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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Random Philippines

Updated: May 30

  1. First of all, traffic is crazy:

But, I will add it only seems crazy to those of us in the western world who are accustomed to more formal rules, like stop signs. To them this is perfectly normal.

The above video and photo were not taken at rush hours. It gets a lot more congested than you see there. But this is their style of driving. They are perfectly comfortable with it and there is a logic to it.

It's the law of the jungle with the exception it is with courtesy. Basically, the first person in line goes next. You are continually merging but allowing the first person to the spot the right of way. Including pedestrians. Pedestrians have no special privileges even at crosswalks. It's simply first come, first pass.

Another thing I learned is critical when driving is that you show intent. I mean, let others know what you are going to do. With people passing you on both sides you must signal your intended turns, either by blinker or hand. I made the mistake once of not signaling and nearly caused an accident. But they are quite forgiving people, no harsh words or middle finger waves. Just a short toot of the horn.

2. Massages are ubiquitous

They love their massages and they are everywhere. You not only walk by their shops in town, but they set up impromptu shops in the open areas of the town as a temporary service when people are out and about, usually the evening.

Not only that, but if their is a captive audience, like at a pier terminal or the airport, expect to see a massage service there. And they can be incredibly cheap by our standards. It can be as little as $2 for a half hour massage.

But one thing I've learned to be careful getting these massages is to request that they do not use any oil. Some of the cheap oils they use in massages can cause contact dermatitis. I know one time years ago I got a bad case of hives from the cheap oil that they used. For a simple foot massage or head of neck massage there's really no need to use oils anyway.

3. You better like rice!

Rice is served at every meal. Including breakfast. Actually, you see the portions in the pictures below are quite modest. When I see some of the locals eat rice, they eat a lot of it. Usually just heaping huge spoonfuls on their plate so the plate is more than half full of rice.

The locals cannot live without rice. They grew up on it as part of their staple, and they will eat it every day at every meal.

I am not really a huge rice eater, but I did get used to having garlic rice at most of my meals.

4. Christmas is big

They really celebrate Christmas time here. Seems like they celebrate it even year-round. I think it is a result of the large Christian influence here. Especially the Catholic religion, which was brought here by the Spanish.

You will begin to see Christmas stuff come out at the beginning of September. And often they don't even take it down year-round.

Especially the malls are festive anytime it is close to Christmas time. I'm really not sure how much Christmas is commercialized in the Philippines, because there's really not that much money in the country. But I do know that it is highly celebrated.

That's just some random observations of the country that I can offer you from my perspective. My perspective is no more useful than anybody else's, it's just simply mine. Others may tell a different story of the country.

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