When I first moved to the Philippines, it was not the unbearable heat and humidity that I first noticed. It was not the incredible rudeness of the tricycle drivers and taxi drivers. It was not even the total lack of any noticeable and observable traffic laws. No, it was the smells of the Philippines that first assaulted my senses.
I distinctly remember smelling someone cooking danggit when I got here. Oh….my….God! I sincerely hope it tastes better than it smells because it smells like someone cooking their underwear or perhaps their dirty socks! Next came the exhaust fumes. I tried riding all cramped up, (I am 6 feet tall with long legs), on a tricycle and I thought I would pass out from the exhaust fumes of all the cars, trucks, buses, taxis and other tricycles. (Does anyone even TRY to comply with air quality standards in the Philippines?)
We moved into a cheap bungalow apartment and then I got to smell all of the dog crap everywhere from all of the stray dogs running around. Umm…anyone in the Philippines ever heard of a LEASH LAW, for God’s sake? Why don’t the owners of these dogs keep them penned up or something instead of just running loose crapping on the streets? I don’t get it, at all.
Out on the street when I would summon up my courage and go walking, I got to smell charcoal, LOTS of charcoal. It seems to be the preferred method of cooking for street vendors and a lot of the lower income folks. Well, charcoal is not so bad, I told myself..but when you mix that charcoal smell in with the dog crap, sweaty bodies, danggit and exhaust fumes…well…LOL!…it becomes a test of physical endurance to see just how far down the street one can walk without passing out and becoming unconscious on the sidewalk.
Some smells I actually like. I like the smell of lechon cooking. I like the smell of chicken cooking on a spit over coals. I like the smell of bananas.
I know what someone is about to say, so let me say it for you, “Well…spoiled American, if you consider yourself so much better than we Filipinos, why not just go back home where you came from?” There, I said it. Sorry, Pinoys, I am probably here to stay. I am 59 years old, retired from a job in Dallas, Texas in the automobile insurance business. I like the cost of living here much better than the inflated cost of living in the U.S. A., thank you. I like most of the foods in the Philippines, believe it or not. I like Filipino women. Oh my goodness! The women of Cebu are gorgeous. Don’t you agree? Yes, I am married…to a Cebuana..for over 20 years now and I love her dearly but I am not blind. LOL!
I have many good friends here now, some American and some Pinoy. Like I said, I am probably here to stay so I guess the SMELLS of the Philippines is just something I will have to get used to and put up with.