“You Will Die!” … Over 20 Philippine Pesos

Something I’ve been having issues with since coming to the Philippines earlier this month (and really on every trip to the Philippines before this) is being overcharged.  You can get around that by going to stores where the prices are clearly marked on the items before buying them, but then you miss out on all the good deals keep your wallet thick.  This problem goes for the markets and for services, like public transportation.

If you’re not familiar with the Philippines there are tricycles, which are a motorcycle with a sidecar, that are used for short-range transportation.  The prices are set by organizations and the local government and those prices are posted inside the vehicles with a sticker.  Set routes to neighborhoods outside the town proper are set by the organizations.  Even so, I’m constantly arguing with people that are trying to overcharge me, like I have pesos falling out of my butt every evening and can afford to just give away extra on every transaction I make.

Tonight, we came out of the grocery store with a buggy full of items and got into a tricycle.  We needed transport over about 1 km (or less) of distance to pick up our laundry.  Our bags were too heavy to walk that far, especially given how crowded the streets are in the evenings in Antipolo.  So, the fare should have been 20 pesos.  That’s the standard.  When we pulled up in front of the laundry place, my wife handed the driver 20 pesos and the jackass started demanding 40.  The night before we took the same route and the jackass in that tricycle was demanding 30.  I like to call this the “white tax”.  While arguing with the guy I quickly pulled all of our stuff out of the sidecar in case he tried to take off with our things.  Then we ignored him and went inside.

When we got our laundry we packed it away into a bag we had bought.  We’d actually taken our laundry to the cleaner in black plastic trash bags because we hadn’t found a proper bag for it yet.  When I looked out the window, this prick was still sitting there watching us, as if he expected us to come out and say sorry and then pay him what he was demanding.

I told my wife to ignore him and not give him anything more than what he was owed.  I’m not in the Philippines to make everyone rich at the expense of our livelihood.  So, when we walked out and started up the street, he started his tricycle and shot past us screaming “You will die!”  Ya, good job dude.  We wrote down his plate number and we’re going to report him in the morning.  The fines for tricycle drivers who attempt to overcharge are pretty steep.  I hope he enjoys his 1000 peso fine for trying to be a prick.

When you live on the local economy you can’t afford to let people nickel and dime you to death, and even if I had a huge wad of cash, I wouldn’t be handing it out for free, or to someone who tried to rip me off.  I’m nobody’s chump.

21 thoughts on ““You Will Die!” … Over 20 Philippine Pesos

  1. That's kind of how I imagine it too. They look at me and assume that I must have plenty of cash to spread around, and I'm just holding out on them.

    It's definitely dangerous. That's true. There was a shooting in front of my wife's office about a week ago.

  2. lol, you did experience abusive tricycle guys here in the philippines, not to mention the taxi drivers also. this are some of the cancer of society that need to be addressed. i too have experience this sometimes.

    i just ignore them. but for you, you are foreigner, they look at you like in cartoons, their eyes shaped like dollar signs, or same as how a hungry dude looking at a roast chicken. you should be careful, its a dangerous place out there. =S

  3. lol, you did experience abusive tricycle guys here in the philippines, not to mention the taxi drivers also. this are some of the cancer of society that need to be addressed. i too have experience this sometimes.

    i just ignore them. but for you, you are foreigner, they look at you like in cartoons, their eyes shaped like dollar signs, or same as how a hungry dude looking at a roast chicken. you should be careful, its a dangerous place out there. =S

  4. If you mean Filipinas in SG, then ya, most of them have iPhones or other top-notch phones. In the Philippines though it's common to see nearly everyone using a rather cheap phone, especially outside Metro Manila. Most people carry something that's about the same tier as the Nokia Xpress music phone, or one notch higher. I don't recall seeing anyone checking their e-mail on their phone either. Just texting and taking photos. I think everyone there tries to play down what they may or may not be carrying for the sake of not making a target of themselves.

    I think I know what you mean about Filipinos being adaptive to new information. Something my wife told me is that some Singaporean coworkers she's encountered hardly know what's in their job manual and rarely come up with original ideas. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that 90% of Singapore's innovation, and the only reason it's an economic powerhouse in SEA, is because of foreign laborers / workers / managers / etc. Singaporeans like to consume and regurgitate but don't seem to create much new data. I don't blame the people. I blame the system. Creativity is stifled in Singapore, so this is an expected result.

    As for the food, I can feel the weight gain already. Thankfully I've been working around the house almost every day so I'm getting exercise. I need to start jogging again though. Right now I'm back in SG for 9 days, to wrap up the last of my affairs, and then it's back to the Philippines on the 1st.

    I'm glad you're enjoying reading about the Philippines through my blog. For less personal, more informative style updates, do check out my Philippines blog as well, EverythingButBalot.com.

    I've never been to the UK myself. Only Germany and Holland. I imagine life there is more like life in NYC and other parts of the US.

  5. If you mean Filipinas in SG, then ya, most of them have iPhones or other top-notch phones. In the Philippines though it's common to see nearly everyone using a rather cheap phone, especially outside Metro Manila. Most people carry something that's about the same tier as the Nokia Xpress music phone, or one notch higher. I don't recall seeing anyone checking their e-mail on their phone either. Just texting and taking photos. I think everyone there tries to play down what they may or may not be carrying for the sake of not making a target of themselves.

    I think I know what you mean about Filipinos being adaptive to new information. Something my wife told me is that some Singaporean coworkers she's encountered hardly know what's in their job manual and rarely come up with original ideas. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that 90% of Singapore's innovation, and the only reason it's an economic powerhouse in SEA, is because of foreign laborers / workers / managers / etc. Singaporeans like to consume and regurgitate but don't seem to create much new data. I don't blame the people. I blame the system. Creativity is stifled in Singapore, so this is an expected result.

    As for the food, I can feel the weight gain already. Thankfully I've been working around the house almost every day so I'm getting exercise. I need to start jogging again though. Right now I'm back in SG for 9 days, to wrap up the last of my affairs, and then it's back to the Philippines on the 1st.

    I'm glad you're enjoying reading about the Philippines through my blog. For less personal, more informative style updates, do check out my Philippines blog as well, EverythingButBalot.com.

    I've never been to the UK myself. Only Germany and Holland. I imagine life there is more like life in NYC and other parts of the US.

  6. Yup. I think Ph food is great. I've had it quite a few times in singapore. However, other than my smoking, i'm pretty health conscious and know that Ph food will tend to 'upsize' myself if i don't accompany it with exercise. When it comes to 'figure', i think Thai women are pretty nice. But there is something about the natural looks and figure of the average filipina that appeals to me. I'm not too into the mannequin-like figures of Thai or Sg girls. Seems a bit contrived. But then again, variety is the spice of life, and i'm appealed to by both sylph-like figures and the voluptuous, white and black and everything that falls betwixt – aesthetically speaking of course…i'm no philanderer.

    Good move getting the cheap Nokia. It sort of states that if you aren't up there with the latest phones, then, you might be 'down there' in other things as well – especially since i've seen quite a few filipinas in the past totting phones that outdo mine as would a mac a windows system;) Haha.

    Yes. I see what you mean about the Ph personality. What I like best about Filipino/as is that they can be very warm, friendly, and inclusive. And another thing i really like about them is that they 'process information real-time'. That is, you can come up with new ideas and perspectives and they think about it immediately and their response shows that they have. That is something i've never come across in Sg, and especially if what you say is out of the norm.

    Keep up with your accounts of your experiences over there mate. I suppose i'm living vicariously through you;), and pretty envious. The UK is a different experience altogether.

  7. Yup. I think Ph food is great. I've had it quite a few times in singapore. However, other than my smoking, i'm pretty health conscious and know that Ph food will tend to 'upsize' myself if i don't accompany it with exercise. When it comes to 'figure', i think Thai women are pretty nice. But there is something about the natural looks and figure of the average filipina that appeals to me. I'm not too into the mannequin-like figures of Thai or Sg girls. Seems a bit contrived. But then again, variety is the spice of life, and i'm appealed to by both sylph-like figures and the voluptuous, white and black and everything that falls betwixt – aesthetically speaking of course…i'm no philanderer.

    Good move getting the cheap Nokia. It sort of states that if you aren't up there with the latest phones, then, you might be 'down there' in other things as well – especially since i've seen quite a few filipinas in the past totting phones that outdo mine as would a mac a windows system;) Haha.

    Yes. I see what you mean about the Ph personality. What I like best about Filipino/as is that they can be very warm, friendly, and inclusive. And another thing i really like about them is that they 'process information real-time'. That is, you can come up with new ideas and perspectives and they think about it immediately and their response shows that they have. That is something i've never come across in Sg, and especially if what you say is out of the norm.

    Keep up with your accounts of your experiences over there mate. I suppose i'm living vicariously through you;), and pretty envious. The UK is a different experience altogether.

  8. NiVleK

    Kudos to you Brad.

    I think if I am the one faced with that driver in a foreign country, I might just give him 20pesos to give myself a peace of mind.

  9. NiVleK

    Kudos to you Brad.

    I think if I am the one faced with that driver in a foreign country, I might just give him 20pesos to give myself a peace of mind.

  10. I have an iPhone but I'm afraid to take it out of the house. I bought a cheap Nokia 1616 to use in public, and I often hold it where it's visible, as a sort of “I'm not carrying anything expensive” sign to potential robbers. I've been here quite a few times before this and as long as you stay in crowded, well lit areas you'd be ok and even have a good time I'm sure. There are lots of tourist places to visit in Manila and at the beaches. Check out Palawan and Boracay if you get the chance. You also have to try the local food. It's great!

    I know what you mean about the women. It's assumed that all foreigners have a huge bank balance and the women will come after you because of it. Thankfully, my wife is levelheaded and doesn't throw punches every time some girl here smiles at me or tries to flirt with me. It's bizarre, but understandable.

    As for the average personality, the women, and most of the guys, have been really cool, easy going and fun-loving. They like to share food, stories, and enjoy just hanging out and chatting. They really know how to make you feel at home, sometimes so much so that it almost becomes uncomfortable.

    Thanks for the well-wishes. It's been an adventure so far and I'm sure the good times will keep rolling in.

  11. I have an iPhone but I'm afraid to take it out of the house. I bought a cheap Nokia 1616 to use in public, and I often hold it where it's visible, as a sort of “I'm not carrying anything expensive” sign to potential robbers. I've been here quite a few times before this and as long as you stay in crowded, well lit areas you'd be ok and even have a good time I'm sure. There are lots of tourist places to visit in Manila and at the beaches. Check out Palawan and Boracay if you get the chance. You also have to try the local food. It's great!

    I know what you mean about the women. It's assumed that all foreigners have a huge bank balance and the women will come after you because of it. Thankfully, my wife is levelheaded and doesn't throw punches every time some girl here smiles at me or tries to flirt with me. It's bizarre, but understandable.

    As for the average personality, the women, and most of the guys, have been really cool, easy going and fun-loving. They like to share food, stories, and enjoy just hanging out and chatting. They really know how to make you feel at home, sometimes so much so that it almost becomes uncomfortable.

    Thanks for the well-wishes. It's been an adventure so far and I'm sure the good times will keep rolling in.

  12. Thanks man.

    I thought about it, but if I'm living here then it's no longer a foreign country. I mean, it's still strange and I'll have to get used to it, but if I'm 'home', then I can't afford to let people rip me off all the time. I think most of my problems with this will evaporate when we move to Manila. There are no tricycles there and the other public transportation has never tried to overcharge me. For now, though, I'll just have to keep arguing with these people.

  13. Thanks man.

    I thought about it, but if I'm living here then it's no longer a foreign country. I mean, it's still strange and I'll have to get used to it, but if I'm 'home', then I can't afford to let people rip me off all the time. I think most of my problems with this will evaporate when we move to Manila. There are no tricycles there and the other public transportation has never tried to overcharge me. For now, though, I'll just have to keep arguing with these people.

  14. I wouldn't call it the 'white tax'. Rather, 'foreigner tax'. I've asked filipinas now and then, in the past, about response to myself in the Ph should I go there. It ranged from, 'you can't wear your earrings or they will rob you' or, 'they will steal your glasses'. I suppose that is the reason why i've never gone and don't intend to – though I would love to.

    But if it isn't the people whom are throwing the 'foreigner tax' at you, let's not forget the women – not all of them of course – who also throw the 'tax' at you simply because they are women, give men five minutes worth every now and then – not myself though – and thus expect a constant flow of 'tax' for it. Well, I wouldn't blame the girls entirely. The men ask for it. They are not disinclined to throwing money at them which they deem to be 'nothing much'. And all for what? A kiss, a hug and a you-know-what? So thus they are trained that their smile is worth your bank balance and the men are weak/stupid/horny enough to fall for it. And then, their families can have enough to splash on trivialities and the entire neighbourhood and their pets. Most i've encountered are highly irresponsible with money.

    Now one might think that i've had negative experiences such as that myself. But actually, most of my experiences has been positive. Not because i've met great girls, but because I bring out the humanity in some of them by refusing to pander to that which they are trained to expect by other men – frankly, the best relationship i've ever had in my life was with a filipina (singapore girls?! ugh! 'men in drag' is what i call 'em. They make a good case for homosexuality;)

    But all that said, It's unfortunate. They are vibrant, fun-loving, animated, highly adaptive, communalistic, quite open to learning, passionate in certain things, highly sexual – unlike SG sinicised girls. These are virtues that appeal greatly to myself.

    Unfortunately, embed such a persona within a rubbish economy, the class divide, lawless disorder, such virtues produce perspectives that can be quite exploitative – but not as bad as women from China…a chinese (female) friend once said that whilst Filipinas carry a pen-knife, China girls carry a machete or 'parang', in terms of exploitative attitudes. And pair that with a man who needs to be looked up to for the little that he is, and one who is inclined to think with his other head, and we have a recipe for setting the filipina on a path that leads to the underdevelopment of her otherwise quite deliciously vibrant persona. That is why, when men complain about Filipinas, i often tell ask them if they are not at fault themselves for bringing out the worst in them. To this, they keep silent. I suppose they are accessing the 5th amendment.

    Have a good time in the Ph mate.

  15. I wouldn't call it the 'white tax'. Rather, 'foreigner tax'. I've asked filipinas now and then, in the past, about response to myself in the Ph should I go there. It ranged from, 'you can't wear your earrings or they will rob you' or, 'they will steal your glasses'. I suppose that is the reason why i've never gone and don't intend to – though I would love to.

    But if it isn't the people whom are throwing the 'foreigner tax' at you, let's not forget the women – not all of them of course – who also throw the 'tax' at you simply because they are women, give men five minutes worth every now and then – not myself though – and thus expect a constant flow of 'tax' for it. Well, I wouldn't blame the girls entirely. The men ask for it. They are not disinclined to throwing money at them which they deem to be 'nothing much'. And all for what? A kiss, a hug and a you-know-what? So thus they are trained that their smile is worth your bank balance and the men are weak/stupid/horny enough to fall for it. And then, their families can have enough to splash on trivialities and the entire neighbourhood and their pets. Most i've encountered are highly irresponsible with money.

    Now one might think that i've had negative experiences such as that myself. But actually, most of my experiences has been positive. Not because i've met great girls, but because I bring out the humanity in some of them by refusing to pander to that which they are trained to expect by other men – frankly, the best relationship i've ever had in my life was with a filipina (singapore girls?! ugh! 'men in drag' is what i call 'em. They make a good case for homosexuality;)

    But all that said, It's unfortunate. They are vibrant, fun-loving, animated, highly adaptive, communalistic, quite open to learning, passionate in certain things, highly sexual – unlike SG sinicised girls. These are virtues that appeal greatly to myself.

    Unfortunately, embed such a persona within a rubbish economy, the class divide, lawless disorder, such virtues produce perspectives that can be quite exploitative – but not as bad as women from China…a chinese (female) friend once said that whilst Filipinas carry a pen-knife, China girls carry a machete or 'parang', in terms of exploitative attitudes. And pair that with a man who needs to be looked up to for the little that he is, and one who is inclined to think with his other head, and we have a recipe for setting the filipina on a path that leads to the underdevelopment of her otherwise quite deliciously vibrant persona. That is why, when men complain about Filipinas, i often tell ask them if they are not at fault themselves for bringing out the worst in them. To this, they keep silent. I suppose they are accessing the 5th amendment.

    Have a good time in the Ph mate.

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