Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Little Things

Written in: Poblacion, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, PHILIPPINES
Composition: Impromptu
Previous Post: Arrival in Bulacan



When I was planning and dreaming of my Philippine trip, I prepared myself mentally by asking my Ate Mireille, and everyone I met who had gone back recently, everything that might come as a culture shock.

I had been gone ten years after all. A lot can change in that time.

From their stories, I learned to expect the traffic, the congestion, the pollution, the population density, the economy, the crime, and the weather.

That it gets really hot and humid, even in December, did not take much adjustment. I spent my first 15 years of life here, so I have no excuse to complain about this fact.

That my Canadian earned dollars could go a long way, may have been somewhat a pleasant surprise, yet this was still no big revelation.

That when I go for a walk, no matter what the time, the town centre's streets would always be abuzz with people was expected.

That a trip that would take me an hour in Calgary, means twice, even thrice, that amount in Metro Manila and sorrounding areas was readily accepted by me.

That when I read the news, there would be as many people murdered in a day, as there would be in a year in Canada, was met in my part with near indifference.

That social services and other things I took for granted in Canada were missing, was accepted as an inevitability in a developing nation by myself.



No, the BIG differences did not faze me at all. I learned to expect all these even before setting foot in Philippine soil. Mentally I was prepared. As well, it was here where I was born and it was here where spent the first 15 years of my life. The major differences came almost as no surprise.


Instead, it was the little things that took some adjustment.

That in a convenience store, the coffee and donuts aren't self serve...

That in McDonald's they serve rice and spaghetti...

...and that after you finish your meal, you aren't expected to pick up after yourself...

That Diet Coke is called Coke Light...

That when cooked at home, fries are served with a dip consisting of one part ketchup and one part mayonnaise...

That almost all business establishments have armed guards...

That everyone, from children to senior citizens, and even the lowest wage earners such as mobile street vendors like magtatahos and magbabalots, have cellphones...

..and that everyone texts and texts aaaaaallll day long...

That the faces used for any advert for any product isn't just a model, but almost always a famous celebrity...

That anyone who happens to be Caucasian is called 'Kano (assumed to be American)...

That when people learn I'm from abroad people readily assume Sa isteyts (the United States)...

..or when I inform them I'm from Canada, and it turns out they have relatives in there, people would mention "ay, may kamag anak ako sa may [ilagay and lugar na pagka layo layo sa Calgary], kilala mo ba yon?"("Oh, I have a relative in [insert a place far and away from Calgary] , do you happen to know them?")

That cybercafes here are only used by three kinds of people: Gamers, those with family overseas, and those sad sad people desperately seeking a mate thru friendster...

That when newsmen describe executions and assassinations, they call it "salvaging"...

That when I go radio station surfing, almost every station would be playing sickening love ballads...

That it is considered that maputi = maganda (light coloured skin = beauty)...

...and that a large part of the cosmetic section of a pharmacy would have skin whitening products...

That there still are macho and misogynistic tendencies...




I could go on endlessly...

It is when I encounter these little things THAT I'm reminded...

...I'm in Philippines






Next Post:  Relishing Time

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home