Which is better, the Philippines or the USA? I’m not talking about the usual points of comparison like weather or cost of living. Today I’m discussing the slightly less obvious differences.
Let’s start by discussing the everyday shopping experience. Both countries have Ace Hardware stores, so perhaps that’s a good starting reference point. In the USA, when I enter the store I begin to wander, looking up at the signs above each aisle, searching for an item. Eventually I find what I need, make a mental note of the price, and take it to the cash register. In the Philippines, when I enter the store, I pass a security guard which smiles and says good morning. Several floor attendants also say good morning and I ask one where I may find the item I wish to purchase. They lead me to my item, tell me the price, and if heavy, take it to the cashier for me. So far, I’m thinking the Philippine shopping experience has been more pleasant. Now it’s time to part with my cash. In the Philippines the price I see on the item is what I pay. In the USA, the price on the item is less than the price actually paid. You see, in the Philippines the price on the item includes the tax. In the USA, the tax is added at the register, and that varies by location (city/state). I strongly prefer the Philippine system.
Let’s face it. All major cities have bad traffic. The USA has technology controlling and monitoring intersections, and a sizable amount of police in cars enforcing the rules of the road. The Philippines is the complete opposite. It lacks traffic signals and there doesn’t seem to be many police cars enforcing rules. So far, my vote for best driving experience goes to the USA, but let’s delve deeper. Suppose you are stuck in traffic. In the USA you pick a lane and hope for the best. The cars in front of you are neatly lined up in straight rows. In the Philippines, larger vehicles more or less line up. Smaller vehicles are free to roam wherever they see the tiniest bit of space. They are even allowed to cut in front of the larger vehicles. If they tried this in a USA city, they would be risking their safety in more ways than one. Road rage is a real thing in the USA. In my experience, there is no road rage in the Philippines. What Americans consider extremely rude driving behavior is perfectly acceptable in the Philippines. So which country has the best private driving experience? I would say that depends on the vehicle. If you drive a sedan or larger, the USA is the better experience. Anything smaller, and the Philippines wins.
Where are the nursing homes or elderly care facilities in the Philippines? I have never noticed one in Cebu or Dumaguete. Do old people stay completely healthy until they suddenly drop dead in the Phils? In the USA, if you drive around a city you will undoubtedly see signs for various forms of elderly care facilities. Perhaps putting an elderly person in a facility is more or less unthinkable for Filipino families. My assumption is that there are so many unemployed or underemployed people in the Philippines that it is easier for families to give care to the elderly at home. Perhaps a lack of Philippine government funding/subsidies for elderly care is also a factor. The USA has government funding (medicare/medicaid) to help cover the costs. I cant decide which country has a better system for handling the care of the elderly. Call it a tie.
In my province, many families appear to sleep in the same room. An American family is unlikely to sleep together. Children may share rooms, but generally even low income parents have their own bedroom for privacy. In my admittedly limited experience, my impression is that average American homes also have more space inside and outside than a average Filipino home. Additionally, American’s seem to have fewer people living in an average home. The privacy that Americans value and take for granted is not as easily attained by their Filipino counterparts. A majority of Americans can comfortably travel to work alone in their own car, listening to whatever they desire on the sound system. The average Filipino does not own a car, and therefore has no choice but to use some form of public transportation, or drive a scooter/motorcycle. On the other hand, if a Filipino is fortunate enough to own a car from a dealer such as Toyota, their driving experience offers more privacy than anywhere on the planet. This is because nobody outside of the vehicle can see inside due to the standard intense tinting of windows. (I find this tinting foolish as it hinders night visibility.) When it comes to privacy, the USA is my preference.
It would appear this article hasn’t really determined an overall winner yet. Sometimes the Philippines does life better, and sometimes the USA gets the nod. Maybe when I’ve been in the Philippines longer, I’ll have additional items to compare and contrast. Keep an eye out for ‘Philippines vs USA – Part 2’.