UPDATED Part 2 of Thailand and Philippines similarities – Now for more of the similarities and differences between Thailand and Philippines.
Having lived in Bangkok for 15 years and traveled around the country, I currently find myself in the Philippines for the first time, having arrived one month ago.
One thing that immediately got my attention here was the guards. In Thailand guards are stationed at the entrance of every major building. These exotic-looking guards, dressed in smart uniforms, smile a lot (especially at foreigners like me), but do not carry guns.
In Valencia City on the Philippine island of Mindanao, there are also guards stationed at the entrance of large buildings, but these guards are carrying shotguns. And they are loaded.
The last time I saw this was in the tiny town of Fairview, Tennessee, USA, where I once observed an elderly guard in a bank carrying a loaded shotgun. At least I assumed it was loaded. (Tennesseans don’t mess around, you know). At the time, I thought it was a bit of a redneck thing. Evidently not.
Another difference between Thailand and Philippines, is that in Thailand, whenever you see a group of males gathered around a television watching a sporting event, at least 99 percent of the time it’s futbol (“soccer” for you Americans). The Thais are crazy about the game – which is, of course, the most popular sport in the world. Especially big in Thailand is the British Premier League, and they all seem to have their favorite team – usually either Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, or Arsenal.
Thailand and Philippines similarities ‘differences’,– The Philippines is very unusual in that basketball is the national sport. Oh well, at least the Americans left them something. My first week here I saw a group of young males gathered around a T.V., and out of habit I assumed they were watching a futbol match. When I saw the basketball court, it jolted me out of my Thai dream state – oh yeah, I’m in the Philippines.
I was talking to three Filipinos about the NBA Finals, and they told me they lost money betting on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Well, why on earth did you bet on the wrong team?, I asked incredulously. Didn’t you know Golden State was going to win? Especially with Cleveland’s second and third-best players injured. Besides, Golden State is a West Coast team, and the West Coast rocks! Have you ever been to Cleveland?
Another difference (similarities) between Thailand and Philippines, here is that the Filipinos play a lot of Western music, and it’s actually good Western music. Try finding that in Thailand! When Thais play Western music, it’s usually the most commercial stuff. What am I saying, that the Filipinos’ taste in music is better? Um, basically, yeah.
In various places (restaurants, buses, etc.) I’ve heard things like John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”, a killer Bob Marley song, and other musical gems. The overall quality is just higher. For the record, I do like the traditional Thai music. It’s just that when it comes to Western music, most Thais are pretty clueless.
On bus trips in Thailand, you usually have to contend with Thai music turned up way too loud, or even worse, one of those dreadful Chinese action-movies, turned up way too loud. Here in the Philippines it was such a pleasant surprise to find them playing good, or at least decent, Western music – and at the right volume to boot! This was the case on both of my trips, from Davao to Valencia, and from Cagayan de Oro to Valencia.