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While in Saudi, I had a chat mate a very cute 21 year old Filipina girl who lived in Far North of the country- her name was Caroline. I had never ever been to that part of the country, and upon my arrival in Manila I told her that I was coming to see her. At that time she did not seem too excited. Did not say "wow" or anything. I attributed it to shyness, but it turned out to be something far worse than that as I'd later found out.
So, anyway, two days ago I bought a ticket to the Far North town of Tuguegarao and flew over. It took over an hour. The scenery from the air was amazing. This was different Philippines- there were green mountains, muddy rivers, lots and lots of fields and valleys. Gorgeous! When I arrived, I breathed in fresh air from miles and miles of corn and rice fields, burrowed up loamy earth and even the river nearby. I took her address and showed it to the driver of a tricycle. Anyway, it was a half hour drive from there by van after the trike dropped me off. Immediately, I felt that I was in the real Philippines, not in the urban Westernized Manila or Cebu. There were fields as far as eyes could see. Greenery was luscious. The people were different. They looked very happy and innocent and everybody was smiling at me. Their manners were soft and elegant. No one talked loud or behaved strange as they often do in Manila. There were no smart ass facial expressions you see in Cebu either.
People were approaching me and talking to me in Tagalog, not in English as they do in Manila. So sweet! In the van, I immediately felt that I was embraced and welcomed by everyone- no cockiness, grim faces or sarcasm anywhere. People's faces were also different anthropologically speaking. There were lots of native mountain tribe-like facial types-and everyone appeared very happy and calm.
Suddenly we got to this enormous muddy river with high banks; people everywhere were approaching me and trying to talk to me ask me where I was from and where I was going. Anyway, we paid the boatman, and he took me and a bunch of other people across this river. There was no industry anywhere, just agriculture, mountains and valleys- puffy clouds and blue skies. This is what the Philippines used to be and this is why people madly fell in love with the country for centuries. There were no white people anywhere, either. None! No other foreigners, either.
Anyway, another trike ride across rice fields with buffaloes and peasants that seemed to come out of distant past. It was totally unreal. Then there were hedges, small forests and, finally, I arrived at the address of my chat mate. People came out of the house and told me that Caroline was in Manila. I said-" impossible-" I 'd just called her yesterday!" They brought her picture and asked me if this was her. Wrong girl!
I tried to call but there was no signal. They'd also told me there was no Internet in the village so that no one could chat with me from there. WTF?
Why would anyone do anything like that? Pretend to be someone else, give another person's address and name and then after months, disappear.
Anyway, here I was in this strangely beautiful province, stood up, deceived, abandoned.
I told my story to the locals on my way back and one of the townfolks even paid for my boat ride back- he was very ashamed of what had happened.
How upset would I be if this had happened in another country! A 49 year old man stood up!
But this is the Philippines!
There was a ride back with college girls coming out of colleges and walking down the streets. They would get a glimpse of me and give me mischievous smiles. Hey, you are never unappreciated in this country, let me tell you!
After arrival back in town, I went into the local park, and there were young people everywhere- more girls than guys as is usually the case here. I approached some college students and they were just extatic to meet a Westerner. They must have never met one before. The girls started flirting with me- do I have a wife, would I like one- "I am available! What do you think of me?" Giggle-giggle! The people here are innocent, approachable, no shyness, no pretense. Just natural human curiousity. And the girls are expressive, too.
Then, I found a local " Red Light District" which was nothing much to speak of- just a few videoke bars and guys sitting there and singing.
Boy how happy they were all to see me there and at the restaurants nearby. I became like a mini celebrity there.
A very cute 20 year old working student was a cashier at one of the videoke bars and she started flirting with me and 'do I have a wife and a kid?'
And 'I am so handsome and she would like to get to know me'. After the place had closed, I took her and her sister out and we had a dinner and even carried out some mild necking. The conversation developed into' if we two have a kid, would the kid be handsome?'. And 'would you like a kid? 'Would you give me one? " Amazing stuff. We met the following day,again, ate out, held hands and even kissed each other good-bye on the lips. She was telling me how natural she felt with me and how nice it was to sit next to me and hug and neck and hold my hand.
I went to the fields at night, the skies were filled with stars, the land lay fallow with its fresh smell hitting my nostrils. It was heaven.
If someone stands you up in the Philippines, just yawn and say " next!"
The replacement is only a few hours away.
Reporting from Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Province, Northern Luzon, Philippines.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
That's interesting. Did you carry a picture of your chat mate? Did the locals recognize her picture?
Did you ever talk to this girl by webcam so you could see her?
Did she ever ask you for any money? Maybe she just wanted money but not a meeting?
Did she send you any direct emails? If so, copy and paste the bottom part and send it to someone who knows how to find her location with it.
When you say you went back to town and met all those girls, which "town" was this exactly?
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.
Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!
"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
Since the hourly charges of internet access has went down from P50 to P60 / hour to P10 to P20 / hour all over the Philippinesthe percentage of scammer and hustlers has increased by ten times or more. During the same period with the combined factors of the younger generation under 35 spending more of their free time in cyberspace and the largest population group, "the babyboomers" getting closer to retirement age ( now 54 to 64 years old ) realizing that being ALONE sucks there is an incredible exponential increase of long distance relationships. Both age groups are extremely naive socially and not "streetwise" so they allow themselves to be scammed and send " what seems like to them "small" amounts money to their cyberpals thus causing a FEEDING FRENZY among the masses of unemployed, undereducated Filipinos. Everyone living in tropical climates knows that gossip travels faster than summer grass fires so the fact that there are millions of lonely "ducks" waiting to be hustled spreads fast throughout the entire Filpino population. Dozens if not hundreds of "Cinderella Stories" occur where aging foreigners are picking up and marrying Filipinas among what is considered among the Filipino cultural standards as if not the "dregs of society" the least wanted. And on TOP of that are buying or building them houses or condos worth MILLIONS of pesos or at the very least sending them from U$100 to U$500 / month or every few months; these amounts need to be converted as the average ANNUAL income in the Philippines is only U$1000 to U$2500 / year ( province or city ) so MULTIPLY TIMES TEN. Then think about how many low income residents of the G20 countries wouldn't do the SAME SCAMS should the reward be U$1000 to U$2500 / month???
The foreigners coming to the Philippines are not really world travelers but lonely people reaching out and seeking friendship and bonding relationships as living in the "West" where the high cost of living has helped create TRULY a VERY LONELY WORLD.
Life is Short! Traveling and the people you meet and experiences you have "on the road" will enhance your life forever so GO FOR IT! Feel FREE to ask me Questions about living and traveling in Asia & the Philippines.
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