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It Stinks

About Steven Macon

Native born Texan. Married to a Filipina for over 20 years. We met in Texas and married there. Moved to Cebu in March of 2009. Balik-bayan status, meaning, we have to leave the P.I. once every 12 months and go somewhere and come back. Originally came here to take care of my 83 year old mother-in-law and some of wife's family but they are all crooks and thieves. Don't have much contact with them now.

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.

Danggit

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.

Lechon

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.


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  • Sandy Young

    You know, Cebu does not look and smell like that all around. You don’t have to force yourself to put up with it if you don’t want to. There are many subdivisions or apartments or condominiums you can move into where well-off families live. They’re expensive but there are affordable ones, and at least you won’t have to worry about bad smells or whatever.

    You wrote this about 2-3 years ago so if you’ve gotten used to the smells by now, then ignore me, but if not… yeah lol just sayin’ 🙂

  • Mr.macon,im s0ry of youre fate,but yes its true s0me families abuse if there daugther married a f0reigner they thnk dey were mili0naire,but n0t all cebuana/cebuan0 are like that.yeah there is negatve at the sme time p0sitve charactr of a pers0n,mybe n0t only in phil,even in othr c0untry.i thnks its betr f0r ur famly to transfr s0me place.by da way im frm cebu also,talisay s0meh0w mybe.peace to all

  • Robert

    I love the Philippines and in the 4 1/2 years that I’ve been married, to a beautiful Philipina, who by the way is a lawyer, who I meet in New York while she was visiting her family here in the states, I’m constantly trying to get back there!! I’m in the medical field and if the military bases were still there it would be a done deal! Just getting ready to leave for my 5th visit and I’m getting depressed. Not for going, but having to come back.
    I’ve never met such a warm culture/people before in my life. I love riding the trikes, jeepneys and have a scooter; I usually go around byself without any fear yet aware that I’m in another country.I have alot respect for these people and their country. Also, trying to learn Tagalog, which they respect.
    I love the smells of the city and all the foods! I’ve smelled worse here in New York. The smog is bad but I usually go down to the country, out of the city, where things are much simplier. I also scuba dive, alot! Balicasag Island, Bohol, is my favorite spot.
    If anyone out there knows about a job for me in the medical field please let me know.

  • esteban

    You just got to live with it steve or move to another place in the Philippines. Why not try Iloilo or Bacolod =) Or better yet Pampanga or Olongapo

    • Steven Macon

      I guess you are right.

  • zgwyneth

    I`m just curious if your wife knows about your blog?

    • Steven Macon

      Yes, she does.

  • ceichor

    The chief export from the is Philippines is prostitution , no secret from the CIA

  • So, Steve, how do you like durian? 🙂

    • Steven Macon

      Nasty stuff. I avoid it like crazy.

  • Nice. Your wife’s relatives will surely freeload on your ass just because you’re white. Sorry, this is reality. Filipinos think all Americans are millionaires. LOL

    • Steven Macon

      Yes, they do. As soon as the word spreads about this attitude of Pinoys, it is NOT going to help tourism in the Philippines. Americans hate to be played for suckers or fools. A strange attitude, indeed, for a country whose main income producing activity, (legal,that it), is tourism.

  • eddie uy

    welcome to the Philippines Sir! 😀

    • Steven Macon

      LOL! Eddie Uy, those are the exact words I use when describing ridiculous daily situations here in the Philippines to my family and friends on FACEBOOK. Example: when we are short changed almost daily by the cashiers in the grocery stores here by 25 centavos or more, I tell my friends back home, “say it with me,friends…Welcome to the Philippines!” LOL!

    • Steven Macon

      Melchor, you live in Falls Church, Virginia. Come over here to Talisay City and walk around with me some time. You will see what I mean. LOL!

      • Mel Alfelor

        Thanks Mr. Macon for the invitation! I will pay you a visit someday. I was born and lived in Manila for more than 40 yrs. before migrating here in US. Just like your experience, I’ve also experienced living and mingled w/ people from the so-called depressed and notorious places in Tondo, Caloocan, Malabon, Pasay and Quezon City. But still I prefer to return and retire there in the future. There’s still the Good Smell of the Phils. that I want to keep w/ me for the rest of my Life. Thanks again and have a nice day!

  • This made me laugh. Thanks for writing it, Mr. Macon 🙂

    • Steven Macon

      Caleb Holden, you are welcome to write your own article. For your information,I graduated in the top 10% of my high school class of 480 students and I had a good grade average in the university I attended, majoring in business administration.

      If you are a Filipino,Caleb, or even if you are not, and you have lived in the Philippines for any length of time whatsoever, you will realize that everything I said in this brief article is true.

      As for screening…..LOL!…I would like to screen a few people here in real life, such as: (1) the two traffic cops that came to our apartment in February of 2011 looking for their Christmas presents because they investigated a simple fender bender accident we had, (2) my first landlord who tried to tap into my water line and electric line for free, (3) the cashiers at the grocery stores who do not give back correct change, with the excuse being they don’t have any small coins, (4) neighbors who seem to think it OK to wail into the wee hours of the early morning “singing” karaoke.

      Rudeness is a substitute word for honesty and reality for some people, isn’t it?

    • mindflex

      Steve posts, Den comments. Eureka!