Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Divided Line

When I first landed in the Philippines on that very hot and humid day in 2010, it was a culmination of my dreams that came true after 5 years after communicating with people from there.  Everyone that I came in contact with tells me how great the country is and there is no place like home. I had some reservations on that because I am in the USA and is a foreigner; people look at you at a entirely different way. When the trip was coming close, I was scared. Here I am going into a country that I enjoy talk to online (I still do) and now here I am. I don’t know how to react.  It was an eye opener.

When I first started talking to a Filipina, I felt more connected talking to women than men. Strange as it is but I needed conversation. I was not really looking for a wife or a girlfriend. I was more curious and wanted to learn about something different. One of the first that I talked to said, “When are you going to come here?” I go, “What?” I never really thought going there. All of this was going on the first week of chatting. After our talks were getting serious I felt over the head. I was thinking “This woman is fun, sweet and caring” and that prompted me to learn more about the country and the culture. Looking back on it, I am shaking my head now. Not good to get your feelings over your head and everything is so great but I was young at the time and I haven’t experienced this before.

Over the years, I was still communicating and over time through a lot of social networking sites just for a friend. I am seeing a lot of Filipinas use social networking sites for relationships and now it is in large numbers. Some are desperate and some just wanted something to get out of their situation. Some write their number to text them. They post a really sexy photo just to get the guys attention of how inviting she is. They would do anything just to get a husband and to get out of the country. I had a bad chat from one that was forcing me to find a guy for her. I am married I told her and I could not guaranteed that since finding someone is very hard.  What were the first words that came up my head: needy, desperate, and conceited.

I know that not all Filipinas are not like that all. What are Filipina women are mostly thinking when they do that and how do some Foreigners react to that and vice versa? It was at that moment that I was thinking, what are some misconceptions they have with each other? It was a idea that I have been thinking writing about for a while since that last chat. Knowing it will be too long to write about it so write about it in sections. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Alone at the SM.

All through my trip, we were always busy. There was something going on due to my wardrobe and dress for the wedding day. There was one time when my wife had to get her hair done. Normally that would take a very long time and take most of the day. So one day my wife gets her hair done and I am around the SM Mall, alone.  She said “Are you going to be okay?” Yes. Even though I am comfortable in malls when I am home, but here in the Philippines, I was worried. Of course, I am here in the Philippines and enjoy it every day but being alone in the mall, I will get attention.

With the laptop as my friend for the time being, I stopped at every coffee shop and just took my time. I would look at my Facebook account and communicate in that way. Lunchtime, I stopped at Greenwich Pizza for pasta. The bill was 135PHP. After lunch, I was off to another coffee shop. This was on the second floor overlooking the mountains of Baguio. It was my second hot coca and my laptop was almost out of power. I found a seat with an outlet to charge it back up. Not much outlets are here at the mall. You would have to find anything since I always have a habit to keep my laptop plugged in which I found out now is not good for the battery.

I was just enjoying my drink and looking through until something happened that I was caught off guard. A group of people sitting not far from me, one of them a woman struck up a conversation with me and asked me if I can look at her laptop. I declined at first and then after thinking about it, why not. I asked her if I can look at it. Apparently she said that she can’t access the internet. I tried for a couple of times. The battery is low and it seems there was not a Wi-Fi setting on her laptop. Apparently, one of the people saw me alone and they knew I was a foreigner and this woman is using her laptop as a way to communicate with me. In the mist of all of this, the worker at the coffee shop came up to me and asked me to remove the power from the laptop. I have two things going on and it felt like a culture shock. I told the person that I will. I felt I was not welcomed anymore at that place. I told the woman that I can’t get it to work and you don’t have a Wi-Fi card. I finished my cup and then I said bye to the group and took the mug back to the worker. I apologized and I was off my way.

I normally don’t know how to react to under those circumstances however it was a learning experience. I believe when you are a foreigner and you are in the Philippines, you are perceived to be something that you are not. That is something that I am thinking of writing next since I have been seeing a lot of it online.