Monday, February 23, 2009

THE KING OF NOTHING TO DO: PUERTO GALERA PART 3 (no part 1 and 2...sorry)

I was wandering the National Bookstore in Glorieta trying to look for nonsensical books to read at home when I saw this book titled “The King of Nothing To Do” by Luis katigbak. Hey hey hey!!! That sounds more like me! I flipped the pages to get a glimpse of what’s inside and what the title is all about. Well the book contains the writer’s experiences about everything. He’s a writer and columnists of some big magazine and newspaper. I have been thinking about writing my own book someday. It was a dream I first shared with my good-friend-Efrel (April) from IBM. Oh well... I don’t know if that will ever happen.

I went to White Beach, Puerto Galera last week. It was my third time there but seemed like my first. I am physically and emotionally attached to that place. I don’t want to get into details, but I will surely keep going back to that place even in my old age. Something in that place makes me smile and reminds me of the happiest days in my life. Enough of the sad stuff on me. :-(

Why do Filipinos so friendly to Foreigners? It’s what I noticed not just in Puerto Galera but everywhere. The locals in Mindoro are so friendly to the non-Filipino looking tourist in White Beach, but couldn’t care less with the other not-so-rich-looking-Filipino-tourists like me. What the crock. Anyways, I do not need their attention. I like being alone. I hate it when vendors come my way while I’m in the middle of doing something, like eating, to ask me to buy whatever they’re selling. There was this old lady who sat right beside me flashing the braided necklace/bracelet she was selling right before my face. “3 for 20pesos, sir.” I politely told her I’m not interested but she didn’t seem to hear what I told her. Waaah...ok, I gave up. Told her a vendor selling the same item approached me earlier and was giving me 5 for 20pesos. The old lady said “Ok sir, I’ll give you 5 for 20pesos. Friendly price! (presyong kaibigan daw, harhar)” then she smiled. Oh well... so I bought 5. The old lady was kind of irritating in the beginning but turned out really friendly. That’s one of the few good things that happened to me in Galera.

Ok... going back to the Foreigners. There’s a lot of their kind in Puerto Galera. Whites, Blacks, Yellows(?)... they’re everywhere. To Filipinos, being polite and hospitable to people, especially to those from other countries, has been like a “fixed” part of our tradition. Like a light-amplification-by-stimulated-emission-of-radiation were pinned on our ancestors’ foreheads and forcefully beamed that “overfriendliness-to-foreigners” attitude. In the Philippines’ polite society, Filipinos tend to swallow indignation when they get into non-engagement encounters with anyone. “Pag pasensiyahan mo na lang yang putang-inang kano na yan.” “Hayaan mo na lang yun...mamamatay din yan.” These are not the usual words we say...but "Pasensya" and "Hayaan mo na lang" are what we usually hear and say in unpleasant situations with foreigners. Actually not just with foreigners, but even with fellow locals. We usually tend to settle things in diplomatic ways, unlike in the US where almost everyone is ready to raise hell over the slightest inconvenience in life. Well, to cut the story shorter: I got into a slight fury encounter with a big white old man. I worked for an American company for almost three years. The last one was a fucking-telecom-company in the US. Getting calls from customers with little refinement is what my job is. It wouldn’t be right if I say all calls that we get are like that. There are also customers who are really friendly, and are even friendlier when they learn that they’re speaking to someone not from the US. I love it when I get a really polite customer on the phone. But inevitable sometimes. It is one of the main reasons why I decided to quit my job. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Couple of times I hung up on boorish customers, removed my headset and left the customer talking on the line, and there was even a time when I told a very irate customer who needs payment arrangement but lacks good attitude and politeness - “That’s your problem and I ain’t giving you shit!” Of course I hung up on him. You see... working in a customer service is not easy. It takes a lot of patience, dedication, and oh well...patience.

Ok, back to the old white man. I was walking along the concrete embankment where the bars/stores/et cetera line toe-in-toe when I came across this big-white-old man. I don’t want to exaggerate things, but he almost blocked the entire walkway. “Always give way to ladies, kids, and old people in whatever situation” – that’s something I learned from my parents that I really practice. Ok...we met in a very narrow part of the concrete embankment, which happens to be the highest elevation from the sand also (I think). I squeezed myself to the clothes being sold at a shirt-store just beside us to make way to the white man. I held him by the wrist to make sure he won’t fall off the embankment – something that every good-hearted-and-polite-and-nice man will do to a very old-wrinkled-man. To my surprised, after he passed by, he looked back and gave me a not-so-nice-stare and half-shouted, “Do not touch me!” I was ill-equipped to defend myself all I managed to say was "Sorry, SIR." The old white man turned his back and I heard him say “stupid Asian monkey.” Gaddammaderpaker!!! Obviously I am not a monkey...but I know it was I he was referring to. He really got into my nerves with what he said. I looked back, and shouted, “I am not a monkey, and I’m not stupid! I’m a Filipino! Get your ethnicity right, ungrateful old bastard!” The white man was stunned. He didn’t expect that a brown-skinned-man would have the guts to talk to him in that manner. Listen: I am really nice especially to nice people. I’ve never gotten myself into fights when I was a kid, oh well...I did, but just petty fights due to petty reasons. I was really shy and very passive as a kid. While I grew up I learned that fighting back, but only when you are right, is a very essential skill that everyone should have to survive. That old man got the nerve to say such an insulting word to me in my own country. He probably believed he won’t be challenged like the customers I usually talked to when I was still with customer service. Customers are ALWAYS right. But I am also a tourist, not white, but I am a human...a local of the country he is visiting. I don’t know where the hell he got the nerve to call me stupid-Asian-monkey. I didn’t do anything wrong in the first place. In fact, I helped him. But the ungrateful old man was very rude so I was compelled to fight back.

“Never mind him, he deserve it” – said another old white man standing at my back, smiling. Oh well...”Sorry about that, he called me names, and I didn’t like it so I just fought back.” –trying to redeem my friendly side to the friendly other white man. “You need to cool down boy, are you with anyone? Take a dip in the water, haha...” We had a nice conversation during our short walk. I was just really walking around and it seemed he was too. We came near this bar and he offered me a drink. So I politely said sure. The old man was really friendly. I learned he was from Germany - and that explains why his English sounds that way. During the conversation he mentioned about his Filipina girlfriend he was with last week. He said she disappeared and left White beach without his knowledge. It was later that same day when he realized his phone and some cash were missing. (That bitch! That’s one thing that I really hate about these whores – they’re creating a bad impression to friendly outsiders like this man). Anyways – we had a really nice conversation. We talked things mainly about Germany and the Philippines. He asked me if I have been to Sabang. Told him no. He asked me if I want to go there for some fun. I wasn’t really in the mood to go somewhere else...I just wanted to drink and listen to the sound of the water hitting the shore. But he told me about the bars, and discos, and the .... mmmm...women in Sabang. Hmmm...women... it’s something that I have to consider. So I told him I’ll just go back to my room and get a shower.

So off we went to Sabang. So that’s how Sabang looks like. It is the place where bars/clubs/and women-for-cash are. The best place for partying, drinking, and meeting girls I learned that the German I was with frequents Sabang almost every other night. We had another drink in one of the bars...and before I knew it, a girl was already sitting on my lap comfortably. Oh well...I wouldn’t say no to it! The German paid everything. So after two glasses of vodka, we headed back to White Beach...with the two girls. The ugly lady went with him in his room, and the cute one went with me...and the rest is something that cannot be told here. (It really puzzles me why Foreign men like ugly Filipinas...oh well...sorry, I talk as if I am a very good looking man, LOL, who am I to judge who’s beautiful and who’s not, LOL!)

Well, all in all, it was a pretty nice experience in Galera. I am back in Manila now, and everything seems to be back to how it used to be. I am still sad. Fuck! X(

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