What a gorgeous – and I mean GORGEOUS – day here in the Philippines. The “cold” and dreary weather has finally moved out, and the sunny skies are back. And I think today maxed out at about 84 degrees with very little humidity. Absolutely stunning.
We made the most of it and headed down to Dauin. One of our subscribers was itching to try out his new snorkeling gear, so we invited him and his better half down to our weekly potluck picnic at Dauin’s marine sanctuary. No better place than to try out newly acquired snorkeling gear than that!
It was a pretty heavy turnout and I said my hello’s and dug in to the chow: lechon manock, fried chicken, pancit, and some absolutely scrumptious shrimp. Good stuff.
Before we headed out on an (unsuccessful) turtle “hunt,” I was introduced to Robert, a Canandian who had been in the Philippines for a few weeks. We were sitting down, and he continued telling a story of something that happened to him shortly after arriving.
Now, let me preface this by saying that you will sometimes hear foreigners loudly complaining that Filipinos will regularly try to rip you off. This is usually followed by complaints about being “a walking ATM machine” and that Filipinos must think foreigners have money trees growing in their back yards.
Now let’s get to Roberts story:
Robert and four other friends had flagged over a tricycle for a ride down to eat at Hayahay restaurant in Dumaguete. He had some gear with him, and since the trike was full, the elderly driver placed one of the bags on the back rack. After a slow ride – the driver was around 80, according to Robert – they arrived at the restaurant, piled out and headed in to eat dinner. What they didn’t realize was that the bag of gear – cameras and other gadgets worth over $1,000.00 – had been left behind on the trike.
Some time later, the old Pinoy comes up and bangs on the restaurant window. Getting Robert’s attention, he tells him, “Sir, you left your bag on my tricycle.” A much relieved Canadian then collected his property and thanked the gracious driver.
Pretty cool, huh? A guy who doesn’t make a whole lot of money going out of his way to come back and return a customer’s goods. Actually, that $1,000.00 is probably over three months pay as a tricycle jockey. Put’s things into perspective, no?
Robert asked why a fiscally-challenged Filipino would go out of his way to right a wrong. Having just finished our videos and articles in amor propio and hiya, I was eager for this one and chimed, “It was amor propio – he would have felt hiya for violating his sense of integrity and honor.”
A little discussion on the topic then ensued, with me pretending I actually knew what I was talking about, and after talking it over, everyone kind of just nodded their heads.
And then we started talking football.
I have had more than a few occasions where I have overpaid at checkouts and the cashier has politely returned my over payment to her. Other then having our scooter stolen (and then returned – maybe their hiya caught up with them) and a few semi-shady dudes selling beat-up trucks or motorcycles, I have had nothing but positive experiences with Filipinos. Expats on the other hand… ah, but that’s a story for another time.
Now, don’t get me wrong – there are many millions of poor Filipinos in the Philippines. Poverty breeds desperation, and the country is replete with tales of petty crime and opportunistic theft. Pickpockets? Oh, yeah. Burglars? A bunch. Armed robberies and assaults? Sure. Flim-flam artists, scammers and hustlers – yep, yep and yep. With that said though, we have to remember that many folks still hold to the moral code, despite their desperate circumstances. Honor, integrity, honesty and trustworthiness. All a part of amor propio – one’s love of self – and something that sometimes seems to be an endangered species not just in the Philippines but around the world.
What have been your experiences in the Philippines? Are you retired, working, or on a pension here? Have any similar scenarios happened to you?
++Thinking of retiring to a balmy, tropical island with your small pension? Do you telecommute to work and thinking of doing some traveling? Check out the good and the bad of making such a move over here at myphilippines.com!++