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bmcq
04/06/2003, 07:25 AM
Your article on the trip to the Phillipines was very interesting and brought back a lot of memories. As I sit here on this bright , sunny Sunday morning reading this article I recall the year I spent at Subic Bay in the early 70's. I see that nothing has really changed. I was in the Navy at the time and unlike most of my fellow sailors, I spent a lot of my off time in the "provinces" actually meeting the people and seeing their way of life. I see "Jeepneys" are still the main mode of taxi transport and wages have not seemed to increase. I have told stories of my adventures to my wife and daughters over the years, and this article really helped to reinforce those stories. I only wish I had been more into reefs then, as I spent almost 2 years stationed in various places around the Pacific.
Your article also portrays a very real understanding of the way of life for these people. The people I met there were for the most part very hard working and very inventive. You had to be because of the very low income rate. I believe more Americans should be exposed to more of this type of culture ..... it sure makes life here seem a lot less petty! The next time they want to complain about their low income or not being able to afford that high dollar home or car ..... they may think twice about what they already have!!!!

mkirda
04/06/2003, 10:12 AM
Originally posted by bmcq
Your article on the trip to the Phillipines was very interesting and brought back a lot of memories. As I sit here on this bright , sunny Sunday morning reading this article I recall the year I spent at Subic Bay in the early 70's. I see that nothing has really changed. {Snip}
Your article also portrays a very real understanding of the way of life for these people. The people I met there were for the most part very hard working and very inventive. You had to be because of the very low income rate. I believe more Americans should be exposed to more of this type of culture ..... it sure makes life here seem a lot less petty! The next time they want to complain about their low income or not being able to afford that high dollar home or car ..... they may think twice about what they already have!!!!

I couldn't agree more. Seriously, I think everyone should see the world, and should especially visit these poor areas.

You could literally fly into Manila, be dropped down into one of the many malls, and get the impression that the Philippines is a rich country. Heck, I think their malls are nicer than all the malls around greater Chicagoland, with maybe the exception of a few areas on Michigan Avenue. But it would be completely wrong- There is some wealth, but it is so concentrated that it is unbelievable. You need to go outside Manila and see the real life.

Subic is still there, and operating as a resort now. Many of the homes are now summer cottages. Lots of companies have set up factories there- they can sail in parts duty-free, then export the manufactured goods, all using cheap Filipino labor. The areas around Subic suffered greatly with the Pinatubo eruption and the base closure. Only now, a decade later, have they started to get back to earlier income levels.

Seriously, if you ever can, you should take your family back there. It is a real eye-opener! I'd also recommend that you visit Palawan and/or Coron. The landscapes are incredible. Plus the hotels are inexpensive.

Regards.
Mike Kirda

MattBeaman
04/07/2003, 08:56 AM
Mike

just wanted to say thanks for a thought provoking and empathetically written article. Enjoyed reading it thoroughly.

Cheers

Green Lantern
04/07/2003, 05:42 PM
I just read the article finally (I've heard hints of it on reefkeepers for a while now) and was really impressed. Hats off to you, thanks for the in depth look at the reality of fishkeeping.

AnnArborBuck
04/08/2003, 11:34 AM
I would also like to say thanks for such a great article. Great read and very informative.

Jamesurq
04/09/2003, 08:27 AM
Wow - Excellent article, great pics and an insiteful view on the other side of the hobby. Now I know why the prices from the origin are so incredibly low - it all comes down to screwing over the little guy at the bottom of the food chain. They must be taking notes from watching American businesses work!

Seriously a great read. Thanks!

mkirda
04/09/2003, 08:58 AM
Originally posted by Jamesurq
Now I know why the prices from the origin are so incredibly low - it all comes down to screwing over the little guy at the bottom of the food chain.

James,

In some ways, parts of the Philippines, especially those far away from Manila, are still just getting introduced to the market economy. Many rural areas are still filled with subsistence farmers- there are no jobs to speak of, other than building your hut and tending your crops and animals. It is a very simple life, living off the land, and in many ways, hasn't changed much in centuries. Heck, in many parts of the world, life is like this- Americans tend to forget this fact.

At any rate, when these people begin to move to working a job for money, historically the wages are really, really low. The Philippines is no exception here. Heck, the US is no exception. Look at land prices in NYC vs. rural Iowa... Or housing prices in the city of Chicago vs. on the fringes of greater Chicagoland...

Sometimes the people are exploited, and sometimes not. Sometimes the distinction is not all that clear, not that black and white. I do sympathize with the collectors in Palauig, but realize that they have some comforts. They are not that bad off in comparison to other groups I have seen.

I will likely write another article about the collectors in Coron I met with- The situation is very different. The contrast will likely surprise many of you...

Regards.
Mike Kirda

Fredfish
04/11/2003, 11:45 AM
Great article Mike. I am looking forward to the next one.

I agree with you on our warped perspective of what poverty is here in North America. My parents and grandparents grew up in Europe (Germany and Austria) so I grew up with their many stories of the times. I have a healthy respect for the increadible abundance we have in our lives here compared to so many other places.

Thanks for the great read.

Fred.