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Life in the Philippines

The Philippines is the pearl of the orient according to generations of seamen from the west. The 7,100 plus islands are indeed lovely and the only problem seems to be nearly a hundred million people living on a land area a small fraction of the USA. The sea and good soil have made it possible to feed the people but a new hunger for meat threatens the food security, public health and the environment.

There are likewise things to love about the culture of the hundred million. Bankers sing while they process your account. You cannot keep Filipinas from singing, they are enchanted and enchanting when it comes to music. Filipinos, on the other hand love to shout. The culture is the noisiest in the world according to many travelers and a livelihood as a jeepney caller or street salesman depends on a loud voice. I have adjusted to this by raising my voice when Filipinos are shouting in an inappropriate place, like the cyber cafe. I just turn to them and shout loudly, asking them about the source of their shouting. This seems to work if I begin shouting before I get angry.

Motorists think they always have the right of way here. Even though there is law intended to protect the pedestrian and bicyclist, motorists ignore them. I have adjusted to this by trying my best to stress the law here. I cross at the crosswalks and if cars come too close I slap their mirrors, which makes a big noise but usually no damage. It seems they know they are in the wrong as they never stop or question me about it.

Good vegetarian food is really fresh and inexpensive here. Fresh pineapple is available on the street for about ten cents. A good vegetarian meal costs about a dollar. Honestly the main reason I am here is because I cannot afford to live in the USA without taxpayer subsidies.

So I am grateful for the fruit, warm seas and sweet songs.

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