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Taking photos was a problem in East Africa, it is not a problem in West Africa. However, I have more friend from Uganda who email me than I do from the Philippines. I have friendship with expats here, I do not have any friends here who are Filipino.
I enjoy Africa, the place is alive, the people engage, they are directly passive, not passive agressive like here, more like real men.
I wonder why you do not have Filipino friends Andy? Must be you, you seem to have a supercilious attitude. You can't make local friends hanging out at the VFW with the expats. Don't be so judgmental and immerse yourself in local day to day. Not as an observer, but a participant.
I met a Brit who lived the Cebu a year without talking to another "white". He rented a small apartment in a local baranguay and within a week was adopted by everyone there. He said he had never been happier in his life.
To have friends you must first be a friend.
Like Kind will find like kind, there are no like kind in the VFW. I just talk with them, they are acquaintances, not friends.
I spend about three hours every day calling all my friend around the world on skype.com.
I consider it an insult to say I am the same as the Expats, nothing is farther from the truth.
Filipino people in the immediate area have no education, I have found a Canteen next to the Hospital school with some educated youths and I am slowly meeting friends, but very young for my friendship.
The Lorma Hospital doctors are becoming friends, but there is still a cultural gap.
I have three friends in Uganda, two in Kenya, and many in Guatemala and Peru, I now know with the Hiya why I have few Filipino friends, but let go of this...
I have about 20-30 close friends I call on skype.com, so truly I am overwhelmed with friends of like education, backgrounds and drinking habits... Drinking defines the expats, it is their hobby, but not mine.
Enough, I will say something that makes a Philippines person angry, so I will stop, I truly do not care about the Expats, they just speak English and allow me to speak in a relaxed way.
Yo no quiero hablas espanol.
Je non voule parler francais.
I like to speak my normal English for one to two months per year. Skype is a windfall for friendship.
In the Philippines they are called "prawns" and they get very big. When they have dark stripes they are "tiger prawns".
Be careful when picking out the large prawns for cooking at the restaurants, often times, they will substitute them for smaller ones as soon as your back is turned.
Class example of this happening is in Cebu next to the Magellan Marker. Andy is far, far north of this area, but it will happen everywhere and it is always prudent that you watch them cook what you pick out and not simply retire to a table with a San Miguel and wait to be served.
After soul searching and really trying to understand the country, I know this country has more to offer than almost any country I have visited.
1. 7000 plus Island.
This is like having 7000 little countries, unique cultures.
2. 10 Large Language
10 Separate cultures.
3. Scuba, Mountains, Surfing, Diving, Girls, English
4. MODERN to Primitive in seconds.
The biggest hindrance to travel here is the other Expats focus on explaining how to find Americanize things.
The second is the Philippine people trying to make me believe it is modern.
The great thing about the Philippines is the mix of radically primitive next to radically modern, then the cultural hiya or shame that misguides you along the path to understanding. Learning about this country makes Africa seem simple, there is true change to immerse yourself in the Filipino culture.
I do not see Expats who are immersed.