Photo of Shem-shem Pablo
I can tell you exactly why it’s more fun in the Philippines in one sentence: because it is only in the Philippines that you have the best and the worst of the world; a mixture of sorts; a unique blending of people, language, economic status, food, culture and religion that despite the yin and the yangs, living and being in the Philippines is truly an experience!
You can agree or disagree with me on my statement that I just wrote but being born in the Philippines and keeping my Filipino identity despite the fact that I have pledged both to my native home and to my adopted country (which I am very grateful and proud of!), the United States – I know exactly why everyone is buzzing with the Philippines’ Department of Tourism’s newest campaign: “It’s more fun in the Philippines”.
The Philippines is a gorgeous island with beautiful people ready to rise above any adversity they are faced with. It is the land of the educated, the ardent politicos, the most-talked singers/celebrities and where gay people are appreciated in every corner of the land. It is also the land where every citizen is proud to fight for freedom and democracy (think People’s Power). It is the land where religious beliefs are strong and even dominates the decision-making of the statesmen (think RH Bill and birth-control issues). It is the only land where languages/dialects are different from the 7, 100 islands across the country but its people are unified with the common understanding of “karaoke singing” and eating with bare hands!
Truly, there is always a divide among the Filipino people: sikat (well-known) and the unknown; rich and poor; homeless and mansion-sheltered; Tondo and Alabang; Catholics and Muslims; Bisaya and Tagalog; barefooted and Imeldific – among others. Yet, with the inequality prevalent and ceaselessly acknowledged the irony is that this is where the beauty of the Philippines comes through. This is the reason why “it’s more fun in the Philippines”, the perfect harmony of negatives and the positive. Where else in the world would you see such a scenario but in the Philippines?
And this is the reason why I was instantly hooked with the campaign.
Browsing through the hundreds of interesting “it’s more fun” photos over the course of last week, made me smile and laugh at how people portray the Philippines in their own exclusive experiences. Every photo shared as part of the campaign is equally creative – and also, humorous. However, the humor part can hardly be appreciated if you don’t know exactly what the “pun” is intended for.
Let me try to unpack a few of them for you and see if you can share a laugh with me or two:
1. Beer – this was the first picture that got me laughing. Yes, beer is on average $3.50 at a local bar in the United States but in the Philippines you can buy bottles of beers. The last time I was home, a bottle of beer is only 25 cents at the bar! It is only in the Philippines where a minor can be asked to go to a store and buy a case of beer without getting ID-ed, such fun!
2. Tweeting/Logging Out/Facetime – Philippines loves social networking and it penetrates in every household. But despite the percentage of Tweeter/Facebook users around the country – the beauty of the island is more evident among the people and the hands-on activities around.
3. Bath Time – while it is more convenient and more personal to take a bath in your own bath tub, the Philippines have a lot of falls and other bodies of water where people are free to take showers and bath, not to mention several way to exfoliate themselves.
4. Public transport – cars, jeepneys, tricycles and motorcycles abound the metropolis! You just have to be prepared to squeeze yourself in as compared to sitting alone in your car during your morning commute. Talk about body heat and body odor sharing.
5. Shopping – it is an open and wet market, where flies and other flying bugs can certainly land on your potential meal. Though there is that factor, what is best is that most vegetables and fruits are freshly harvested and mostly, organically-grown.
6. New Year – it is only in the Philippines where firecrackers and other noise-makers are allowed for use by any people of any age in the Philippines. That is why every new year’s day hundreds of people (young and old) are rushed to nearby hospitals and welcome the new year with less than a finger on their hands.
7. Commuting – traffic along the major highway? That is nothing compared to Manila’s most congested area during rush hours.
8. Rugby – Because Filipino children are very creative and resourceful, they can use anything for their toys.
9. Privacy in paradise – if you are looking for absolute privacy go to Amanpulo (a luxury resort located in the island of Pamalican in the province Palawan) or choose from the rest of the islands where you can do some real private R and R.
10. Naptime – nothing beats the siesta or the Filipino way of relaxing: just plop your head under the coconut tree or in a hammock and you are all set!
Now, why don’t you add your comment and tell me why in your own opinion it is indeed more fun in the Philippines. Start typing away and show your support!