Today we have a guest post from Jay Stainback. Jay has a top ten list to share with us, the top ten things he loves about visiting the Philippines. Sounds like a winner to me! Welcome to LiP, Jay! Hope to see you here often! MindanaoBob
I have visited the Philippines 4 times the 1st time for 1 week, the 2nd time for 2 weeks, the 3rd time for 3 weeks and the 4th for 4 weeks. My wife is from de la Paz, Cortes, Bohol, Philippines and she of course is what I love most about the Philippines. She married me on December 7, 2002, a date I will always remember. At the age of 28, she wore a white dress and it was justified. I wore a black suit and it was also justified. She is always with me now wherever I go so I am not including her on my list that follows:
10. Shopping: I hate shopping in the US, but in the Philippines it is a wonderful experience. When you shop in a store there is always a store employee easily identified by their store uniform nearby to help the valued customer. In the US if you need help finding something forget about it. It ain’t happening. The few employees on the job are working the register.
9. Uniforms: I love seeing all the uniforms. From the security guards at the stores, banks and restaurants to the sales ladies in the stories and the students the feeling of organization and sense of community. Sometimes my wife notices me noticing the school girl or saleslady in uniform and says I have “snappy eyes”. There is something about a woman in a uniform that I find very attractive.
8. Manners: People in the Philippines seem more civil than in the US. I was born in the South in 1965 and I have noticed the decline of civility during my life. In the Philippines you hear “Yes sir” and “Yes Maám” the people respect their elders and use titles with names. When a young person takes my hand and places it to his or her forehead I feel honored and respected. I like the respect and I like returning that respect to my elders. The word “Salamat” is also common.
7. Pandesal: I am a morning person. I love to wake up early before it gets hot and eat pandesal bread with coffee. The bread is even better when you put on some:
6. Rice: My wife recently started serving Uncle Ben’s rice because it is healthier and if this continues, I might drop this off my list, but I don’t know if they sell healthy rice in the Philippines. Rice must be the perfect type of starch. It mixes easily with any food. I have learned to love Filipino-style rice. Rice is served breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you don’t like it, learn to love it because rice = life.
5. Jeepneys: Riding on the jeepney you meet all kinds of people who you might not otherwise meet. It is something about the way you sit facing and close to others that quickly creates a level of intimacy with strangers. I personally love this although I realize others may feel differently. I also like the way the money is passed to the driver and change is passed back. Rarely in my experience does the driver try to keep the change.
4. Karaoke: I love to sing karaoke and to hear others sing and to dance and generally act the fool as the saying goes. We have a “Magic Sing” in Raleigh, but we hardly use it anymore, because I am always working or tired from work. When in the barangay in the Philippines I love Karaoke with family or at one of the neighbors.
3. Family: My mother passed away two weeks after our eldest son was born he is now 8 years old. My wife’s mom said I could call her “Mama” and I do. When we visit Mama’ s house there is always lots of family. Her little house is full of family when we are there. In the morning when I usually wake before everyone else I have to walk very carefully to avoid stepping on family.
2. Faith: Going to church is a wonderful experience in the Philippines. The churches are open air with fans so it is best to go to an early mass. Birds will fly through occasionally a dog may wander in and be ignored. Grace is said before every meal and when shopping all remains reverent, motionless and silent while prayers will be read over the PA system at certain times of the day.
1. Work: Of course I mean the complete absence of any work. Not only am I not working my two full time jobs like I do in the US, but there is plenty of family around to do all the little things I would otherwise have to do. I am free to spend time with my wife and kids or if I want with just my wife because the extended family can look after our kids. If I want to spend time by myself that can also be arranged by having the family look after the kids while my wife shops. I can take a siesta if I like and most days I like.
This is my top ten things I like about visiting the Philippines. I realize that if/when I move there permanently things might be different, but that is a bridge I will not cross for awhile. I welcome any comments, additions and suggestions.