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Filipino boat anchor scam in Palawan, Philippines

Expose or warn others about scams and scammers, or shady business practices. Expose those that have cheated you or ripped you off. Caution: Before naming specific individuals or groups, make sure that they really wronged you and that there was no misunderstanding. Otherwise your post may constitute slander or libel if it contains false information.

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Filipino boat anchor scam in Palawan, Philippines

Postby Winston » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:38 pm

Here is another example of why it is constantly annoying to live in the Philippines. I mean, sheesh, you can't even take a nice relaxing boat trip around the islands without someone trying to scam you! How can you have peace of mind anywhere in the Philippines? Sheesh. I can't figure out how other expats can tolerate this kind of thing all the time! You get sick of it after a while. How can you have peace of mind when low class scum are constantly pulling low class scum tricks like this?


When we were island hopping around Palawan, a bizarre incident occurred. While trying to dock on an island, our boat's wooden wings bumped into another boat that was already docked. As our navigators tried to back up, they bumped into that boat several more times. Then we went on the island to swim, play and take photos.

But when we returned to our boat, our navigators told us that the navigators on the boat we bumped into claimed that a piece of their anchor had fallen off as a result of our boat bumping into them. They said this anchor piece was expensive, so our navigators went diving to look for it, but to no avail. This sounded like an obvious scam. A few slight bumps between wooden wings of a boat is not going to cause any part of a heavy metal anchor to break off. Come on now. Who would believe that? Nevertheless, the crew of the other boat said that they either wanted 1000p for the lost part, or a replacement.

I told Dianne and the two Filipinas we were with (one was my expat friend's date, the other was her friend) that this was an obvious scam. Yet they would not stand up and argue about it. All they would do was summarize what was going on and what was being claimed. I hate how Filipinas do that. When faced with a scam, they don't call out "SCAM!". Instead, they just sit quietly and do nothing except translate what's going on, without confrontation. That's stupid. It's like they never stand up for what's right. I was the only one being outspoken about it. Even my expat friend, who was sponsoring this island hopping outing, did not take sides. He remained neutral and said he preferred to just sit and watch the incident play out between the navigators. After being in the PI for so long, he was unphased by such events.

Whatever was going on, we certainly weren't going to pay for it, since it was our navigators' fault, not ours. So we were not liable for it. I suspect though, that they were hoping that we (especially since my expat friend was a white guy) would offer to pay for the feud, since we had bottomless pockets (in their view).

Still, I didn't understand why our navigators (a team of four Filipino cheerful guys) would fall for such an obvious scam. Were they in on it? Is this a standard ploy they pull on foreigners, each taking turns bumping into each other's boat while docking? Who knows. But the Filipina with us (my friend's date and love interest) told us that she thought the incident was not a scam, simply because our navigators were diving to look for it. I told her that that's not proof that this incident is not a scam. After all, our crew could have been playing along out of politeness, or even be in on it. We simply can't know. But this girl kept arguing with me and wouldn't let me finish my sentences and line of reasoning. I hate it when people are stubborn without a logical reason, but this is common with Filipinas, since they are not reasonable or logical at all, and cannot debate logical arguments.

I kept asking what piece had broken off exactly, but no one could give me a clear answer, since Filipino communication skills TOTALLY SUCKS ASS! I SWEAR! GOD IT PISSES ME OFF HOW THEY CAN'T EXPLAIN SHIT! They kept saying it was a piece of the anchor, but I saw a rope extending from the other boat onto the shore, indicating that an anchor was attached to it which kept the boat secure. It felt like the Twilight Zone again. Here I was asking a logical sensible question, and everyone was ignoring me. Such a bizarro world.

Even Dianne got mad when I kept asking questions that she could not properly answer. I don't know why she wasn't directing her anger at the crew scamming us, instead of at me for asking questions and calling out the scam. It was like she was not directing the anger at the right people. Very weird. But again, in the Philippines, the person making a scene or being outspoken is often seen as "the bad disruptive person", rather than the one trying to cheat, lie or scam you. Very weird. How is being outspoken a bigger no-no, in the Filipino view, than the one who is lying, cheating, and scamming? It's like cheating and scamming are normal and acceptable, but being outspoken and confrontational is not, even if you are in the right?! WTF?! Hence, right and wrong have no value. That's f***ed up.

Eventually, the crew of the other boat simply accepted a promise from our crew to make a new part for them to replace the one that was lost. And we were on our way.

When we got back to the resort that my friend's friend owned, who introduced us to this boating crew, I told the owner's Filipina wife about the incident. She questioned our crew about it, and they exchanged some words in Tagalog. But when I asked her what the crew said, she did not answer me. It's weird how communication here is like the Twilight Zone sometimes. You ask a question, but no one even answers or acknowledges the question.

Back at my friend's house, our girls still felt that the incident was not a scam. Then when my expat friend calmly explained that this could possibly be a scam that both boat crews pull on each other to try to extract extra money from foreigners, each taking turns, and expecting the foreigners (us) to say, "Ah don't worry about it. I'll pay for the missing piece." and gladly shelling out 1000p (I guess some foreigners are dumb enough to do that, so they bank on it, what an insult to our intelligence!). Then the girls said, "Oh I see."

But I don't get how foreigners are able to see through such scams, better than Filipinas are. Are Filipinas really that bad at detecting scams in their own country? Or are they just playing dumb, cause they sympathize more with the scammers than with the foreign victims (us)? Who knows. But it's a disturbing question. I just don't see how some people can have no honor, morals, conscience or integrity. It baffles me. And I hate it too. It annoys the hell out of me (which is another reason why I don't fit in the PI).

(Btw, a black American expat restaurant manager in Angeles City I used to talk to, who had been living there since 1979, told me a few years ago that yes, usually your Filipina girlfriend will sympathize a lot more with a Filipino trying to scam you, than with you, because she shares the same "extract from the foreigner" mentality that he does. Thus, she sees a Filipino scammer trying to cheat you as just a "fellow opportunist and compatriot" so to speak. This is why she often takes his side, albeit in a subtle manner, rather than stand up for you or protect/defend you. That is very disturbing, to say the least. This expat manager I used to talk to was very jaded and cynical, and what he told me was often too disturbing for me to accept. But incidents like this make me wonder if he was right after all.)

I wonder, what do Filipinos usually do when they are confronted with an obvious scam like this? Do they usually comply with it, knowing that they are getting cheated? Or do they contest it? If so, how do they contest it, since making a scene or confronting scammers is seen as "disruptive and out of the flow" in the Philippines? Is there a way to quietly contest something without making a scene?

What do you all think? Was this a scam? Why did I feel like such a "sore thumb" in the group for simply standing up for what's right and for the truth? Isn't that weird? That happens to me often for some reason.

PS - Here below is a photo of our boat next to the one that tried to scam us. Our boat is the one on the right with blue lining, while the scammer boat is the one on the left. Notice the wooden wings on the side of it, and how they can easily bump into another boat's wooden wings while docking. As you can see, the other boat has a rope extending from it to the shore, indicating that it is securely anchored. So what the f**k was broken or missing exactly? I don't know, and no one would answer my simple logical question. (I hate it when I ask a sensible question and everyone ignores me) Now, do you honestly think that a few bumps between the wings of such boats, could cause one of them to lose a piece of anchor that needs to be replace/reimbursed? Isn't that a silly claim? If so, why did our Filipinas not see the obvious absurdity of it?

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Postby C.J. » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:59 pm

Seems like you should have just clammed up and let the monkeys handle their own bullshit. One of your foreign companions knew what was going on and did the right thing. The PI ain't your jungle, it's the other monkey's jungle. You have to know the rules to the territory, or let them do your things for you, in THEIR land.

Your partner probably got mad at you because YOU WEREN'T FOLLOWING THEIR RULES IN THEIR LAND, and she didn't know how to deal with your perception of her land(or your BS for that matter). The black guy was right too. He probably had to learn the hard way too, which sucks. But better late than never.
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Postby Winston » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:18 pm

What rules? What do you mean my BS? I didn't BS anyone!

Do you think our navigators were in on this scam? Is it something that each boat takes turns doing when they have foreign passengers? Were they all in on it?
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Postby Repatriate » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:30 pm

I agree with C.J. they wanted to play out this show so let them do it and just ignore theatrics. I will say that from my experiences when confronted with a scam Thais either ignore the people trying it on (by changing the subject or playing dumb) or just outright delaying payment until they can walk away. SE Asians are all like this. It was likely they were trying on a scam because in a real accident situation boat people tend to know each other well enough to negotiate terms in private.

Your biggest mistake was sitting there and asking questions over and over again like it was an episode of Judge Judy. Who gives a f**k? It's not your imaginary anchor or your problem.

Also, don't feel bad about outright lying to people in this situation. Be sympathetic but if they try to hit you up for cash tell them you left your wallet back in Manila or some shit. If they try to jerk you around then you jerk them around. That's just how it's done in SE Asia.
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Postby philosophical_filipino » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:38 pm

When faced with a scam, they don't call out "SCAM!". Instead, they just sit quietly and do nothing except translate what's going on, without confrontation. That's stupid. It's like they never stand up for what's right.


I cannot verify for certain if it was a scam or not. Maybe, they were trying to hustle you, but the fact isn't clear. But I do agree that Filipinos generally hate confrontation. They would rather be passive and pleasant rather than stand up for what is right. Doing the right thing is very difficult. Filipinos lack the self-awareness and discipline to think for themselves. It's a whole group-think mentality. The mob rule is very prevalent in their regional politics.

It is highly possible they were scamming you because you are foreign. There probably was a conspiracy to rip you off. We'll never know, but it was so well-planned out. Make it look like an accident. You were on your own in that battle Winston. Even though, it seemed like those guys were trying to look for it.

But Filipinos have betrayed their own throughout our history, so I wouldn't put it past them to hustle you.
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Postby Fenix » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:07 pm

Haven't you posted about this before in another thread? Yeah, nothing is going to change my opinion about the Philippines. I don't see anything positive.
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Re: Filipino boat anchor scam in Palawan, Philippines

Postby Zambales » Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:47 pm

Winston wrote:(Btw, a black American expat restaurant manager in Angeles City I used to talk to, who had been living there since 1979, told me a few years ago that yes, usually your Filipina girlfriend will sympathize a lot more with a Filipino trying to scam you, than with you, because she shares the same "extract from the foreigner" mentality that he does. Thus, she sees a Filipino scammer trying to cheat you as just a "fellow opportunist and compatriot" so to speak. This is why she often takes his side, albeit in a subtle manner, rather than stand up for you or protect/defend you. That is very disturbing, to say the least. This expat manager I used to talk to was very jaded and cynical, and what he told me was often too disturbing for me to accept. But incidents like this make me wonder if he was right after all.)



Interesting that you should mention this, Winston. I found this with my ex but not to begin with. On my first trip over to meet her I went to buy some flip-flops which obviously aren't an expensive item so I was happy to pay the price so I was kinda bemused when she started haggling with the seller.

On further trips over, I noticed she didn't really bother haggling and was quite content for me to pay whatever the seller wanted. Even when I negotiated prices for more expensive things like boat trips, she would have a blase attitude and would just tell me to pay the going price.

Disturbing indeed! For a woman who I could have potentially married, her allegiances were with a stranger. Odd behaviour especially as she originally made the effort to haggle on my first trip over. At the time, it didn't cause alarm but looking back, I reckon she was trying to impress and make an effort on our initial gathering then very slowly it went downhill.

I'm not sure all Filipina's are the same though. Your acquaintance is in Angeles where scammers are rife so this could be the typical mentality of one. Perhaps this kind of behaviour is a clue? :wink: My ex was a scammer by the way.
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