1 Feb 2019
Ive been to Philippines 15 times over the last 25 yrs or so,sometimes staying for up to 5 months,the longest time due to a health issue,which I won’t go into much detail,but had to do with misdiagnosed blood clots in my leg.
Not only was it misdiagnosed,but once it was diagnosed properly,I was given the wrong medication,a month into treatment,and I had to start the entire regimen of injecting myself with a clot buster(Klexane)all over again.
To make a really long story less so,I ended up in several different hospitals,sort of a comedy of errors,where nobody knows nothin’.This is probably one of the most frustrating things of travelling there,trying to get really simple answers to really simple questions.
Only if you have spent time in Philippines will you know what I’m talking about.Beware that you could be 1 block away from Mcdonalds,ask 10 people where it is,and get that blank stare,and ”I don’t know”as a reply.It can be an incredibly frustrating place,so the lesson here is to stay cool,and not show your irritation,filipinos do not respond well to criticism or anger…..
I have had a few more bad experiences there,my bag was opened somewhere after we checked our luggage at the Tacloban airport,and a fairly inexpensive camera was stolen.
Once in Manila,after my tricycle taxi pulled up in front of my hotel in Malate,Iwas swarmed by street kids,some of whom diverted my attention in front,while others in the rear unzipped my bag and made off with a smaller bag which contained phone chargers,electric razor etc.Luckily not much of value,but a big lesson in awareness.
Lastly,I mentioned the anger thing….my wife,her brother and I had just gotten off a bus somewhere in Manila.We literally had all our posessions with us,clothes, cookware,electronics, mattresses…we had a huge pile of stuff at one of these bus stops,and if you’ve been there you know that you get inundated with “porters”trying to help you…
well it was really hot,humid,crowded, loud,and the air pollution terrible,and I wasn’t having the “Hey Joe,gonna help you with your bags”business.This one guy started grabbing and moving our stuff,and perhaps his intentions were good,I told him politely the first time not to touch,as usual, in filipino fashion,he keeps on grabbing,so the second time I wasn’t so polite,and raised my voice a little.
He gets pissed off and runs over to his tricycle and pulls out a large iron bar,waving it over his head,screaming at me.For several seconds it was a very tense situation,he stayed back,screaming,I stayed away from him,and the situation slowly diffused.
My filipina wife was upset,mostly with me,for raising my voice initially….something you don’t want to do over there! So I guess one of the big dangers and annoyances are cultural differences, so beware,have a great trip !!!