“Everything is smaller in the Philippines…but I have a big one.” – Jonel, RC Tanauan.
There are two things that are really funny about that statement: First, Jonel recanted the punch line and went on to joke about use being more important than size. Second, it’s really true.
At 5’8” (5’10” on a good day with padded shoes) I don’t feel tall very often, but in the Philippines I do. I noticed the height difference right away when boarding our (very turbulent) flight from Tokyo to Manila. As I was walking down the aisle a young lady asked me to put her bag up for her because it was heavy and she was too short to reach – easy enough. Another gesture of bag placement made me realize I was useful because I was “tall.”
Of course Filipinos come in all sorts of sizes, but here I am slightly above average height, and I could really get used to that.
The true inspiration behind the size joke came when I asked about the size of one of the cats. I had seen some cats during the day and noticed they were all very small – about the size of a kitten after only a few months. Apparently the majority of Filipino cats are that small, and so are the dogs for that matter. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the cat, but will try to take one before I leave.
One thing that is certainly not small in the Philippines is the hospitality. Everyone has been very kind, and I have eaten more meals in the last few days than I had in the last month. I’ve barely had to pay for anything so far, as the tabs are always picked up by the gracious Filipino Rotarians.
We are only a few days into the trip, but everything is going well and we have already seen quite a bit. I am looking forward to see what the rest of the month will bring.