I first arrived in Manila on vacation from Singapore after my first contract on ships in June 1991 , I left the country march 2011 .
Anyone who has been in the Philippines lately may recognize the new meme going around, “More fun in the Philippines”. The meme has gone crazy and can be heard and seen everywhere.
Credit to the start of this new favorite phrase is given to the DOT or Department of Tourism, which started the meme as a way to attract new tourists to the Philippines. The DOT has been pushing this meme since January 6th of 2012, and needless to say, the meme has certainly taken off!
The people’s support of the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” meme has resulted in many people contributing pictures , using the meme in business and daily conversation, and much more. Video, pictures, audio, you think of it, and there’s someone out there that has put the meme to use in it.
What is a meme?
When doing my research for “It’s more fun in the Philippines” at the DOT’s official website, I realized that they kept referring to the phrase “It’s more fun in the Philippines” as a meme. I had never heard of a meme before, and I was curious as to whether or not I had stumbled upon a new Taglish word.
It wasn’t hard to guess that a meme is a phrase or quote or something similar, but knowing the Philippines as well as it’s culture, I took the opportunity to research the word, meme. As it turns out, a meme is actually English (although that would still qualify the word as Taglish). A quick search on google, brought me to a Wikipedia article that defined the word.
A meme ( /ˈmiːm/; MEEM)) is “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.
The definition certainly fit, and I now knew what a meme was. As a good example, for those of you who are young enough or “cool” enough to be in the know, a current meme frenzy that has been going viral within the United States for the last three or four years have been about Chuck Norris.
At first glimpse, the Philippines may seem like either a modern or advanced culture, or to some, it may seem like a backwards, third world country. Although there are many American type of advancements and amenities, anyone who looks closely enough will see that the Philippines is actually a distinct culture of it’s own. I guarantee there is no culture quite like the Philippines, and it really is more fun in the Philippines!
Driving. More fun in the Philippines?
Wanting to stick with the spirit of the Philippine’s official meme of “It’s more fun in the Philippines”, I decided to pick out one of the things I found particularly interesting in the Philippines. I also wanted to throw in a little humor. (Pinoy driving is CRAZY!) If you’ve visited the Philippines, specifically Metro Manila, you will quickly notice that traffic and driving is very different here in the Philippines. It’s so different in fact, that I would never attempt to drive here unless I was navigating on a scooter.
For those who grew up here, driving in the Philippines wouldn’t seem so scary. I however come from a small town outside Geneva and have only had to deal with that kind of traffic when I was young .
First and foremost, the difference in driving here is not just the squeezing of eight lanes of traffic into 3 lanes, but rather the way you drive. In Switzerland , you are taught to drive “Defensively” whereas in the Philippines, you must drive “Offensively”. For example, If you sit at an intersection waiting your turn to get into the flow of traffic, you will never go anywhere.
Another big difference in the driving is how close vehicles travel together. I’ve experienced tricycle rides where there is only half an inch between you and another vehicle and the drivers fly right past each other without a second thought. Add to this “too close for comfort” driving the ignoring of right lane and left lane rules, as well as many stop lights, and just about any other traffic law, and you’ve got a three ring circus for travel.
Driving is not necessary in the Philippines
A better meme would have probably been “Riding. More fun in the Philippines”. One of the nice things about living or staying within the Philippines is that fact that you really do not need to drive. As a matter of fact, most Pinoy don’t drive! Driving here can not only be crazy, but buying and maintaining a vehicle of your own can be cost prohibitive. Most natives make use of walking, bicycling, tricycles, jeepneys, taxis, buses, and other forms of commercial transport.take note I had a Pinoy driving license since 1998 , and without lesson or any guidance I passed my Swiss driving license last June ! Manila driving classes .
Just make sure that if you foreigner taking a taxi to request the use of the meter only. You can request the use of the meter by saying “meter lang”. If you are going to travel by taxi, don’t let the taxi driver argue with you about using the meter. By law the taxi driver must use the meter when requested. If he refuses, simply get out of the taxi and get another.
The craziest time ever to hit the road in Manila is December , it's just one big large parking lot ! You can't imagine it till you seat at the wheel in your car at 6 pm on Edsa and think ! What the hell is going on !