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Post your trip reports, travel experiences, and updates abroad. Or your expat story if you already live overseas. Note: To post photos and images, insert the image URL between the tags [img]and[/img] after uploading them to a third party site.
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You won't believe what happened today. When I went to this new Taiwanese vegetarian restaurant I always go to, I met this writer, intellectual and historian there who was part Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, and a few other races. One of the Taiwanese cooks introduced me to him. When we got to talking and introducing ourselves, I could not believe how much we had in common. He was like a mirror image of me - very philosophical, intellectual, a freethinker, hates mind control and brainwashing.
He introduced me to the counterculture movement here in the Philippines, which very few people know about unless they are in certain circles of artists and liberals. He explained to me how the government in the Philippines brainwashes people and tries to unite the whole population here under one Filipino nationality when in reality most ethnic tribes here see themselves as a separate people and nation, and some even do not like to call themselves Filipino. He explained the various forms of propaganda used here that many people secretly resent and how Manila is actually seen as an "imperialist empire" trying to unite the whole country that doesn't even want to be united. I never knew all these things. I guess he belongs to some counter-cultural groups. He also showed me some essays he wrote about the lost history of the Philippines before the Spanish conquest, which was mostly destroyed after the conquest, but which still remain in Chinese history records.
Anyhow, besides that, his views on religion, metaphysics, the paranormal, etc. were all identical to mine, and like me, he hates being told what to think and what to do. Yet he was grounded, down to earth, rational and responsible as well. A rare combination. Not flaky or unstable like most artist types I've met in the US. I've definitely found a kindred spirit and new close friend.
The only difference was that he was not into "getting hot girls" like I was, and he never goes to the bars here.
He sympathized with my complaint that most people here do not like to think at all, but are completely materialistic, living only to make money and buy things. And how most people are in survival mode here with no real Catholic values, and that religion was a pure label here, nothing else. So he offered to introduce me to his friends who were all artists and intellectuals, to help me expand my network and meet a different breed of people for once. I gladly accepted and brought one of my close Taiwanese friends along.
We went to a nice coffee place owned by an expat. And when his friends arrived, sure enough, they were hippie types, dressed counter culture style, and listened to reggae music rather than the popular R&B that the mainstream young crowd here like.
After a few hours of talking, he and some of his friends drove me by car to another friend's house, the home of a famous professional photographer in the area who was published. His house was in a gated community, which looked like a US suburb, middle and upper class territory obviously. When we entered his house, I thought I was in another world. Hot models were there, of a type I've only seen on TV or in rich areas of Manila. They had obviously just finished a photo shoot.
Immediately I could tell they were middle class girls, as the way they carried themselves was completely different than the greedy girls I'm used to here who always need money and are always in survival mode. They had a different vibe too. They behaved more like California yuppie girls than Filipinas. They didn't even say hi or smile when me and my new friends walked in. Damn. I guess when women have money and houses, the change in their character is humungus, whereas guys are not that much different when they are poor or rich. But it's like women turn into a different breed as soon as they become middle class, have houses, cars or money, etc. Gee whiz. Why is that?
Anyhow, they were eating at a table in the garage of the house which was a photography studio, and drinking cocktails, while one was outside. They looked like they were stars in a TV show. I was amazed at how different their skin looked compared to most Filipinas here. Their skin was so light, well preserved, smooth, well cared for, etc. as though they were of a higher race or breed. Damn. All were light skinned except for one. Usually, to get hot model light skinned girls here, you have to go to the clubs in Manila, but they charge A LOT more money than they do in Angeles, which has less attractive girls in comparison.
These girls would not make eye contact with any of us or talk much, which was unusual, as Filipinas are generally very friendly and smiley. That sucked. (And btw, it's not because me and my friends weren't attractive enough for them, that they wouldn't talk to us, they just were not used to talking to people they didn't know, and it showed in their body language and social skills, in fact they barely even talked to the photographer they worked with nor looked at him, they were just in their own zone altogether) One did have a boyfriend there though.
Anyhow, my new Filipino mixed friend loves going to the mountains like me, and we may go up to Sagada someday, since he knows that area very well and would be an excellent guide. He also said that people there are totally nongreedy and never pull scams, like they do in Angeles and Manila. He also has the ability to read and size up people here, so he knows immediately who to trust and who not to trust. That is a great asset to have in a guide, as well as a kindred spirit!
So anyway, I'm certainly glad to have a new circle of friends now that are more on my level and share the same values, which make me feel more comfortable to be around. I guess it's true what they say, that when you go out and do what you love, you meet like minded people, and that includes vegetarian restaurants.
PS - I guess the real challenge here, and the ideal situation, is to find a balance between the poor girls who are in survival mode and overly eager to take anything they can from you, and the middle class girls who don't talk to strangers much, by finding someone in the middle of the two extremes. I'd venture to say though, that the type of middle class folks who tend to be open and friendly tend to be those with either spiritual interests or are well traveled. But if they are totally materialistic and middle class, they probably will be stuck up and not very open socially.
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