My Philippine Experience – Introduction

Been following this site for about 6 months or so and finally signed up to share some truly WTF moments brought about by my Filipino inlaws.

About 6 years ago I met a Filipina on a dating site. It seemed she was the only honest one there. I waded through hundreds of women who would immediately say “ I love you” or “ I need milk for my baby” or some other line of bullshit. She was the only one who never asked me for any money and she never threw the love word at me. I decided to go to the PH to meet her. After I recouped from jet lag, her siblings started showing up at the hotel unannounced at various times of the day. We were both annoyed at the lack of respect for our privacy, me more than her. A few days later we made the short trip so I could meet her parents. They had bought a pig and roasted it for my arrival. Her father seemed like a decent guy but didn’t know how to speak English, her mother went around wearing this scowl of anger and superiority. Her parents were just living in a very old, dilapidated bamboo and straw hut with an old 2 foot tall crumbling cinder block wall which the hut sat upon.

Days later we were at some big mall and there was this courtyard outside one of the larger department stores. It was raining slightly, just barely, nothing to get into a fuss over. I notice all these Filipinos hiding in odd places refusing to just walk out in it and get on with whatever they needed to do. My future wife wanted to hide from it too, but I just wanted to get the fuck out of there because we had been there for some hours already. I said to her, ok you stay here and just meet me back at the hotel. She followed me into the slight drizzle. The other Filipinos were all looking at us like we were crazy. I asked her why they were afraid to get a little wet. She replied, “ if they get wet they will get the flu”. I was puzzled and asked jokingly, “ so nobody in this country takes a bath or shower because they will get the flu”? That’s different she said. How is that different? You said if they get wet they will get the flu. No reply from her.

A few days later I was invited to dinner, some cheap buffet place so I offered to pay. Not bad I thought as it was only 25 or 30 dollars for around 10 or 12 people. Two days later I was invited to dinner yet again. This time I didn’t offer to pay because I assumed there would be a ( I pay this time, you pay next time) thing happening. Waiter brings the bill and gives it to the woman who is now my sister in law. She walks over to me and puts the bill for 3,800p in front of me. I’m thinking WTF? But I kept my mouth shut and chalked it up to a lesson learned. I looked over at my future wife and she had a look of utter embarrassment on her face. We didn’t discuss the matter until we were alone back at the hotel. She suggested we take a plane to manila so we could have time away from her family.

It was the last week of my first 3 week trip to the Philippines. We land in Manila where she also has relatives. We visited them but only for a very short while and didn’t tell them where we were staying. We decided to walk down the street and see some sights. While we were walking this guy kept following us asking if we wanted a ride on the horse carriage. We kept saying no thank you and he just kept asking and following. Future wife says to me after some minutes, lets help him out with his job it’s only 300p. After a few minutes I agreed. 20 minutes goes by and we are now on Roxas boulevard. Carriage comes to a stop and driver says he has to ask his boss something. Next thing I know this dirty old bastard hops in next to the driver. Future wife is oblivious to what was happening right in front of her. Old bastard hands the horse driver a big rusty filet knife, and driver slips it under his seat pad all in one fluid motion when they thought I wasn’t looking. Old bastard hops out and goes back to the side of the road. Several minutes later the ride is over. Driver turns to us while wearing a huge shit-eating grin and says “ok you owe 5000 pesos for the ride”. Future wife says, “you said it was 300p, why so much now”?  Future wife starts getting pissed off which in turn pisses off the driver. Driver starts getting animated and fidgety so I asked her to be quiet and let me deal with it. I say to the driver ok you win and handed him a wad of cash and hopped out while he was still counting. It wasn’t the 5k he asked for but it still made this little shitface pretty happy. After we got off the carriage he had the audacity to ask if we had anymore money so his kids can eat. I never replied and just walked away. I later told her about the knife and she got scared. Took the cab the hotel provided after that for the rest of my stay. Yet another lesson learned in the good old Philippines, Republic of.

Published in Cultural Rudeness, Filipino Stupidity


  1. Profile gravatar of Kuripotkano

    The filet knife makes me very nervous because that indicates a man in the fishing trade.Sometimes those guys are knifers. Lots of knifers in the PI. They will kill you and drink your blood. Personally, I won’t tolerate someone following me. My wife got very upset once when I told these two guys to stop following us. I freaked them out and they left. After about the 7th or 8th time, It became harassment, and I lost it. I was about ready to clock the closest one. My wife was so mad. She told me to never do that. Just ignore them Hon. How the hell do you ignore two fuckers following you with the intention of getting money from you! Get away away from me !!!!!!! You should have seen them jump. I had a razor sharp gunong just in case. Lord help me.

    1. Profile gravatar of Joe Smith
      Joe Smith Post author

      Yeah I too assumed the old bastard was a fisherman as he wasn’t very far from a group of small fishing boats. Believe me I wanted to clock him after he kept asking but I had no idea at that time what would happen to us if I did. Beaten, extorted, jailed, or lynched? I was a stranger in an even stranger land. I did my best to keep calm and learned a good lesson. We were followed another time too at a mall in Manila, the one that later burned down. Noticed that 2 men were following us for quite some time. We went into a restaurant and they stood outside the entrance just staring at us for around 30 minutes. We finished our food and asked the staff to call the authorities. They overheard us and decided to leave quickly.

  2. Profile gravatar of FAFI

    If you were a long term expat staying in the Philippines then I would say “shame on you” for being so naive to believe that a pinoy is honest, especially in terms of public transportation. I also had a run-in with a pinoy pedicab who I had agreed a price on (50 pesos) which had eventually tripled during transit when I got to my destination. You gotta be careful here bro, the initial price is never the final price here. Not only with horse rides, but with all forms of transportation here. Take it from me, I’ve been here for a good minute. They will lie and deny that they had ever agreed to the price you initially agreed to, and the only way to prove it is on video.

    I have so many videos of negative experiences catching a taxi from S&R to my condo, you would be outraged to view them.

  3. Profile gravatar of Kuripotkano

    In the area I go it’s 20p for a trike, about half that for a Jeepney, and the buses are set prices. Everyone knows the rate. You really got to be carfull with cabs. I noticed a prepaid cab service at the airports in Manilla.

  4. Profile gravatar of Kuripotkano

    Joe, I think you handled things well. The most important thing is that your alive. A million years of evolution will tell you what to do, or not to do. You didn’t have a blade on you either.Good people don’t think about carrying a knife, they carry a gun haha. The Philippines is a backward place where machete massacres and knife attacks happen.

  5. Profile gravatar of TricycleTuxedo

    I am a Filipino and I apologize what happened to you. If you don’t look like a native, you might as well look like you have a big dollar sign floating over your head, anywhere you go. I would have personally bashed the carriage guy in the head or let him blow his horse infront of you for extorting money and making us all look bad. Yup, you will be invitee to go out and eat in restaurants, have coffee out, etc, but when it’s time to pay, you are it, every single fucking time. Filipino vendors, service professionals (if they can be even be called that) don’t take pride in their jobs, anymore. They lie, cheat, extort, anything for a quick buck. Forget reputation and all. Hey, we elected Estrada as president who killed his rivals, pocketed gambling money and have multiple mistresses, that’s how low we go. Whenever I come home to the Philippines and visit, I go to the mall and go to any sport shop. Usually they sell pen knives (they are actuall sharp knives that look like Parker Pen). They are also being sold in Raon and any overpass in Quiapo.. They are cheap and I always carry one especially going around the streets of Manila. That thing would smoothly go up somebody’s neck. You can just throw it away when it’s time to fly back home.

  6. Profile gravatar of Idiotocracy

    Good advice TT. It is dangerous over there. I use the same car service that I’ve used for years to come and to from the Manila airport, then I keep a vehicle there so there is no need for jeepneys or going anywhere on foot. Act like you are in a big U.S. city and keep your head on a swivel, situational awareness at all times in all places. There are a lot of good Filipinos like you, there are a lot of really bad ones, and a lot of ones that would be bad in a second if you let your guard down. Desperate people do stupid things.

    What is the going rate for one of those pen knives? Know the price or get Kano priced is why I ask.