Of Beggars, Panhandlers and Con Artists in the Philippines

It’s around 12:10 pm at my work in Quezon City, Philippines.  Almost everyone was out getting their lunch.  I myself was about to dig into my lunch when a woman came into my office.   The moment I saw her, I knew exactly what she wanted from me.

She walked with a limp.  The fingers on her right hand were all curled up and twisted into each other.  Her shoulders and face were crooked, like she had a stroke or palsy.  She approached me, and in a slurred speech, she asked if I can spare some change.

If I had a customer, I would have given this beggar either a one or five peso coin just so she won’t bother us.  But this time, it was just me.  So, I gave her my usual monologue: “Sorry.  The owner is not here.  I’m just the secretary.  I barely earn enough and I have two kids in school.”  It’s actually believable, because I don’t wear jewelry (except for tiny fake studs to keep my ear piercing from closing up). And though I’m the owner of the company, I often wear the company uniform – a cotton collared shirt with a small logo at front left.  She left.

I had a feeling that she was not what she appeared to be.  Her clothes were somewhat dirty, but they were well-pressed.  My instincts were correct.  A few minutes later, I caught a glimpse of her at the corner gas station.  She was walking straight and tall!  No trace of the disability she had a few minutes ago. It was like a scene out of the comedy movie “Trading Places”, where Eddie Murphy’s character,  a blind and crippled beggar / con artist, regained his sight and was able to walk when he was about to be busted by cops for panhandling.  “It’s a miracle!”

This was not the first time I’ve seen a “miracle”.  There were four before this one.  It was annoying to have been almost a victim of a con artist, but I have to admit it made my day.  Sometimes, the best thing to do is to sit back, put humor into things, think of Eddie Murphy on “Trading Places”, laugh at life.  I might never again experience this anywhere else.

P.S. Just as I was about to publish this post, another person approached my desk.  He had a rosary around his neck.  He claimed he was a faith healer, and he could help cure my dry skin.  I said to him, “No, thank you.  I don’t need it.”  To which he replied, “Why? Don’t you believe in me?”  Gotta love the Philippines.

One Response to Of Beggars, Panhandlers and Con Artists in the Philippines

  1. Not all Koreans think this way, although a nubmer have superiority complex or prejudice towards Filipinos. This is what I’ve observed. Jin Sol Kim or Jenny from PBB teenternational said They have to love their own so that other country will respect them Dahil napapansin nila na mas gusto pa ng marami na magsalita ng wikang Ingles para maging parang Sosyal’. Tapos marami rin daw na gustong umalis at kalmutan na ang Pilipinas. Hindi raw nila nakikita ang pagmamahal ng mga Filipino sa sariling kanila. Marami rin daw, lalo ng sa mga kabataang Pinoy mahilig magchismis ng magchismis at magpatawid ng mga masamang akala sa iba sa kabila ng hindi pa naman nila mashadong kilala ung tao. Tamad daw ang marami sa mga Pinoy at laging nawawala sa lugar ang mga biro di daw malaman kung nagseseryoso ba o nakikipagbiro lamang. Backstabber/Chismoso/Chismosa raw ang marami sa mga pinoy.Bilang isang Pinoy napansin ko rin na totoo nga ito. Nakakahiya nga eh sa totoo lang. Naaalala ko kasi yung mga kaklase at kaibigan ko sa Pinas, napansin ko rin ang pangkaraniwang ugaling ito sa akin at sa sarili ko pang pamilya.Kung meron ang marami sa kanilang may Superiority Complex ang rami rin sa mga Pinoy ang may Inferiority Complex.Ang mga positibong pananaw naman nila ay yung lagi raw tayong nakangiti kahit di sa di natin kilala,at mapagmahal rin sa Pamilya. Ang mga marami sa mga Koryano rin nama’y merong baho, gayon din sa mga Pinoy. Sana magkaayos na kayo jan. Sana maging maganda ang mga pakikitungo Nyo sa isa’t isa.Isa pa na nais kong idagdag mula rin sa mga Koryano na nakahalubilo ko: Mahilig raw sa imitasyon ang mga Pinoy. Sa tingin nya, mas aasenso ang Sangbayanang Pilipino kapag natuto silang kapahalagahan, mahalin at gumawa ng sariling kanila. Kasya puro na lang gaya-gaya.I think if stupid Pinoys will stop making bad assumption towards Koreans even before getting to know them better, Koreans can actually give Pinoys a good lesson about success. And Filipinos can teach Koreans how to be humble and modest in their way of thinking.Pasensya na ha, alam ko na maraming nagawa ang ibang mga Koryano na mali sa Pilipinas pero kailangan ninyong magtulungan sa isa’t isa, dahil naniniwala akong malaki ang benepisyo nito both sa Filipinos at sa Koreans. Da best talaga kapag nagtutulungan ang dalawang opposite. -1

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