Pinay Diaries: While Inside a Cab

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

ON AN errand to the Philippine General Consulate here in Dubai, I had the luck to ride in a cab driven by one of the most entertaining taxi drivers I have ever met. He appeared to be a bit past middle-age and he spoke in this low, gravelly but animated voice.

"Hello Kabayan! Saan punta mo?" It was not very surprising to meet an "ibang lahi" who apparently had a grasp of the Filipino language. Around here, there are a lot. But what pleasantly took me by surprise was his beyond-standard knowledge of the places in the Philippines.

"From where are you my friend? Benguet, Abra, Baguio, Occidental Mindoro, Cebu Zamboanga?" And he went on rattling these towns and provinces back home. "Have you been to Luneta Park, Divisoria, Quezon City?"


Obviously he was trying to impress me with his vast knowledge of our country's places. He did not fail. I assumed he had visited the country but I was wrong. Now I was even more impressed. Evidently, he has a lot of Filipino friends.

He continued to talk about how much he liked us. He even ticked him off his five fingers. In his lilting English, he said, "Number 1, Filipinos are very clean. Good smell always. Two, they are very nice and friendly. Third, they make very good kwento, always stories, good ones. Number four, they work very hard. Number five, so many more reasons." I tell you, he just made my morning. I thanked him and asked him where he's from. He said, "I'm from Batangas my friend." He chuckled as he then answered that he's from Pakistan.

There's also this East Indian guy whom I chanced upon a couple of times for random car lifts. He speaks Filipino in full sentences and plays only OPM songs in his car stereo. He's familiar with Aiza Seguerra and other prolific Pinoy artists. Asked about his proficiency about the language and even Pinoy pop culture, he says his customers are Filipinos. He drives only for Pinoys as he claims we are clean, respectful, kind and even generous tippers.

True, we have our quirks and imperfections as a race. So it was a great boost to the heart and Pinoy pride when you get to personally hear from other nationalities these unbiased, laudable characteristics that we inherently possess. For people like these two who had engaged themselves in a bit of our culture and to unhesitatingly speak how in awe they are at Filipinos, it was saying a lot for me. It is heartwarming to note that wherever we are, we are cultivating these Pinoy-unique values that other people get to admire and recognize us for.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 03, 2014.


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