.One insightful conversation with Filipino Cab Driver.


Not all those who wander are lost – JRR Tolkien

Last Sunday, to end our Manila trip, we stopped the cab in front of our hotel in Araneta Center area to take us to NAIA airport. After a little communication issue with the driver, I finally said “I’m sorry I don’t understand, we’re from Indonesia.” Many Filipino confused us with their own people, so they are all using tagalog when they communicate with us. Well, Asian people look similar.

When the cab driver heard that we are Indonesian, he was smiling and replied: “Indonesia? Apa Kabar?” I was surprised. Later he shared that he was once worked for a joint venture company in Kalimantan. They took fish from our sea and sold it to Hongkong. He worked for almost 8 months before he traveled to South America, Europe, Etc. It’s funny to find someone who can speaks Bahasa Indonesia and most time he asked and told story in Bahasa. He was sharing his love for the late Poppy Mercury and her song, Surat Undangan, and he talked about how beautiful Indonesia and its women are.

He also complained a bit about the government of Philippines and its corruption issue. I gave him my take on that, I said that Indonesia has the same issue; corrupted government who are not paying attention to the welfare of society. He looked surprised, “But many Indonesians are Moslem and Moslem do not corrupt.” Anggie replied: “Well, corruption doesn’t depend on the religion. It depends on the people. No matter what their religion are”. We were all laughing.

We were also talking about government take on fuel price. I said that our society have been spoiled by cheap fuel price and when the government want to relocate the subsidy for the other sector, the people are furious and going on strike.Well, at least you have cheaper fuel price, ours is twice your price. The Philippines government should do something about it. Philippines is a rich country, but money is bucketed only for some powerful people. Everything is expensive nowadays.”, so he said.

It was a refreshing moment to meet a stranger and talked about daily issues of developing countries. At least, we are sharing our point of view and nothing is right or wrong. It just feels good to communicate. By the end of the conversation he gave us some inputs; for us to take lessons from every place we go and take the good example to be implemented in our own country.

Oh, his name is Mr. June Bala. A 65-year old divorcee who’s working both as a cab driver and supporting actor in some local series in Philippines. He has 6 kids and loves action movie. He complained about Philippines’ local series which are all love stories and have less action. He blamed gay directors who are behind all those trends. “Gay people don’t know how to fight and make good action series”, he continued. We were all laughing when he said that.

That was one insightful ride on the cab. He gave me his number if one day I would go back to Philippines. Said he will take me around the beautiful islands.

Jakarta, 21 May 2012

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One comment

  1. Miguel · May 24, 2012

    You were lucky. Most of the cab drivers here in Manila take advantage of foreigners. Tampered meters, overcharged fares.

    He, I must say, is very much different from all the rest.

    Hope you had a good stay in the PH! :)

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