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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You Do What to Your Cars in the Philippines?

You Do What to Your Cars in the Philippines?

Here's an interesting story my friend shared recently:

A friend and his family traveled to New York for the first time and they rented a car to move around the city. They decided to go to a strip mall but found it difficult to find a parking spot. At last, a spot opened, but it was a very tight squeeze. My friend's brother got out of the car to facilitate the parking process. You know how Filipinos rap the side or back of the car to signal collision distance? Well, my friend is not the best of drivers so the brother had to use an excessive amount of rapping and re-rapping before they were able to park. By the time they finished, a small crowd of locals had gathered, no doubt wondering what these tourists were up to!

The first time you travel to a foreign country, you will notice similarities and differences from your own country. For instance, most McDonalds look remarkably similar, from the general layout to the menu. But order a cheeseburger meal in America and you'll find that the portions are twice the size compared to the ones in the Philippines. The American cheeseburger meal can probably feed a small Filipino family!

Reverse the situation, with foreigners visiting the Philippines, and they will experience their own brand of culture shock. After a visit to Jollibee (a Filipino version of McDonalds), some typical comments from foreigners include, (1) why is there thousand island dressing on my burger, or (2) what exactly are the ingredients in a Palabok Fiesta, or (3) why are there hotdogs in the spaghetti?

As my friend in the initial story found out, these cultural differences can be a source of hilarity, bewilderment, or amazement. The best reaction is to just go with the flow and return with a new story to tell back at home. The locals will probably have their own stories to tell, as well.

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