Filipino Christmas Caroling in June
This morning I was sitting on the terrace when some Filipino walked up and started singing. I call it the front porch myself but that might be a phrase from the American South. Since I was out there in my boxer shorts (common here) and t-shirt I didn’t have any cash on me. When they started singing I held my hands up and told them I had no money. I don’t know if they understood.
People that do this do not bother me. I find it an honorable way to make some money. It can’t be a very productive way which would make it hard work. It doesn’t happen a lot but its not the first time. I actually enjoy it. I don’t feel obligated to pay them as I didn’t ask for it.
This particular situation was funny to me because they started signing “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and its the middle of June. As far as I know, the word for Christmas is still Christmas here so they had to know what they were singing about. My guess is it was the only English song they knew.
There was a man with a young child. They clapped and sang. Often the carolers have a hand held device that makes a sound much like a wood shaker would make but they only had their hands. If I had any more, I would have given them a little but not much. A few peso and hope they can get a few more from others too.
The man was wearing dark glasses which seemed to indicate he was blind. He didn’t acknowledge my empty hands but when I got up to go inside, he knew it immediately and walked off. I had stopped to pick up my fan and take it back inside. I usually take a fan with me when I relax on the porch.
I suppose this is a bit of scam that you hear expats talk regarding the Philippines. But come on, all they are hoping for five to ten peso. It takes nearly 50 of them to make a dollar. The dark glasses made it seem a bit scammy but otherwise, I think of it as honest work. They could be out there stealing but they are not. When things are bad, they are out there trying to make money when they may have no other way to do so. There’s nothing wrong with that. I usually sit back and enjoy it and thank them.
Once again, how you feel about the Philippines is about your outlook. You could look at this as an intrusion on your privacy or you could look at it to experience Filipino culture and that’s how I see it. He’s not really begging, they don’t come out and ask for money but they are looking for it. I find it cute and friendly myself.
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