Friday, June 12, 2015

A couple random thoughts on the Philippines

I grew up in the US and as such I'm used to seeing lots of white folks around. I'm also not used to standing out in a crowd. Even in Argentina I didn't stand out, theres so much european influence there that big blond guys are common. Here in Makati City I'm an aberration, I stand out not only because of my whiteness but also my size. Actually the size thing isn't the big deal I expected it to be. Filipino men range in size up to guys bigger than me. As I've mentioned before the US owned the Philippines for a little while and I get the feeling there are many people here carrying American genes around. Still on average I'm extra large and I did notice that I got more attention and maybe even scrutiny than other people.

Walking around as a tourist I'm always on my guard, you never know whos going to target you. The thing I noticed today was that people seeing me also went on their guard and it quickly became apparent that they're maybe a little scared of me. I went into a couple malls and noticed that while the guards only gave most people a quick once over I got looked at thoroughly, nobody ever gave me any trouble but I was definitely inspected. The malls all have guards at the door which is mostly a perfunctory check. It got me wondering though, big white guy probably screams "American" although in the west I usually get picked out as a Canadian. Maybe when they label me as American they automatically think gun toting nut?

The other thing I noticed was that I'm not alone, I did see a fair number of white folks, mostly men. Interestingly I saw zero black people. The white guys I saw were almost always accompanied by a filipino woman with a baby stroller. I'd expected some kind of white guy fraternity where you'd see another guy and maybe nod. Riding a motorcycle back home just about everybody gives a little wave to the other bikers, theres even a brotherhood of sorts of old Mercedes owners, but here the white guys immediately look away.

Then it struck me, they're embarrassed, they're embarrassed because they've got a mail order bride. I know the idea of the mail order bride has reached legendary status but I know a guy who has one, she's even filipino. The deal is to take one of the women out of the country the guy has to make a couple trips over here and invest a fairly substantial amount of time. So these guys I'm seeing are over here putting in their time before they can take home their bride. The guy I know even got stuck with a kid that wasn't his. In talking to other folks it seems like everybody has a story of a friend who got a filipino  bride and got stuck with a kid that wasn't his.

If I were over here putting in time before I could take my filipino mail order bride and her bastard kid home I'd look away too...

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