People always talk about Vietnam and inflation, but the real war zones are China and the Philippines.
In the Phils, they jack up their prices and smile at You. They think You made of money. The Chinese, on the other hand, rip You off without joy.
I last looked into wages in the Phils about a year and a half ago. I ain’t got the numbers on hand, but prices seem way more out of line versus wages than in China. Money send back from abroad has got to be the X factor.
Sometimes, though, You stumble into this other economy where the prices are almost in line with Vietnam. San Nicolás Public Market in Ángeles comes to mind. This could be shopping grounds for people with no cash coming in from across the seas.
Having touched down on Luzon, Mindanao, Cebu, Negros and Panay, I sense the Phils ain’t a place to haggle. You take it or You leave it. And people don’t trifle with small profits. I respect that, but it’s probably a big part of why the Phils lacks the buzz of Vietnam or even Bangkok.
Another tricky element is that Pinoys tend to get offended or just pull away when they sense anger in You. Thais, for instance, respond badly when You bare your anger, but You cool with them so long as You hold it inside. With the Chinese, Vietnamese, and Latinos in general, it’s all right to escalate to some degree.
Pinoys, I must admit, have a much warmer society than most. The “freeness of the love” has got its perks too, esp. since both sexes get the same deal.
One face of Filipino society I may never come to grips with is people telling little lies to head off conflict or hassle. This goes on all the time. How do people deal with this? I would much like to know.
Now the average Pinoy don’t speak English as well as some may expect. I find I get understood better speaking a syllable-timed style of English with less assimilations, something along the lines of Chicano English.
Next up, Zamboanga. We’ll see if Spanish is plug and play. In the longer run, I’ve got it in mind to learn Tagalog and Iloko, bit by bit. Playing dumb could be fun, though, to hear what people say about me.
As I cultivate my Pinoy self, I stay conscious of remaining, in some way and to some degree, the man I was at other ports of call. In this way I, or we, become something bigger than what we were. What do You think, though? What are your adaptations to Pinoy society?