Miscellaneous items from around Tabucan
12th October 2005
While it is obviously not true, a lot of Filipino people believe that western people are innately superior. It probably stems from their colonial past.
About 400 or so years ago, the Spanish waltzed into the Philippines and thought it would be a good idea to rule the Filipinos. If you have a look at the artwork from around that time, you will often see pictures of Spaniards carrying a sword or a cross. These were weapons of choice that the Spaniards used to enslave the Filipinos. Even now, 100 or so years after they left, you can still feel their influence. Many local words are derived from the Spanish language and devout Catholics make up about 80% of the population.
After some to-ing and fro-ing between Spain, England, Japan and the U.S.A., The Philippines finally became an independent "democratic" nation. Unfortunately, some of these "elected" leaders have been as bad as the occupiers, Ferdinand Marcos being a prime example.
Anyway, I digress. Just walking around town makes you feel like a celebrity. Selected highlights include:
One night, I was hanging out with some local lads, who were enjoying one of their interesting concoctions. They make this drink by mixing one 350ml bottle of Mountain Dew, one 350 ml bottle of Red Horse (extra strong beer) and 250ml bottle of Tanduay rum. All this is poured into a jug containing a chunk of ice. By the time I had started talking to them, they had already drunk a fair bit.
I think they were trying to act like "Cool Americans" to impress me. I explained to them that I don't drink or smoke. They were a little confused to start with, but eventually understood.
One of the guys put his arm around me and said: "You don' smok'? Don' smok'? 's ok. 's ok. Bad fo' you. Bad fo' you. Good man. Good man. You don' drin'? You don' drin'? 's ok. 's ok. You'd ge' drunk and look silly. 's ok. 's ok. But the lay-dees man! The lay-dees! You kno' wha' I'm sayin'? The lay-dees man! The lay-dees! Yeah man!"
Lots of high fives followed. He was very funny.
Having a Razor Taken to my Throat
One of the local lads asked if I was the father of Rowen. Rowen is 19 and I am 32... We figured that it was probably due to my beard, so I decided to have it shaven off. I went to a barber shop at the local market expecting a 10-15 minute job. How wrong I was...
The whole experience cost 50 pesos ($NZ 1.25) and took about an hour. It goes without saying that males in barber shops are gay... He shaved off the majority of the beard with an electric razor. He then leant me back in the chair and spent about 45 minutes ensuring that every last piece of stubble was removed. The next 15 minutes was spent giving me this bizare face massage. It was very strange and I tried hard not to laugh.
It was, by far, the best shave that I have ever had. I may never have to shave again...
I was amazed at the amount of care he took and I think it illustrates the work ethic of many Filipinos.
Balut Eggs are a local delicacy. You boil a duck egg, just a little bit before it has hatched. Depending on how close it is to hatching, you either get a fully formed duck, or a partially formed duck with lots of yolk. The balut I had was mostly yolk, but I look forward to trying the fully formed duck version.
To eat a balut, you crack the top of the egg and drink the embryonic fluid. A little salt is added before the rest of the egg is consumed. Yummy!