The police presence was very heavy – I stopped counting at about 200 officers and there were plenty more from the National Police, City, SWAT, army and other venues. A multi-strand barbed wire barrier ensured that the protesters couldn’t take the bridge without significant injury – instead, they massed in at the corner of Lagarda Street and Recto Avenue, their thousands clogging the street.
May 1st is Labor Day – a time to rest from labor, celebrate the honor of work and an annual ritual to rally for worker’s right. In 2008, the focus is on an increase in pay “nationwide, across-the-board” of 125 pesos. This is in direct response to the large spike in two key commodities: rice and gas. Everything in the Philippines runs off these two basic inputs and the poorest in society are feeling the pinch. It has become so acute that there is talk that the President will be ousted from power and she’s taking an active, visible role in trying to address the problem
At the Mendiola Bridge in a run-down section of Manila the Kilusang May Uno (KMU) and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) groups staged a large, peaceful protest. As a tourist, I was interested in seeing direct democracy in action and the protests reminded me a lot of similar ones I’ve witnessed in San Francisco. Noticeably, the crowd was very age-diverse. Kids, parents and grandparents all marched, carried signs and chanted slogans.
processing is generally cumbersome and time-consuming so take it in ur stride and plan ahead so ur not in a rush
getting around is not too easy either by just asking around for directions. solution = keep on asking!! and keep your questions simple and thorough. anticipate every possible contingency that could've been avoided by someone telling/answering you what you hadn't specifically asked for
eg. international phone cards are only for certain landline networks and certain countries. make sure you check if your country is included and that the card you will be using is for the landline you will be calling from.
Hi, I'm a local so I know about this.
Generally, don't expect to find toilet paper in public toilets unless you're in a 4 or 5-star establishment like a hotel or a fancy restaurant. Most malls and public areas will NOT have toilet paper. The background behind this is that due to poverty, *some* Filipinos will take the entire roll of toilet paper and bring it home for their own use so public toilets simply stopped supplying toilet paper. Another reason is that *some* Filipinos prefer to use a plastic can filled with water (known as the 'tabo' in the native language) rather than toilet paper to simulate the way a bidet works.
So, always always bring a travel pack of tissues or Kleenex with you wherever you go along with wet towelettes and anti-bacterial hand gel. And always make sure that you've done the deed in your hotel/restaurant before you leave so that you won't have any problems. :)
Lately, some malls and establishments (Glorietta, Greenhills Promenade etc.) have begun charging customers P10 for toilet fees. This is actually GOOD because you'll be assured of a cleaner, fresher and better toilet with toilet paper!
When riding a jeepney in Manila or anywhere in the Philipines: It is customary and is expected of you by other jeepney passengers seating far away from the driver to reach out for their fare/payment. This is a Filipino term for "paki-abot" which is a simple act of kindness that can be seen among Filipinos in the streets.
When you hear the word "bayad po"(my fare please) and/or says "paki abot po"(please help); all you have to do is to extend your hand, accept & forward the payment/jeepney fare to the driver or to the next person who is much closer to the driver's seat.
Expect to see a disgusted face when you fail and ignore to assist this local custom.
The belief that "white is beautiful" is held by Filipino women, regardless of age or social status and is practised by staying out of the sun to keep one from getting dark. Even at a young age, children are taught and practice this belief. Furthermore, many of Filipino women use bleaching or whitening skin products to keep skin white, and they also use anti pimple or anti blackhead products (That is why skin whitening soaps or creams like papaya soap or glutatione soap and cream are really popular here!).
The bias towards favoring white skin came from influential occupations of the Spanish ( and the hybrid "mestizas" born out of spanish friars and filipinas) and Americans which many Filipinos still continue to believe today. This is Ironic in the sense that Caucasians like their skin to be darker hence they go throughout southeast asia to beaches for sun tanning)
There is a popular saying, "The Filipino is as pliant as a bamboo." The bamboo is a tree found in tropical and subtropical regions. It is known for its flexibility and versatility. It can be used in making furniture, kitchen utensils, and other items for practical use.The Filipino character is similar to the bamboo because it has flexibility, endurance, and harmony with nature. It bends with the wind, but can survive a storm. Just like the bamboo, the Filipino nation goes along with the forces of nature and politics. It copes with "fate" rather than fights against it. The Filipino mind is pliant in the sense that it is open to new ideas. Although the Filipino is trusting, he is also capable of standing up for his own beliefs. He will not tolerate betrayal and oppression. Filipinos in general are protective of their hard-won independence, and they will fight for their freedom at all costs.
Saving Face is a common asian characteristic and is also present here in the philippines. Face saving (or saving face) refers to maintaining a good self image. People who are involved in a conflict and secretly know they are wrong will often not admit that they are wrong because they don’t want to admit they made a mistake. They therefore continue the conflict, just to avoid the embarrassment of looking bad.
To avoid this problem, it is important to allow one’s opponents to make concessions gracefully, without having to admit that they made a mistake or backed down. Often a simple change in wording, or an exchange of concessions will help negotiators maintain a positive image, even when they are actually giving in very substantially.
(it has both positive and negative conotations: Negative, because, being closely related to hiya and kasi, it enables a person to shirk responsibility. One is never accountable for anything. Positive, because one's psyche is saved from undue embarrassment, sleepless nights, remorse of conscience. It saves one from accountability or responsibility) This trait enables one to make a graceful exit from guilt instead of facing the music and owning responsibility for an offense
We Filipinos too are known for being sensitive to insults, criticisms (constructive and destructive), racial discrimination, and other small issues cropping on occasion. Amor propio, or pride, connects the traits pakikisama, hiya (or shame), and utang na loob (or debt of honor). I think we inherited this from our latin heritage since latins are known to be hot blooded.
All of these affect his amor propio. If you have helped him in a way that cannot be repaid materially, he will constantly thank you for the favor done. The pride to return the good deeds he received nurtures his amor propio, which sometimes leads to showing off especially in the presence of peers and subordinates. His amor propio propels him to be overly of sensitive.
Another trait of the Filipino is pakikisama, which can be roughly translated as comradeship or being cooperative. It has many manifestations in Philippine society, one of which is extending support or offering help to neighbors who are in need. Pakikisama reflects the bayanihan spirit, which involves cooperation among fellow men to come up with a certain idea or accomplish a certain task. While bayanihan refers to a community-support deed, pakikisama has a more individualized sense. It has both positive and negative conotations (Negative, because one closes one's eyes to evils like graft and corruption in order to conserve peace and harmony in a group at the expense of one's comfort. Positive, because one lives for others; peace or lack of dissension is a constant goal.)
If you want a Filipino friend, it would not be hard for you to gain loyalty, which is another strong trait among us Filipinos. The term "utang na loob" (debt of gratitude) implies a strong sense of gratitude and loyalty to a person who did a good thing for someone, again sometimes being a fault. Filipinos treasure their friendships under any circumstances. The Filipino's trust becomes evident when he shares with you both his joys and sorrows. A Filipino friend is someone you can lean on and will defend you right or wrong!
Another major trait incomparable to other races is respect for elders. In the Filipino setting, the parents are accorded the highest respect in the family. Hence, it is a moral rule for children to talk and behave respectfully and never answer back to the elders even if they are wrong (that's why filipinos going to the United States suffer culture shock wherein they see children answering back their elders).
The constant use of the words "po" and "opo" is a sign of respect for the elderly. Even parents are obliged to use these words when talking to their elders.
Another important Filipino Trait is close family ties. In a conventional Filipino family, the father is the head and the mother is the "light," the teacher and manager of the household. Due to the closeness that this unit maintains, extended families like the grandparents live with the family for as long as they like. More than that, the Filipino values the relationship of their relatives, even down to their third cousins, hence you rarely see nursing homes or geriartric care facilities here since it is an insult for filipinos for delegating carem for the elderly to said institutions (that's why filipino caregivers mostly work overseas).
On the negative side, due to this, we filipinos have little sense of community hence corruption is widespread in the philippines since filipinos think of family first before the country or the community.
Filipinos are generally known for our hospitality which sometimes to a fault. Although we are not the only people in the world who can be friendly, warm, and welcoming, our attitude toward other people is said to be unique.
The foreigner will experience being "at home" almost anywhere in the Philippines. If he happens to drop by a Filipino home unannounced (you could not do that in the United States and expect to be entertained!), the family will normally offer him something to eat. The host will not complain that he's being disturbed and will not boast that he has offered the best that is available under the circumstances. We will also give the best accomodations for overnight sleeping
The sun is heating up the country once more, and it's time to cool yourself down. Why not try a glass of pearl shakes. They are different juices mixed with large sweet tapioca, sometimes sweet bean and nata de coco too. ZAGU introduces the "Pearl Drink" to the Philippine market. The drink's uniqueness and the variety of flavors it offers broaden its appeal to the customers and keeps them interested and the variety of add ons like sweet tapioca balls (sago in Tagalog), nata de coco pearls, rice crispies and more.
It was founded in 1999 by a filipino lady enterprenuer who studied in University of British Columbia in Vancouver who found the perfect recipe to a sweet, chewy and soft tapioca ball and it's fame spread. Before, long lines where seen in their stalls but there are no long lines nowadays.
they are available in major malls in the Metro Manila Area.
Prices start from 35 pesos for a small cup, 40 for medium and 45 for big. add 5 pesos for addtional orders of tapioca balls or nata de coco pearls or other toppings.