Digging Deeper in Manila Philippines Transportation System

In family friends, philippines business by Michael Michelini7 Comments

Been taking breaks from sitting at my desk and walking down to Philcoa area of Manila, for those of you following my facebook or twitter can see the daily images of my shopping on the streets, lives are there….I have said at times I feel like I’m in the beating heart of Manila. Families are raised here, incomes are made here, I have recently given my perspective on daily life and struggle in Manila ….I almost can’t help but feel guilty being born into the world I was born into, while others are born on the streets.

I almost feel guilty even blogging about it, to have such a privileged upbringing in America, well fed, educated. Yet what I am supposed to do, that is where I was born, and I am doing my best with the cards I was dealt with in life. In one way, I kinda want to have the struggle, to make me harder in life…not so gullible and soft…..maybe that’s why I kinda “vent” about Americans taking things for granted (as Piotr comments on my blog every so often)….I guess I just appreciate things so much better….and wish other Americans would too, and live their life in a more….giving and appreciated way (if that makes any sense).

Should I therefore ignore it? Stay in 5 star hotels in the expat areas? Take taxis around, ignore the beggars on the streets and the street vendors hustling to make ends meet? What if that was me, what if that is me one day. I choose to embrace rather then avoid.

But really, the people are so happy…kids, moms, dads, aunts, uncles. THEY TREAT ME LIKE A MOVIE STAR., makes me feel awkward in a way, but if it makes them happy, hey, I kinda like it too. Witnessing them all making a living on the street. I’m meeting people, adding friends on facebook, meeting people come off the jeepneys from their office job, they are shopping for some small christmas gifts.

There are jobs called “barkers” which are people who get customers to board certain jeepneys and get a commission for each person they get on the jeep. This is an illegal job forbidden by the government, but locals still organize it at nights (as daytime the police are too strict). Marie’s auntie tells me that the jobs can pay for the milk to feed the barker’s children…and if they don’t have this job their baby may starve.

One of the barker girls (no, not Bob Barker’s models from the Price is Right TV show) tells me she just had a baby in early September, and is now back on the streets screaming on the top of her lungs pulling in customers onto her jeeps instead of others there. How strong, how tough…..told they drop out of school in the 1st grade and grow up on the streets….so therefore their english is limited. Added a few on facebook….amazing to me FACEBOOK is worldwide….and since its free they all have it, logging in every few days for a few pesos at an internet cafe.

So the idea of changing the transportation system isn’t so black and white. What would happen to these jobs – barkers, jeepney drivers, tricycles? If an organized transportation bus line came in, it would definitely get rid of a lot of these jobs….

Just wondering what is right and what is wrong….in life…in city planning. Over population. Limited resources. Countries with the haves, and have-notes.

Especially during the holiday season….makes you think.

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  1. great
    what nice people
    mike the movie star
    26 degrees in florida
    keep up this good book
    you are writing

    1. Author

      thanks dad…..yea, not many white people in the area so they all want to take photos with me…..crazy but fun…

  2. When Ford recently posted their list for 40 youngest billionaires in the world, I got so curious that I read their stories how they became so effin rich. Most of them are dropouts, IT geeks or heir to a family business. Some of them I think is after power, fame,
    & money. But try to check stories of Filipinos who made it to the top: Charice Pempengco, Manny Villar & Manny Pacquiao etc. What they all have in common is about poverty that makes them work hard for their dreams. What drove them the most to be successful is to feed their hungry stomach & help their families.

    Manila is said to be home to 10 million people + 1 million if you count those who live in streets & under the bridges. Seeing these people like this barker you are talking about esp. those kids could really melt anyone’s heart. But aside from what we usually think of them as financially/opportunity-deprived, these people also need to change their mind-setting. That being poor is remains to be that way. It should be waking up in the morning & thinking what else new can they do today aside from
    this-is-what-they-only-knew-of attitude.

    I have heard a lot of charities and non-profit organizations aiming to help the “poor” but im not seeing a big impact i think. I’ve heard of this Bill Gates n Warren Buffett to donate 99% wealth to charities and so forth. Here it’s not well discussed. If you talk about poverty, you’ll have to talk about the government to. Yeah, it’s sad to think that on Christmas eve while a number of people
    enjoys a sumptous meal, there a number of that may not even have a piece of bread to eat with.

    1. Author

      hi Monamie,
      thanks for that great comment!

      But another thing I forgot to mention, seems so many Filipinos do not want to be rich!!!! I am hearing from so many of them they just want to “get by” and feed their family

      is this culture? Maybe the upbringing?

      They are happy, even on the streets, from what I hear, that as long as their family is fed.

      But why not fight more? Why not try to make a difference? This is something I cannot understand.

      Of course there are those Filipinos who are making big risks and making something in career and development, but seems the majority is happy to have enough to pay their food bill, and that is enough.

      any feedback for that?

      1. In Statistics
        a survey to measure the country’s society progress w/c is called Philippine Happiness Index recently shows that Filipinos chose Family, Health & Religion as top priorities in life.

        In History
        countries that were colonized for many centuries like Philippines show a lot of
        colonial mentality – the feeling of inferior in many
        ways that they tend to adopt the influence of the
        foreign . ex. women crazy over whitening
        products as the ideal meaning of beauty, marrying
        white as the quickest way to get rich (just a
        number of)
        crab mentality – the idea of pushing someone
        down who’s going up

        In my opinion
        yup, families are happy as long as they’re together with just a little to share. even for singles reaching late twenties and up there’s already bit of pressure of getting his/her own family. I don’t want to blame those who prefer this way coz money can’t buy everything.

        lately, there’s a dramatic change of the younger generation getting wiser or may be adopting the western culture. i don’t know if this is good all the way. philippines recorded the most number of Facebook, Twitter & Yahoo users in Asia unlike other Asian countries like China, Japan, India they develop their own social networking services recently. hopefully in the next decades to come this young generation would really make a difference.

        im leaving a disclaimer notice on the “In history” part since history is 50% fact, 50% interpretation 🙂

        1. Author

          yea….maybe it is because of the prior history in the Philippines, it being “conquered” and the locals simply being happy to be “alive” and having food to feed their family.

          I was just having this discussion last night…I do get excited to see the new generation of Filipinos, and people AROUND the world, thinking more…..BIG…

          In a way its exciting, it means opportunities will be more level globally….as a result of technology and the internet….

          What is “facebook” and the internet going to make a global level playing field…..i am curious …almost afraid to see what happens the next 10 years.

          moving so fast

  3. Pingback: Outlining My Philippines Schedule, Mix of Business + Pleasure

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