The Price of Happiness: Déjà-vu

I’m writing this as a “Thank You” article dedicated to @Filofail and a few other authors (@CebuBear, @Eric, and @heyjoe) on here who had helped me out with life-saving advice back in May, because believe it or not, that same experience I was raising hell about here on had occurred again.

Before I proceed with the main story, I need to give you all a short introduction to my new hang-out buddy, who I happen to admire a lot.  Yeah, she is a Filipina, but she is not the idiot type, I can guarantee that.  Unlike my Filipina idiot wife, I’m able to hold a conversation with her for at least an hour without our topic going dull, and talking to her is almost no different than talking to any American.  She isn’t illogically religious, and she disagrees with the many behavior patterns that most Filipinos engage in.  She completed 2 Bachelor degrees and currently going for her masters.  She is strongly against the driving conditions in Philippines, so she is clearly more awakened than most Filipinos around here.

The biggest downside to her, is also the biggest downside to me, is that she is just as spunky as I am and holds high regards towards her principles.  Unfortunately, she hasn’t come to terms that some Filipinos may have a severely damaged sense of principles, and she had to face that first hand last night on our first night out. (12July2014)

*Now the story begins*

After knowing her for only a few days, I decided to treat her out for a special night in Malate’s Entertainment district, same place I was in when I got screwed over that day.  She provided the transportation, and I provided the cash and little knowledge I knew about the place.  No matter how many times I go there, I could never figure out the geography of that place.  So we been walking for hours and no luck finding a bar.  Running out of luck, patience, and time.  We decided to stop and ask for directions to the nearest hip bar/pub.

Then here we go, she ends up talking to one of my mortal enemies, “THE PEDICAB DRIVERS”  After a short conversation she had with one of them, we ended up hopping in then he started peddling.  I ALREADY knew what I was getting myself into, but it beats walking (we were exhausted).  I had a 100php bill ready and gave it to her for the payment (which sounds like a reasonable over-charge payment).  Well we got to our destination, and she handed him a 20 peso bill as we exited the cart.

Her being a Filipina, she is aware of how much it SHOULD cost, but she wasn’t AWARE of how CORRUPTED the pinoys are in this area.  Being in an entertainment district flooded with foreigners, they are use to extorting hand-fulls of cash from naive foreigners.  Then OF COURSE, he saw that I was a foreigner.  So likely, he denied the 20 pesos and demanded more.  So she threw  in another 20 and got out.  We tried to make our way to the bar, but the pesky bum kept following us arguing over his 40 peso fare.  She was getting upset and started to argue with him in Tagalog.  I could tell that she was extremely frustrated and was talking about getting the police involved.  I tried to give him an extra 20 to shut him up, but he still WANTED MORE.

I knew in my mind that only 100 pesos would be enough to shut this guy up, but just like me, she is ALL about fighting for her principles and what is RIGHT!  I remembered how ugly this turned out last time, and now these pieces of shits are trying to ruin a good time with my girlfr-i……. ergh!..I mean…. drinking buddy.  I understand she was just trying to be a sweetheart and save me money by not surrendering the 100php to him, but after a little one-on-one talk with her about paying the price for happiness, and how it’s worth just giving him the 100 pesos so we can begin our merry night, she finally gave in and gave him the 100.  He walked away talking shit, but at least he finally went away.

She had no idea how relative my situation a few months ago was to this moment, and I felt every little ounce of anger and frustration she felt.  After having our first drink, all that drama went out the  window and was completely forgotten.  If I was ALL about defending my principles like I was before, then that night could’ve ended with cops (who are even more corrupted) and police stations, instead of Dee-Jays and bars.  Ultimately, she was right.  I know where she was coming from, but comparing the difference of the upcoming circumstances, I’m glad I remembered the advice I was given here that split second and put all principles aside.  I’m thankful that I had learned some serious shit on this blog lately, or my night could’ve went to hell.  That would be a fucked up first date.

Published in Corruption, Scams


  1. Profile gravatar of

    So sorry to hear of your experience. Reading your post has got my blood boiling, even more than after watching Argentina lose to Germany at extra time. I admire your friend for standing up to principle, however futile it was.

    What is it with Filipinos and the extortionist practices they apply to others (to foreigners even more so)? Our culture of love, honesty and respect? Please… I feel like having a gun on me and shooting these pieces of shit every time one of them tries to one up me for small change. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind giving extra change to them given their financial woes but the way they go about it is absolutely shameful. Fortunately, I have my own vehicle to isolate myself a little from the rest of the stink anytime I choose to go out.

    I understand how you must be feeling and I’m truly sorry.

    1. Profile gravatar of FAFI
      FAFI Post author

      Thanks ArgentinaPinoy. It truly is frustrating that I had to deal with experience twice within 3 months, but from 2 different perspectives. She actually insisted that we went somewhere close, but she wanted me to choose the hangout spot, and that was the biggest spot I knew within 10 miles away. Well we wont be going there again, that’s for damn sure!

      It’s like they don’t have a shame-bone in their whole body. They could’ve nicely asked for more. If you heard of my situation, you would be 5x more frustrated, but let me summarize. A price was agreed before getting in as a passenger, and after getting to the destination, he tried to haggle me for triple the initial agreed price.

      I’m just glad we were able to deal with it better this time. If I was alone, I would’ve never gotten inside that cart. But for her sake being of being tired due to my misdirection, I didn’t give a shit. I was ready to pay triple this time! Hahaha, I just wanted to have a good time. The night ended well and end of story. You have an a good idea of another hot hangout spot near manila? And not Makati, don’t wanna get her jealous.

      It sucks that some pinoys are this way, I’m glad you are not one of them. Thanks for your input and thanks for improving the stereotypes of all Filipinos, your actions do contribute in a tiny significant way, don’t think it don’t count. 🙂

      1. Profile gravatar of FAFI
        FAFI Post author

        JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! So this is what got you so upset!? I’ve been trying to find this “jealous comment” all day! (Sorry everyone, this is not being directed to any members here….. just dealing with some stupid shit right now)

  2. Profile gravatar of Captain PFB
    Captain PFB

    I am glad that you gave our advice a try, and found some value in it. In regard to your article, I certainly would have paid 300 to 500 to quickly remove the conflict that was inevitable in order to carry on with a pleasant evening. Yes it’s unfortunate, but you’re in Philippines. You’re going to be bombarded with blatant rip-offs, scams, and stupidity with every step you take.

    If your principles, which are certainly NOT shared with the natives, are the source of your happiness, and if you enjoy getting in angry battles over everything, then by all means, be the steadfast warrior. Enjoy the battle. I just can’t understand myself how that brings any peace of mind, calm, and contentment to any expat’s existence here. I myself, after 5 years as a warrior for my foreign principles, grew weary of battle until the life filled with anger nearly cost me my life. And to think it was good for me to continue as a one-man army against an army of 96 million idiots was purely failed intelligence on my part.

    I had to take George Carlin’s wisdom to heart: “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

    The idiots here definitely have the home field advantage. Foreigners are a sugar cube jumping into a colony of ants. What the fuck do you expect?

    I’m not insistent that my way is the best way, or the only way. I just know what now works for me to increase good times and experiences and decrease anger and conflict. Keyword: DECREASE. We’ll never ELIMINATE it. But by paying to avoid the small battles that certainly have great potential to develop into huge battles that could be very harmful or deadly, I think it’s money well spent. You cannot reason with these fucking morons, and you CERTAINLY cannot teach them. And I CERTAINLY DO NOT want to be their teacher. I just want to live as happily and peacefully as possible here. I still must fight certain battles. That will never end. But I now consider the cost of fighting or paying my way out of a battle.

    Everything has a cost. And until major evolution happens in this country, you must find better ways of adapting if you want to increase your peace here. Otherwise, why live here if it’s just going to be ongoing anger and battles? That’s no way to live.

    Best of luck my friend!

    1. Profile gravatar of FAFI
      FAFI Post author

      Yeah you are right, I definitely don’t want to live my entire life fighting every battle that presents itself to me. But some battles are worth fighting. In this case, it wasn’t worth fighting since I would be getting her involved too. Being that it was the first night out, I probably would’ve paid that much to ease our minds of the given situation. But the power wasn’t entirely in my hands, she wanted to take the battle to the next level. I admire her willpower to not take shit from anybody, but that wasn’t the right time or place to compete in a dick measuring contest. Her heart was in the right place by not wanting me to overspend on a service that was unreasonably overpriced, but her mind was not completely in tact when not thinking about the sacrificial outcomes that will occur in her method of approach. I’m not the kind of guy who is going to kick you out the driver’s seat, she had the power to start, so I allowed the power to stay in her hands. But when power gets out of control, I will attempt to sway and influence your decision making. Thanks to my little pep talk with her, she ended up making the better choice, and I did not make the decision making for her. I hope that something like this doesn’t ever occur again.

  3. Profile gravatar of FAFI
    FAFI Post author

    Yeah, I’m glad I paid to get out of that battle too. It was most definitely worth it. In my eyes, some battles are worth fighting, but when fighting for someone else who is accompanying you, it’s best to fight these battles with as little physical violence necessary. I was treating that night anyway, so it’s best to treat my way out of a fight. She was talking about treating the next time we go out, and I will be damned if she chose a place like this next time. I will just have to be sure to handle all transportation fees for the sake of our sanity. I really like this girl and it would suck to see her pissed off when trying to have a good time. Thanks for the initial advice Filo, this will be eternal wisdom that will be a part of me for the rest of my life. Just in case I forget, can I have a WWFD wristband? LOL!

  4. Profile gravatar of Eric

    Good stuff my man! Took me a long time also to get to this point too. Their idiocy is not worth your sanity. The last time I got into it with one these nimrods, this animal blew his nose on the sidewalk right in front of my daughter and had the nerve to look at me like “What?” when I gave him the . It was at that very moment I finally realized that some of these people are incapable of decency. There is a major disconnect here that prevents proper manners from being demonstrated and just being a decent human fucking being. Not all…but damn its a lot of them

    really glad your back on the blog…your stories are great

    1. Profile gravatar of FAFI
      FAFI Post author

      I’m sure that wouldn’t have ended well for him if he didn’t miss your daughter. Wow, are they really THAT inconsiderate of their surroundings? Wait a minute, NO SHIT! It’s fucking Philippines, they don’t give a shit about anybody! I’ve seen demonstrations of their inhumane behavior. They lack the mental properties of a human being, therefore I refuse to call them “Human.” If they are human, then that means ANYTHING shaped like human is considered ‘human’ too. Even inanimate objects or unknown lifeforms who has the physical characteristics of a human being. I personally prefer the term “Humanoid.” They have the physical appearance down, but they are lacking in the mental area. ANYONE can be shaped like a human, but acting like a human is another requirement which constitutes you as being human. I’m sure we all heard the phrase; “Looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, it is a duck.” Well in this manner it is; “Looks like a human, don’t sound/act like a human, therefore it is NOT HUMAN!”

  5. Profile gravatar of Marius O.
    Marius O.

    What’s funny (or would be, if it weren’t tragic) is that the pedicab riders don’t seem to understand WHY they are pedicab riders in the first place. I wish I could say to them, in situations like that, “see what you did there? That’s why you’re pedalling around on a heap of rust for a few pesos a day, that is. If you didn’t do THAT, you’d have more chance of, say, getting a dead-end job in 7-11 for slightly more pesos a day. But I know I’d just get the blank stare, so why bother?

    FAFI: it seems to me your main mistake was going somewhere frequented by tourists. I generally avoid these places like the plague, partly because I can’t stand the tourists, and partly because of the local lowlife that come out to prey on them. They’re all as bad as each other. Also (IIRC) you live in Cebu, right? GTFO of that place. It is a world-class shithole. Possibly even worse than Manila. Scamming seems to be even more rampant there than anywhere else I’ve been.

    Let the gf, erm, drinking buddy choose the venue next time. It’s be an ordinary Filipino hangout that won’t attract the Foreigner Price.

    1. Profile gravatar of Eric

      @Marius attacking these meatball savants with logic is easily my favorite thing to do. It’s so easy and SO enjoyable to watch them play pong in their heads as they contemplate what you are saying.

      Funny story that serves as a perfect example —

      My wife’s brother has been hounding me for a birthday present for months and I keep avoiding him. Mainly because he’s a grown ass man (25 years old) and married, but that’s beside the point. So now, he is trying to come up with clever ways for me get him a gift

      Bro: Hey man…can you help me get iphone5S?

      Me: Help? What do you mean? Don’t you have a job?

      Bro: My wife borrowed 30k from me the other day. I was going to use that money to buy the phone, but now I can’t

      Me: So wait…you were going to spend ALL the money you had saved on an iPhone 5S? Looks like your wife did you a favor

      Bro: **blank stare**

      Me: **blank stare**

      Bro: I will pay you monthly until the balance is complete. 250 pesos each that ok?

      Me: Dude…the phone is 30k. You realize that’s 30 THOUSAND pesos right?

      Bro: Is that ok with you?

      Me: Ummm…it would take you 10 years to pay me back

      Bro: Is that ok with you?

      Me: Seriously??

      Hopeless man….just hopeless

      1. Profile gravatar of Marius O.
        Marius O.

        OMFG. And he’s married. He’s going to breed.

        I do sometimes try the “confuse them with a logical train of thought” thing, but they usually just go off on completely random tangents, that, frankly, I just can’t follow. Like they say, you shouldn’t argue with an idiot because he’ll just pull you down to his level and beat you there.

    2. Profile gravatar of FAFI
      FAFI Post author

      A pedicab rider could make a lot more money if their reputation was better. Think about it, if they are known for being scammers, then they wouldn’t get much customers. I ALWAYS see them laying back in their rusted-beat up cart waiting for a customer gullible enough to get in, then when they get scammed, it would be the last that customer would ever ride a pedicab. Most Filipinos, in general, have very low reputation in their services, and they seem to not really give a shit about their own reputation. They have 2 ways go about in terms of their reputation.

      Good Reputation = You may not get as much per customer, but you are more likely to get about 20+ customers per day, and receiving a payments from 20-50 pesos per customer. Let’s say it was a good day and you had 20 customers pay you 50 pesos each, that’s 1000 pesos a day, or 30,000php a month. That’s better than most full time jobs in Philippines. But they are not smart enough to see it that way 🙁

      Bad Reputation = You and everyone affiliated with your business is known for scamming/overcharging passengers, therefore you end up repelling potential residential customers away from your business. Your only source of income are from those first-timer customers, or those who don’t give a shit about paying overcharged amounts for your shitty transportation. Due to your bad reputation, it takes you at least an hour wait until you get your next customer. Your average earnings per day is about 100-200 pesos per customer, but you only get about 5 customers per day. On a good day, that will still be 1000php. But think about all the people you had pissed off.

  6. Profile gravatar of CebuBear

    So you said you provided the cash and she provided the ‘transportation’. Then you said you had been walking for ages… was she giving you a piggy-back?

    Mate, well bloody done! First of all in handling the situation as you did but secondly in not only learning a lesson but also for posting it here. I am impressed. Respect.

    Don’t let the idiot asawa find out, though. Next thing we’ll read about a Kano shot in a home invasion gone wrong, etc. Take care.

    1. Profile gravatar of FAFI
      FAFI Post author

      Yeah, let me clarify that part about the transportation. She has her own car and she drove us to the Malate Entertainment district. But we wasn’t going to drive to each and every spot, and she sure as hell aint gonna leave her car parked in front of a bar. Honestly, find parking spot on those narrow roads would lead to minor collisions of other passing vehicles, or vandalism by all the other jealous homeless crabs who are pissed off that they don’t have a car either. So she ended up parking it in a safe area that was monitored by guards, then we walked the bar strips. A piggy-back ride would be awesome, but I have no intentions of breaking her back that way.

      It’s just as you said, “idiot asawa.” She is too stupid to find out, and besides, I’m not doing anything that would be deemed as cheating anyway. Nothing higher than a kiss or hand-holding was exchanged yet. She knows about my asawa, so she knows that our discrete friendship probably wouldn’t last long. My idiot wife would get jealous of female friends, so I gotta be discrete about any female company I have, even if I’m not doing anything beyond the boundaries of adultery, it’s just for the sake of her sanity. If she wasn’t such a couch potato and wasn’t so damn stupid, I would probably hang out with her more often. Actually, I still can’t, because if she knew I had extra money to hang out and drink with, then she would suggest that I have extra money to send her worthless family down south. So yeah, I’m pretty much stuck with no options. Gotta pretend to live more broke than I really am around my idiot wife, then splurge the rest with people who can actually appreciate the fun.

      1. Profile gravatar of Kiwimuzz

        Hi FAFI
        It seems we share a similar history only I fortunately did not marry my ex-gf. I do understand the pressure placed on you (and her by her family) to send money to the useless pricks. Seems like you have got it all worked out. Cheers Muzz

  7. Profile gravatar of CebuKid

    Congratulations on your new…*ahem*…GF? lol. I hope it works out for you. You keep referring to your “idiot Filipino wife”, but from the way you describe her, she sounds uneducated and “from the bush.” I don’t know your whole situation, but from what it sounds like, the sex probably got old really fast and it sounds like you can’t stand her. The new GF sounds polished and sophisticated with the 2 bachelor degrees and all…(equivalent to 2 American HS diplomas? lol). All joking aside, I mentioned awhile back that my wife GREW UP in the Philippines. I told her about that guy that comitted suicide at the mall (with everyone watching), and she completely *gets* the idiotic Filipino behavior. After following this blog for some time, it also explains the IDIOTIC recent behavior of my some of my cousins/uncles there. I’m very glad she avoids the whole ‘sending money’ bullshit so common with stateside Filipinos. Long story short, my cousin swindled me out of $300 under the guise of “starting a business”…I then saw him on Facebook a couple weeks later with a new motor bike…LOL. …but I digress. I would’ve anulled that marriage (if there’s such a thing) with the idiot Filipina wife a LONG time ago…no p*ssy or arm canddy is worth that frustration. I have a very low threshold for stupidity myself. Anyway, I hope things work out for you with the new GF. PS- my wife has a “doctor” degree from the Philippines (which was downgraded to a BS here…lol). She is currently working toward her 2nd degree in the US. She has NEVER exhibited any of the idiotic behavior described here (even though her siblings sometimes do), but that may be because she spent her entire adult life stateside (immigrated here at age 21). She does a great job, however, of explaining the behavior.

    1. Profile gravatar of FAFI
      FAFI Post author

      Well you hit the ball on that one! I married my idiot wife when she was a hottie. She was the first Filipina I ever met and fell in love instantly. When you leave America and see a new species of natural beauty, you may get p*ssy=whipped like me too. She is no different from a dumb blonde bimbo. She has no job, she is not educated, she is older than me, and has no objective to be successful in life except to leach off my income for the sole purpose of benefiting herself and her family. Yeah, she has this tree/lumber project down south. But all she has been doing with that was watching it grow for 8 years, she isn’t doing shit in the mean time. Yeah, she does household chores and everything, but I don’t NEED her to do that, I’ve been doing my own chores for years. Her laundry and cooking does help out a little, but ultimately, she could’ve been more productive with her time and try to make something of herself except for being a couch potato watching PBA (she loves basketball) and other stupid Filipino shows all day. She doesn’t realize how much I resent her on the inside, because you can’t tell her anything negative or else she will completely flip instantaneously! Like most Filipinos, they hate hearing the bad news and are quick to turn a blind eye. So I gotta suffer with her for a while until I am able to get the fuck outta here. She is crazy as hell, so dumping her is only detrimental to my life. Since she has connections with the NPA, it’s best that I don’t hurt her feelings until I am safely out of this country. I don’t even recognize my marriage to her on facebook, my status has stayed ‘SINGLE’ forever! But if any locals question my martial status, I have to be honest and say ‘married’ because if rumor goes around that I’m single, then I need another explanation why I am turning down girlfriend requests at school. Yeah, I still get asked if I’m single at school on a weekly basis, and it SUCKS to spill the truth and say “MARRIED.” My idiot wife just completely ruined my visit here, and these are years I can’t get back! My daily life with her consist of me being on my computer, and her in the other room watching TV. Instead, it could’ve been me having a female companion over every time they are interested in being with me. I know a visitor wouldn’t come over just to watch TV in another room.

      I really need to get away from her and this country. Since she prefers staying ignorant towards what I feel about her, then she is really going to be ignorant towards why I am going to leave her in a few years unannounced. Yeah, I already came to realization of how much better my life could’ve been without her being here with me. Why the fuck did I get married?! Argh!

  8. Profile gravatar of HawkEye

    12 years was the last time I ever went to the entertainment district of malate. The reason I stopped going there was after me, my gf at the time, and her friend were almost blown away by what looked like an M16 of a cop off his face with god knows what drug he was taking after he pulled us over for a “traffic infringement” at about 2 am in the morning. My gf’s idiotic principled friend tried arguing logically with this asswipe that we did nothing wrong. Of course this infuriated the cop who started pointing is weapon at us demanding that we step out of the car. Took a while for me to calm the ass down and have him accept everything in my wallet (about 200 dollars at the time). A lot of other places are worth going too like metrowalk in pasig. Far fewer if any scumbags around that area.

  9. Profile gravatar of MalditoKano

    FAFI, I, like you and your girlfr–err, ‘drinking buddy’, am a person of principles, so I can totally relate. I always say, “It’s not about the amount, it’s the principle of the thing.”

    For example, some jeepney drivers ‘accidentally’ fail to give change–usually amounting to but one or two pesos–while others do. In the first instance, I demand the change–not because I’m hard-up for cash, but because I refuse to let them get away with taking advantage of ‘the Kano’.

    In the second scenario, I tell them, “keep the change” when they offer it, because I like to reward good behavior and honesty and to help, if even in a little way.

    Sometimes when taking a trisikad (pedicab), when I state the destination the driver will ask me, “How much you gib me?”, to which I reply, “fuck off!” and find another one, one who doesn’t have the chutzpah to be so presumptuous. Again, it’s not the amount, it’s the principle. I know how much it costs a Filipino to go to my destination, and refuse to be treated differently because I have ‘white skin and a long nose’ and am thus perceived as ‘rich’ therefore ‘obligated’ to help.

    On the other hand, if they are polite and take me without demands, complaint or quarrel, I give them extra. The ‘regulars’, who know me and take good care of me, I often treat to a burger. The rude ones lose out altogether.

    As with sikads, taxi drivers sometimes say beforehand, “You gib me ___ extra!” Again, they are told to fuck off, and another taxi procured. Taxis who treat me with respect, who don’t demand extra, fail to use the meter, try to claim ‘no change’ for a large bill (invariably bullshit), take ‘the long way’, or whose meters aren’t obviously rigged (again, I make it a point to know the correct fare), get a generous tip from me. Even more so if they are helpful and entertaining.

    The rest are either not taken, or given exactly what the fare should be and not a peso more, regardless of their protestations. On more than one occasion, the latter scenario has devolved into a yelling match, with me threatening to report them to the LTO, which usually shuts them up right quick!

    The one time when a particularly stubborn taxi driver got into an argument with me over attempting to charge double the normal fare didn’t back down from my threat, he found himself surrounded by several Pinoy friends (one of whom was my former building-manager) and another expat who happened along at the right time. One of my Pinoy buddies argued with him and then whipped-out his cellphone, making a point to note the tag number of the cab, and began to feign a call the LTO. Seeing this, the driver immediately gave up and accepted the correct amount, burning rubber as he pulled-away in a huff.

    Thankfully, I’ve never been followed after disembarking from a vehicle after such a disagreement. There is only one time I can recall where it could have gone that way, though ultimately did not.

    An expat friend and neighbor and I took a taxi home late one Saturday night after an evening of drinking and carousing. We had him drop us off at the corner up at the end of the street, so we could sneak home without being seen–because my friend was married, the hot-tempered Pinay wife was away with family, and things could’ve gotten dicey for him had we been seen coming home so late–we were supposed to have been ‘watching movies’ at his house that night.

    The driver didn’t use the meter, which fact we realized, in our inebriated state, when we reached our destination and he demanded triple the normal fare! My friend, the (slightly) less-drunk of us two, said “What the fuck!! Do you think I’m stupid? I am not carabao!” as he threw the correct amount at the driver.

    We hurriedly got out of the cab, but he remained there for several minutes, his driver-side door ajar, as we hastily beat our retreat. My buddy only half-jokingly said, “He might be looking for his gun now…” Luckily, we rounded the bend in the road without incident; the cabbie had not attempted to pursue.

    Since you all are doubtless just dying to know the outcome… Ultimately, the effort to quietly sneak-in proved futile, as nevertheless someone had seen us–at 3:30 a.m.–and the wife knew about it within the hour. Needless to say, she raised Cain when she returned home the following day, my friend’s elaborate excuses falling on deaf ears. Since there was no opportunity to inform me of the cover-story he had devised, when the wifey without warning confronted me for my version, all I could muster was a Ralph Kramden-esque “hommina, hommina, hommina…”

    We learned from this experience that the ‘bamboo network’ here is the most-efficient surveillance system ever devised–eyes are always peeking out from between the stems and stalks like spooks; troupes of baboons hiding in the bush observing everything–no matter the hour–ready to instantaneously spread any juicy gossip acquired nationwide via text. One can’t get away with anything here!

    Anyway, I digress, as I am prone to do… Of course, this nickel-and-diming (or peso-and-centavoing) of foreigners includes not just transportation, but extends to many other fields of commerce. Once in a local mercado, I was buying some vegetables. Coincidentally, there was a Pinay in front of me buying the exact same thing; the stall’s proprietor charged her 30 pesos. When it came my turn to pay, the amount mysteriously doubled to sixty–again, for the exact same amount of the exact same thing.

    Apparently, the bowel-movement-for-brains vendor thought that being a foreigner, I didn’t understand her Bisayan reply ‘treinta’ (30) to the previous customer’s price query (“pila?”) I wryly asked her, “Why did you charge that lady only thirty for the same thing? Giving me the Foreigner Price, perhaps?” Which inquiry returned a sheepish grin, as she hung her head in embarrassment at being called-out. I threw down the vegetables and walked away, buying them from another, honest dealer. Again, another transaction lost, another devious piece of shit who will never receive a peso from me.

    Another incident comes to mind; in my gf’s town, I bought e-load from a sari-sari store. Later, when I went to use it, I found that it hadn’t gone through. But by this time it was late and the store closed, so early the next morning before I awoke my gf went there to ask the vendor to please try again, to which he responded, “Tough luck, network problem, not mine.” In other words, he was going to keep the money even though I did not receive what I paid for, pass the buck to the mobile carrier, and if I wanted him to retry sending load, I’d have to pay again!

    Well he picked the wrong Kano to fuck with… this would simply not do! See, my gf’s family, as well as myself, are good friends with the Brgy. Captain and his daughter who is Brgy. Councillor (Atty.), who in turn have pull with the mayor of the largest city in the region.

    Upon being informed by my gf of his recalcitrance and piss-poor attitude, I returned to the store and in a polite but firm tone informed him that if he did not comply with my request, this matter would be brought to the attention of our friends in high places, who would take a long, hard second-look at his business license–perchance to ‘find’ some disqualifying ‘irregularity’–perhaps even a tax ‘problem’ which might be of interest to the BIR.

    As the store is his family’s sole source of income, after, as I was told, being cut-off by the daughter who married an Aussie and moved abroad (no doubt because he’s a leech and shiftless bum), he quickly relented; that oh-so-sweet-to-me deer-in-headlights look of humiliation from being bested by a Kano on his face, and sent me the load for which I had previously paid–this time making doubly certain it went through. Still, never again will I patronize his store!

    On the other hand–to end this on an upbeat note–as with sikads, there are vendors my equally-principled friends and I frequent, because they have earned our loyalty through being honest, respectful, courteous and accommodating.

    Some give utang (credit), knowing we’re good for it, if we don’t have cash on us at the time. One fruit vendor voluntarily returned 100 pesos’ change to an Aussie friend the next time he saw her, because she had unintentionally shortchanged him–which she easily could’ve gotten away with, as my buddy hadn’t caught it. Another one often gives me one or two free oranges or apples.

    There are some good-hearted people here, who are not simply out to make a quick buck, repeat-business-be-damned, nor to treat foreigners as walking ATMs. They have the business acumen to realize that in the long run, they come out ahead, or as the trite-but-true old saying goes, “You can catch more flies with honey, than you can with vinegar.”

    1. Profile gravatar of FAFI
      FAFI Post author

      Hahaha! Jesus Christ dude! You should’ve just made this an article, but I’ve managed to read it all. You kinda pinned yourself in a corner with the pedicab drivers. You can’t automatically assume that they will charge you fair price, so the best thing to do is to negotiate the price before-hand, but if you knew my previous experience, even that fails. I’ve been through every possible method of pricing my fare with them.

      Method #1 – Hopping in and let them take you to your destination without discussing the price. I did this once, and I was peddled to the mall because I got a little lost. Turns out I was only a 2 minute walking distance away. I got out and gave him 40, but he got pissed and said, “MORE!” Honestly, the trip wasn’t long enough to pay him 10php. So I gave him all the coins in my pocket (about 15php) and told him to literally “Fuck off!” He peddled next to me for a while hoping I give him more, until I eventually had to outrun him.

      Method #2 – Negotiating the price before hand. Normally if the price is too high, I would tell them to fuck off too. But sometimes they will pretend to agree with the price just so they can get you to get in. If you read my article in May, you would know the whole story, but I will re-write a shorter version of this here. When I got to my destination, he decided to renegotiate the price up to triple. From 50 pesos to 150 pesos. Good thing I was at the mall, and security took care of him for me. That moment was completely hell!

      Method #3 – Having a local companion do all the talking for you. Well, this is pretty much my main story. It doesn’t matter if you are alone, or with somebody. As long as they see your non-Filipino looking face, they expect to be fucked over. It’s the law of their principles. “If you are not Filipino, you are required to pay more.” I can’t say it anymore truer than that.

      As for your taxi scenario, same thing applies. Never-Ever get inside a taxi without knowing the price first. If they want to negotiate a reasonable price, then give them exactly that was agreed and not a centavo more. If they want to negotiate an overcharged amount, well you already know what to do. The last thing you want to do is to get inside a taxi and the meter is not running, consider yourself fucked when that taxi starts rolling if you do. With taxis, the best thing you can do is to make sure they are running the meter, and if they have any additional special requests like,”+50. or 100″ Get to know the reason first. They usually say that traffic is heavy, which is a bullshit excuse because this densely over-populated country will ALWAYS have traffic issues.

      If it’s raining, then expect to pay +50 sometimes if you can afford it. But I know you can afford it, it’s just a matter of principles. Filipinos don’t believe in principles, and whenever they say they do, I laugh about it until my guts spew out!

      In a matter of fact, I got overcharged yesterday when trying to get 2×2 copies of my picture for the immigration office today. Their price listing said that it cost 20 pesos for 4 pictures, so I ordered 8. Easy math tells me that it should’ve cost me 40 pesos. I gave 100, and my change was 40. They changed the price to 60pesos for me. I just stood there looking at their price list, hoping to give them a chance to be honest. But then I said, “Fuck it, it’s not even worth arguing about.” They are Filipinos, therefore they lack honesty and principles. Don’t you EVER allow a Filipino tell you that they have principles, that is no different than a slap in the face to me.

    2. Profile gravatar of Captain PFB
      Captain PFB

      If you can easily and quickly resolve an attempted rip-off, great! Always make the attempt. But for me, if I start to feel the anger well up, and if it’s turning into a time-sucking argument that could turn ugly, 100p is worth the preservation of my sanity, my time, and my getting through the day with just a little less frustration and anger. Sometimes you just gotta say fuck principles. My principle in pursuing peace of mind and preserving time takes priority over the other principles. Trying to enforce your principles in a country with no principles is not only going to fill your time with much more arguing and fighting, but also take years off your life in the long term through stress or an argument turned violent.

      All I can say is, “Go ahead, make your day!” keep trying to live an American life with American principles in a 3rd world country, Philippines. I just know that the build up of frustration with getting into fights and arguments over 100p to always keep my foreign principles at any cost nearly cost me my life. Your principles here are like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. THEY DON’T FIT!!

      Or maybe you all have tons of extra time to fight every day, several times a day to enforce and fight your principles over 30 fuckin’ pesos. In that case, enjoy the battles! Maybe you get off on it? I don’t know, all I can say is I don’t and really grew tired of arguing over 50p. And although I won most of the arguements, I didn’t walk away all happy and warm inside. I’ll save my fighting for significantly larger scams/rip-offs.

      I run a business, and my time is very valuable. Every moment I am away from my station, I am not generating income. I love generating income. I love my work, it makes me happy. So that is where I like to be. But necessity requires me to go out sometimes. So the last thing I want to do is spend 20 minutes arguing with a dumbfuck with no principles over my principles which they won’t understand any more than a dog would.

      And if it costs me 50 or 100 extra pesos to save 20 minutes or possibly bruises or a stabbing, it’s well worth it to me! I certainly can generate 100 times more than 100p in 20 minutes. So for me, having principles in Philippines COST ME MONEY. For me, it is NOT cost-effective to enforce my principles all the damn time over 30 or 50 or 100 pesos.

    3. Profile gravatar of Marius O.
      Marius O.

      >> There are some good-hearted people here, who are not simply out to make a quick buck, repeat-business-be-damned, nor to treat foreigners as walking ATMs. They have the business acumen to realize that in the long run, they come out ahead, or as the trite-but-true old saying goes, “You can catch more flies with honey, than you can with vinegar.

      Definitely, and I concur with your method of dealing with the braindead, scamming little shits (call them out where possible, and never go back if you can’t) and with the honest, decent people (tip handsomely, or find some other way to return the favour). We’re swimming against the tide, but this is really the best and only way to hold onto one’s principles.

  10. Profile gravatar of Mega-BrainDrain

    Sadly this is the place where your principles die a slow death. P100 isn’t worth risking my life for. I always assume these assholes are armed. So I usually just let it go and charge it to experience. At least there’s one more fail story to tell and enrich our conversations or this blog site with. On my last visit to Manila I got charged by the taxi driver 800php just to get from the airport to makati. When I gave him 1000php. He said he had no change. I was ranting a bit but just gave in coz “he might be armed” and getting stabbed won’t be worth it. His final words to me were “anyway it’s not so often that you come home to the Phil “. What a welcome treatment to a hard working hero ofw. I beg to disagree with ninoy – the Filipino is not worth dying for. I’d rather get out of the airport in one piece.

    1. Profile gravatar of heyjoe

      I always make sure I have small bills to pay theses rip off artist with. You know no one in the Philippines ever has change. When I leave the country I take pesos with me including small bills so that when I return I have plenty of correct change to make any necessary transactions.

      1. Profile gravatar of FAFI
        FAFI Post author

        This is the denomination of bills and coins I try to have on me at all times before I leave out the house everyday.

        Paper Bills

        1000 – Mot necessary, but it’s good to have to perform expensive transactions.

        500 – At least one

        200 – I use these as much as I use the $2 bill, not necessary.

        100 – At least 4

        50 – At least one

        20 – At least 4


        10 – At least one

        5 – At least one

        1 – at least 4

        centavos – I don’t really give a shit about carrying petty change

        With all denominations appropriately distributed, there is no reason why I wont have exact change for ANY transaction. Just name a price, I guaran-fuckin-tee you that I will have exact change for it. I try to rack up more on the smaller bills and coins since I tend to spend those more often while out in public. I save my large bills for retail stores to rack up on more small change just in case. It’s the safest way to go about it.

  11. Profile gravatar of 30-30

    I have a charge account at a local hardware store run by a Filipina. I can run up a bill for 3 or 6 months,, she never phones me about the bill or anything!!!!! or hassles me in any way , shape or form…
    Absolutely amazing!!!!!! we pay by check.. never any hassle…. one time the bill ran up to 8,000 pesos for various items I needed..
    wonders never cease!!!!

  12. Profile gravatar of Bill Robbins
    Bill Robbins

    Yes everything has happened to me and I just got more and more pissed of.
    The PNB was the last straw..I had a US$ account and when I went to withdraw my US$ I was told they were out and I would have to take peso’s or travellers cheques which cost extra.I went to the Manager and the same story…I got US$ the next day in small$100 bils…I told him I would never come back or do business with the Fils. and I haven’t.