Lessons learned, part 1

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The reason I got so silent, I became sick and still suffering from Travelling Diarrhea and now there is a lack of WIFI at my family’s house. But I found a little haven in Las Pinas, Mystic Brew, where I will spend plenty of my time in the next few days because I can’t be too far from a decent toilet and it’s too hot to stay outside or even walk far in my condition. However, I’m on a good way.

It made me think I can start with a Lessons Learned list, in no particular order.

Health

I’m not a very cautious person, to be honest, and that is why I ended up with my worst flu ever, I think. But it can be many reasons. However, it started the first time, after I ate pork sisig and rounded it up with two scoops of ice-cream. I wasn’t aware what I was eating and the sauce was not bad, but the “meat” is disgusting, at least for my European taste-buds. After that it’s up and down. So do not do that to your stomach. And only drink bottled water.

To stop the diarrhea, you can get Imodium in the pharmacy. It helped immediately to stop the flow. But it’s not over yet. Stay out of the sun, drink lots of water and when possible get a massage. I had a very tense back and it hurts. Now I had a small relapse and because I am in a safe place I decided I just let my body do the work without medication.

Anyway, next time I will buy Imodium in advance. The diarrhea knocked me out so bad the first day, that I could not go out at all and also wasn’t thinking straight as in asking my host for help.

Money

This was another problem arising. For some unknown reason I’m not able to use my Visa or my bank card on any ATM machine in Las Pinas since I arrived here. Staying at my family’s place I have a roof over my head and food, but if not, I would have to go downtown Manila or the airport just in good faith. Possibly on public transportation and that is a true nightmare. So, after already accepting my fate of being sick and broke, someone on the internet suggested to get a Western Union account.

I set it up this morning, transferred money from my credit card and 30 minutes it was ready to be picked up at the next station. The fee is not higher than the bank fee for withdrawing money.

Communication with filipinos

We are all humans and in general people are easy going and very friendly. But a few things are different than in our culture.

  • Filipinos don’t say no to you. If you have a request or a question or you just want to know how someone feels about something, you will never get a decline or negative answer. This requires some sensitivity on our part. Let’s say you have a request but you only want the person to follow up when they really want to, you will never find out. You have to consider this before you ask. If you think, it’s probably something the person would only do for your favour, don’t ask.
  • In case you need to ask for a price, be it a trycicle driver or requesting a tour from a private person or anything else, many times they reply with “you tell me”. I am not playing that game. I explain that I am a foreigner,that I want to know what things cost and that their is no shame for me in discussing money.
  • Filipinos avoid conflicts on any cost. I am practicing my manners and patience and as long as I can, I try to stay calm and polite. But sometimes there are situations where I fail miserably (Banks…) Just do your best. An outburst is tolerable for me, I am no angel. Arrogance, racism and demeaning people never. In any case, once you give away your frustration and anger, you lost your face and you will not achieve anything. They just keep smiling and all you can do is walk away.
  • Patience, patience, patience with everything.

So, these are the lessons I learned so far. Of course there is so much more, but later.

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