almost left. My apartment was ready, my uniforms were ordered. I was the only missing piece to the puzzle. Two weeks before I was scheduled to depart, I changed my mind and decided to stay here. My dad was pissed beyond belief but for me it was worth it cause I got to stay in the city I love. Several years later, after college, I had the opportunity of living in Singapore. 'Denied that too because, to point out the obvious, I LOVE it here. I love it here for all the wrong reasons and for all the right reasons. Much of this can be attributed to the phrase "Only in the Philippines..." Our country has a distinct personality that only someone who has been living here for a decade or more can truly understand, accept and embrace it. Here is a country where you can get away with drunk driving practically any day of the week, any time of day but make the mistake of driving your car out on the wrong day with a wrong plate and in less than 5 minutes, an efficient MMDA officer will flag you down and slap you with a fine for violating the color coding scheme (which incidentally, in case some of you don't know yet, was supposed to bea TEMPORARY solution to the traffic problem until a better solution was found. It has been more than a decade since color coding was first implemented. At this point, I feel like I've been living with it all my life.I guess it truly is rocket science to find a solution to our traffic problems. Yes, I'm being sarcastic.) Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, I have been living here for 32 years, I have accepted and embraced it. The way the rules are set in this country totally work for me. Admit it, it works for you too. The sad thing is that some of the things we love about our country stem from the same things we most despise about it. I will not expound on this because I don't need to. It is the unspoken common truth. If you are not aware of this, then you've probably been living with blinders the entire time.
The issues this expat speaks about are TRUE. Except maybe the part about all the pretty ladies being lady boys and the square tissues. Single square tissues CAN be found in the supermarkets but who cares, right? Let's get straight to the issues. Straight to the reason that drove me to write this.
Leaving for Ilo-ilo, our flight was delayed, we were on the tarmac for a good 30 minutes or more waiting for clearance to take off. The reason? Well, traffic of course. Departing from Ilo-ilo, our plane was delayed again. Same reason. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.
We arrived in Manila, Terminal 3 about an hour later than scheduled. Still in high spirits from our vacation, we had nothing to worry about. All we had to do was take our bags from the conveyor belt, call the driver to pick us up at the entrance and make our final way home. To our disbelief, depsite our flight being an hour delayed, the driver wasn't there yet. He left the house to pick us up at 6pm, it normally takes less than an hour to get from Mandaluyong to Terminal 3 on this occassion though, it was taking a day. By the time we called at 8pm, he was still stuck somewhere along EDSA near Guadalupe inching his way towards us. Jesus, at the rate the traffic was going we'd probably get fetched by 11pm. So we made the rational decision to hail a cab instead.
On the sign, clear as daylight, indicates two options. Metered or non-metered. Being locals, the only logical option was getting the metered option. Everyone knows that fixed rate taxi's cost more. With our wallets almost empty of cash from the trip this simply wasn't an option anymore.
And here starts the nightmare that is Terminal 3...
Our friend walks up to the security guard to ask for a yellow metered taxi service only to find out that the only taxis availabe are the fixed rate coupon taxis. Out of desperation, he inquires how much. P850/$20 to get us from the airport to Mandaluyong. A fucking short distance. Must I remind you that this happened outside a DOMESTIC airport? Who the fuck can afford that? I'll tell you who, the people who have cars and drivers picking them up anyway. People like us. People like us who are intelligent enough to know when we are being ripped off right in front of our very eyes. People like us who are the minority in a city as crowded as Manila. Sad. I wondered how "Manang", seated beside me in the plane, would be able to get to her final destination. With piso flight and budget fares abound, P850 for a japanese car taxi doesn't make any fucking sense at all. Refusing the offer to get ripped off, we re-grouped to discuss an alternate plan.
While retrieving our bags from the conveyor, I remembered seeing a huge sign advertising a free shuttle service to get you to Resorts World from the airport. Since it was past dinner time already, I suggested we take the shuttle, kill time by having dinner in Resorts World while waiting for the driver to pick us up. Everyone though this was a good idea so we grabbed our bags and tried to hitch a ride with the free shuttle.
"No, you cannot ride!"
Oops, wrong shuttle, I guess. How the fuck were we, this white guy in the photo + everyone else supposed to know? The freaking shuttle in the freaking airport says freaking Resorts World on it! Letting it go, we asked for more directions towards the REAL free shuttle service. Again, lugging our bags that were getting heavier by the minute, we trudged towards the other end of the terminal in hopes of finally being able to hitch a ride.
No luck. We missed the shuttle by 20 minutes, the next one will be arriving in 40 minutes. One shuttle.Per hour. It takes one shuttle a whole fucking hour to cross the street from the airport to Resorts World and back. Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised. That's probably an accurate description of the traffic situation lately.
With Plan B foiled, we decided to call the driver again to check on his whereabouts. Magallanes. Still bumper to bumper traffic.
We were tired, hungry and dirty. All we wanted was a ride home. How difficult could it be?
Plan C: Head back into the airport, grab a bite before trying our luck with the taxi service/driver once again.
The whole time this was happening, I was taking photos, documenting the experience, trying my best to be a diligent blogger. Despite all the inconveniences, we were still a pretty happy bunch, until we tried to make our re-entry.
With hopes still fairly high and smiles on our faces, I told the rest to go ahead a few paces and "check-in" so I could take a photo of everyone going through the ritual a second time.
This was when a gorilla of a man posing as an airport official decided to flex his power muscles and bully me.
From behind the X-Ray Machine, a booming voice started shouting, "Psst, HOY BAWAL YAN, TIGIL MO YAN, KUNIN MO YAN! (stop that, that's not allowed, grab it!)" with so much animosity that he instanly made me feel like an escaped convict. Not knowing what I did wrong, I was shocked. I was half expecting to be grabbed roughly and slapped with a pair of cuffs like they do most fellons on TV Patrol. In a country where 99% of government officials are corrupt, the occurrence of someone planting something on you or someone using you as a scapegoat for someone else isn't very far-fetched. I freaked out inside and relaxed a little bit when again, with the same level of animosity, he shouted at me once more, "BAWAL MAGKUHA NG LETRATO, BURAHIN MO YAN, AKIN NA YUNG CAMERA MO! (picture taking isn't allowed, erase that, give me your camera)" I gave him my camera, erased the photo, life goes on.
HOW THE FUCK WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT PHOTOS WEREN'T ALLOWED IN THAT AREA? THERE WAS NO FUCKING SIGN!
In an airport filled with tourists, armed with cameras, documenting their adventures, you'd think they'd make an effort to make visible signs stating where you can and cannot take photos(just like in any other country except ours). Granted, I was wrong, granted, photos really weren't allowed in that area, there are still a million other more pleasant, calm and professional ways to break the news to an unexpectant tourist that his photography skills aren't welcome there. If I was a foreigner I would probably grab a ticket and fly my ass away as fast as I could.
Airports are the first impression visiting people get from a country. They are the receptionists to the nation. They could at least be nice and hospitable. We pride ourselves on being one of the most hospitable people in the world. Lately, I am finding it harder and harder to find a fellow Filipino stranger eager to lend a hand with a ready smile without expecting some sort of tip in return. As far as I'm concerned, this hospitality/bayanihan belief now only holds true in the provinces. In the city, it's every man for himself.
After all the hullabaloo, we were finally able to make our way back in. With appetites gone and the driver still miles away, we decided to take our chances at the departure area. We were hoping to grab a metered taxi from departing passengers.
Since you can't get back inside once you exit the departure area, the three of us stayed inside, while our other friend went outside in a final effort to grab a cab home. After a few minutes, success. We receive a call from him telling us to grab our bags and head outside. He finally found us a cab ride home. On contract. At least this time, it would only cost us P500 instead of the initial P850 c/o the airport, downstairs.
"Only In The Philippines."
Points to ponder:
We live in an elitist country where basic conveniences are only offered on a silver platter to those who can afford it.
The failed airports are just one issue out of a million. Our country is plagued with problems but it's OUR country. It's our ONLY country and we love it depsite it's many flaws but we have to put our love into perspective.
I have read many unintelligible, onion skinned comments placed below almost every site I have found the "Expat Video" in.
Guys wake up. We are third world for a reason. Yes, I know you are trying to be patriotic but being patriotic doesn't mean letting the awful job politicians are doing to progress our country slide. Being patriotic doesn't mean accepting the poor standard of living presented to us. Being patriotic doesn't mean denying the truths that are presented to us day in, and day out on the news and in our surroundings.
Patriotism is loving your country for all the RIGHT reasons. The least we could do is swallow our pride, accept our flaws and try our best as a nation, as individuals to change the impression we have given these foreign visitors. "Mali ka na nga, mayabang ka pa, nakakahiya."
The truth is we live in a sad country but we are a happy people.
Feel free to share.