In the first part of this groundbreaking (yawn….) two-part series, I talked about my visit to Flip Flops restobar and the epiphany I had regarding old age and partying (living life) like it’s 1999. Like I said in that post, one of the things I really enjoy about living in the Philippines is the opportunity to learn things about myself and – hopefully – become a better man. At 47, I am just beginning to realize that it is a much longer process that I had previously believed.
One of the reasons I did these two blog posts (and videos) was because of some of the negative reaction that I had gotten in the Halloween video, which (briefly) showed a few of the guys with either unbuttoned shirts or shirts missing completely. A bunch of “thumbs downs” ensued as did a number of pretty nasty comments. I rarely take comments down as I believe that all sides of an issue have to be examined in order for folks to have a more objective take on things. But in this case, they were just nasty and didn’t contribute to the discussion at all.
Fellas, the Philippines is a libertarian dreamscape. As long as you are not hurting anyone else, you can pretty do whatever you want to do. Don’t want to wear a helmet? No problem. Hate wearing shoes? Walk around barefoot. Wanna turn your back on 39 years working for NASA and start a pig farm? Have at it! The Philippines has laws – many laws – but they are not that well enforced and unless you are actively stabbing someone to death in the street, everyone is pretty much going to leave you alone. The Republic also attracts a certain types of people; folks who have pretty much spurned convention and conformity and are basically living to the beat of their own drum. Some might call them loners, others might call them rugged individualists, a few might even call them just the wee bit slightest misanthropic at times. Whatever you call them, know this: They don’t really care what other people think about them. They’re doing their thing, they are living their lives and they are comfortable enough in their own skins not to worry much about ruffling someone’s high faultin sensibilities. If you’ve seen the video we did on Alaska Al – and I know a lot of you did because it’s one of our most viewed videos (see it here) – you’ll see the epitome of what I am talking about: A guy who basically rangered the wilds of Alaska as a trapper and guide during the early days of the Alaskan frontier and one that is now living out his winter years in a home and farm that he built with his own hands, surrounded by the people he loves.
I envy these guys. I am entirely too self-conscious and make too much over what other’s think of me. But if I am ever going to truly fit into the great metaphysical puzzle that is the Philippines, I’m going to have to figure out how to do it. Maybe that wisdom will come with age – or maybe they’ll have a promo on it down at Lee Plaza next week. Whatever and whenever it arrives, I’ll be most pleased when it does.