Monday, February 12, 2007

Final Thoughts on my Vacation

I've pretty much posted the highlights of my Philippine vacation. Now for some random thoughts about my trip:

1) The Philippines is still obsessed with looking white (i.e. skin whiteners). Here's some billboards I saw in Manila :

Is this colonial mentality or what? Although I have to point out that I only saw these ads in Manila, not in any other city I visited. So I don't know if I can attribute this "wanting to look like a white person" phenomenon to the entire Philippines.

2) Discrimination is still rampant. Here's an example of a typical job ad from a Baguio newspaper with height, age, and of course, the "pleasing personality" requirement:

Do you really need an age or height requirement when working the front desk? C'mon, just have them sit or stand on a couple of books if they're short. :D Meanwhile, at this Manila establishment, they don't mince words:

What's an unattractive person to do? hehe. Can you imagine being rejected for this job? "Miss, you've got all the qualifications, but unfortunately.... well, you're not easy on the eyes." hahaha. Well, at least the restaurant didn't require the waitress to have a "pleasing personality." :D

3) Fireworks....annoying fireworks. I became annoyed at all the people setting firecrackers near our house in Baguio and leaving their trash everywhere.

I suppose this graphic poster of severed fingers they had posted at the sari-sari stores wasn't enough to deter the revelers from playing with fireworks:

I'm not trying to be KJ, as they say in the Philippines, but some of these fireworks ARE illegal and dangerous. I did see a headline the next day that there were 600 fireworks-related injuries. So much for that graphic poster.

4) Nothing beats relaxing around a bonfire with a few drinks. Here's one where I drank hard liquor around a bonfire, but didn't get drunk. The liquor was only 65 proof. :D
We had to move the hard liquor b/c it was a little too close to the fire. ;)

6) The export of human labor continues. Yet another relative has left to work overseas as a nurse. I have another relative studying nursing. I think she already has a degree in another field. Is the Philippines always going to be an exporter of human labor? Will there ever be a time when people will consider the Philippines as the one with "greener pastures"?

7) Tough jobs....there's a lot of them in the Philippines. Some of these tough jobs include vendors (whether it's chicharon or peanuts or sweets,etc.) on buses or those prawn vendors along the highway who advertise their product by holding up the prawn as you whiz by them on the highway. Other jobs are unofficial. For example, kids will flag taxis for you but expect some sort of tip. Probably one of the toughest jobs I saw was the restroom or comfort room (CR) attendees at bus stops who collect 1 or 2 pesos from riders who use the bathroom. If I had that job, I wouldn't even touch the coins. I'd just tell them to put it in a box or something. And if they ask for change, I would just let them use the CR for free. ;)

Well, I guess that's all I have to say about my trip. Looks like I can get rid of this sim card I bought in Manila... won't be needing it anymore:
I had a blast. As Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz once said, "There's no place like home." Too bad I won't be back for a while. Yan ang buhay ng Fil-Am .... or Amboy, as someone once called me. ;)

Technorati tags: Baguio, Philippines, skin whitener, discrimination, firecrackers


vernaloo said...

*sniff* balik na si Will...*sniff* di man lang nag treat hehe

Anyway re the qualifications for front desk staff...I think this is a standard thing. They really need those with good height.

Re Filipinos wanting to be white or whiter hehe yeah..pag maitim gusto magpaputi, kung maputi gusto magpa tan..hayyy never naging kuntento sa buhay.

So have a safe trip Wil. Glad to hear you had a blast :)

vic said...

I think one good lawsuit and an enormous punitive rewards against discrimination will somehow minimize this still going on affont to human dignity. Can you imagine police forces requiring height for its forces? No chinese, filipinos or any nationalities could qualify for the job.

We are still hiring emloyees at their 70s and as young as 18s and to ask their ages, before or in ads is in violation of their rights. and we are wondering why we are not progressing as a society?

Wil said...

verns, hahaha. sige, treat kita next time. ;)

kailangan talaga ng height requirement para front desk? how high is the desk ba? Employers should lower the desk naman. hahaha

vic, someone told me that discrimination is illegal in the Philippines, but enforcement is, well, another issue. I'm not a Philippine legal expert, but it seems the Philippines has a lot of good laws, but enforcing them supposedly doesn't take place as often as they should.

Anonymous said...

Age and height requirement is totally discriminatory!

65% lang ba? Kulang nga ! he he..

Toe said...

They're obsessed about being white here in Cambodia too and I think in Thailand as well. Great reflections Wil. You summed up pretty much what a balikbayan would observe in our country.

That No. 2 is so funny... what's an unattractive person to do? Haha!

I don't like fireworks either.

Hey, you could have given me your sim card for my vacation. :)

vernaloo said...

promise ha hehehehe

Anyway yeah it is...I worked in a hotel before and they need someone who stand 5'4" at least. If you want to go abroad and work in a hotel..same thing but this time the height requirement is 5'5" up already.

vic said...


I met many female Police officer here shorter than me, and believe me, i'm not that much taller than Bibs 5'2" stature, but they are as Giants in their jobs as anyone. Fly Air Canada, and you'll see flight attendants older than our mothers, and they can serve the passengers as well as any twenty something or better.

These age requirements and appearance and physical attributes just re-inforced the sickness in our society that still can't accept that everyone is not created pretty or tall or stay young forever. Is is discrimination in whatever guise.

Wil said...

bw, GSM blue kasi iyan e. Kung talagang mag inom kami, mag Emperador. Grabe yun! 80 proof yata. hehe

Toe, ay, salamat sa compliment. :D

Ganun din sa Thailand at Cambodia? Bakit kaya? Ok naman kung moreno o morena, di ba?

verns, i say what I mean and mean what I say. :D

ganyan sa hotel? opinion ko na discrimination yan. :(

vic, oops, para kay verns yata ang comment mo. pero agree ako sa point mo. :)

Ellaine said...

Hehe I hate fireworks too. I almost shot my neighbor for setting firecrackers at 10 in the morning, disturbing my slumber.

Regarding discrimination, there are actually some companies here in the Philippines who are actively practicing equal opportunity employment. Well, most of these companies are call centers/bpo firms, so I am not sure if they are just desperate. =)

midnight rainbow said...

Hi, just came across your blog.
Funny, I've tried almost all the skin whiteners in the market - not because I wanted to look fair and mestiza - but to even out dark spots and scars. Then I realized that a good tan is what I needed. Hahaha!

What you said about the export of human labor is quite unfortunate and true. Unless the government does something about health care delivery and infrastructure, Pinoy MDs and RNs will leave and seek better opportunities for themselves and their families. It's not brain drain anymore - it's brain hemorrhage. :(

vernaloo said...

Wil and Vic

waaaaaaa! hrhrhrhr all I'm saying is that sa hotel yun palagi ang requirements. I'm just stating a fact. Uy I'm not questioning your opinions ha :)

Wil said...

ellaine, the problem with our house in baguio is that it's right next to a basketball court so people set off fireworks there because, I guess, it's an open area for those rockets. Arrgh!

Anyway, glad to hear about the equal opportunity thing, also. It's gotta start somewhere. :)

midnight rainbow, LOL about the tan comment. anyway glad to hear a comment from someone in the medical profession regarding the export of human labor. I don't see an end to it either. what can one do?

verns, ay, I only meant that I don't agree with what the hotel is doing. I'm not saying you're questioning my opinion. misunderstanding lang. ;)

Ellaine said...

My house is right in front of a basketball court too. Argh.

vernaloo said...

yup...:) :) :)

niceheart said...

Very interesting observations Wil.

On number 1. Filipinos are obsessesed on looking white. On the other hand, Caucasians are obsessed on looking tan. :) Of course I'm only generalizing.

On number 2. First thing I noticed when applying for jobs here in Canada is how they don't ask you about your age, height, religion, nationality, etc. You'll find all of these questions on resumes back home.

On number 7. I was surprised when my husband told me that you have to pay to use the CR when he went home five years ago. Last time I was there was 17 years ago and I didn't have to pay.

Wil said...

ellaine, what a coincidence. I think we should request our respective barangays to move the basketball court. :D

verns, :) :) :) :-D

niceheart, it was only at the bus stops that I had to pay to use the CR. It was either 1 or 2 pesos, depending on what you did. Well, the numbers pretty much correspond to what you did in the CR. hehe

as far as the age, height requirements, the Philippines is so backwards on this issue. I don't really know what else to say about it.

vic said...

mahal na verns,
your facts is well taken, we know it is still going on and may well go on if we don't collectively do something about it. make noise. we experiences worst, and I know wil will somehow agree with me, but we don't shrink and accept them as norms, we made noise, we wrote our MPs, we marched, until finally everyone agree that discrimination has no place in a any society. You can start it without even knowing it. Just don't accept the status quo, protest it in every way, it will have a riffle effects and it may take a little while, but is will come... thanks. we are all on it together...and smile..

Ferdz said...

I guess ganun talaga. Fair, white smooth skin and height. Pasok ka na sa trabaho. haha.

Pero pansin ko yung ibang bansa naman pilit na nagpapa tan tulad ng kulay natin. Hehehe

Bill Bilig said...

Hi Wil,
The really sad thing about this is that we, those of us living in the Philippines, have pretty much accepted these things as normal. Hay buhay...

snglguy said...

Well now you know why so many Pinoy bloggers are ranting these days, haha. :-D

Wil said...

vic, true, the status quo can't remain. something has to be done, no matter how small.

Ferdz, dito nga sa states, mahilig sila mag-tan. kaya tuloy marami nag-skin cancer. At least hindi nag cancer kung skin whitener, di ba? baka allergic reaction lang. hehe

Bill, well, as I replied to vic, things have to change. Government (whether local or national) has to do something. That is what they're there for, right?

single, true. pinoy bloggers like schumey, yourself, vegas filam, etc. have been blogging about these issues. It's good to draw attention to these matters.

tutubi said...

another rant of a balikbayan :(

sad but true. hate those skin whitener ads insulting our intelligence. they get models who are naturally fair skinned :(

Wil said...

tutubi, rant? gosh, I hope not. But if there's something to rant about, it would definitely be on issues like skin whitener, discrimination, etc. If I sound like I'm ranting on my posts, well, pasensya na lang. Can't help it sometimes. ;) Thanks for dropping by. :)

vlado&toni said...

hi there, i found your link through chateau's blog. i find your blog interesting especially your posts about your last trip to the philippines. i find them insightful, witty, some funny and some sad. oh well.that's life in the philippines or wherever it is ....
i'm from baguio too.

Wil said...

toni, thanks for the compliment. :-) I appreciate it.

Former Baguio-native ka rin ha? Dame natin all over the world, ano? :-D Sayang we seldom see our hometown. I guess that's why you said some of my posts are sad.

Thanks for dropping by. :-)