I came across a friend’s post on Facebook one day, and the title of the video link that he shared on his Wall caught my attention. It read like this:
“20 reasons why I dislike the Philippines”
At first I was like “I wonder what’s the big deal with this video” and “Meh. Probably just another hater“. I decided back then not to watch it. At that time, I had more important things on my mind to give this video any further attention. I was not going to let any more negativity fill my already weary mind. For me, the video was probably the rantings of a dissatisfied tourist who wanted his money back. What got me more curious was the Wall Posts from my friends who have already watched it. There were some who disagreed with what he said, and one who even wanted him banned from the country. Some just shared the link as is with no comment, and some agreed that it was the truth.
A few days after, I said to myself, “All right, let’s see what the fuss is all about.“
Watching the video was like watching a scene from an old Sunday afternoon travel show. The narrator of the video was a foreigner probably in his thirties, and he was talking about his experiences in the Philippines, and that no matter how good most of it was, there were simply a few things that he really disliked. As to be expected from a disgruntled man of his age, there were quite a few expletives casually thrown around in some of his sentences, mostly about how something was… really, REALLY annoying.
Now then, when I clicked on the link that day to watch the video, I was half expecting myself to be on the defensive, trying to bring down any negative argument that this man might present. I could easily picture myself saying “You’re wrong, man. It’s more FUN in the Philippines”. Amusingly though, most of the stuff that I heard him describe were some of the things that I also found… annoying, to say the least. The public comfort rooms that don’t make you think of the word “comfort”, security guards who make you feel less secure when they’re either sleeping on the job, or giggling all day. Asking for alms as reward for helping you when you’re backing your car out of a parking space. The excessive use of plastic. The complex obsession with having a white complexion. And then there was how almost every beautiful girl according to him was a “Lady Boy“. I couldn’t help but chuckle upon hearing that part; it was the first time that I heard such a term. I couldn’t remember the rest, but the ones I’ve written down were some of the things that stayed in my mind after the video finished playing.
Of course, I couldn’t entirely rely on what he said. Though some of it were annoyingly true, it was not absolutely applicable to all. The things that he mentioned were just based on his 3-year stay in one city, which definitely does not speak for the whole country. After watching, probably the one thing I couldn’t agree with was when he said the food was bad. He can say all that he wants about every other annoyance this country is famous for; I still love the food here. However, though not an accurate presentation of what’s wrong in a country, the issues he raised serve as a reminder that they do exist. Most of us see these things on a daily basis, but choose to ignore it. Perhaps it’s because we’ve learned that it’s pointless to complain, or that we’re also taking part in making it worse. It’s funny how we suddenly get riled up when we hear someone else complain about the things that we once complained about, but constantly ignore. It’s as if we’re taking the comments as personal attacks, and we’re suddenly compelled to go on lengthy debates to counter every negative argument given.
In the end, what I find most amusing is that despite all the things that he finds annoying with where he is living, he hasn’t yet thought of leaving. Perhaps it’s because until that day comes, the reasons why he likes it here far outweigh the twenty that he said in his video.
(Note: As of this writing, the video link is no longer available, and has been supposedly removed by the user.)