We Filipinos continuously pride ourselves on our so-called “Filipino world-class hospitality” — we like to say that we’re the most hospitable race ever, always so generous to each and every one of our guests! Hence, it isn’t such a no-brainer why we believe our country is suited for tourism, as we go to lengths to make our visitors welcome during their stay.
And then, there’s our humor. As well-meaning as we may be, we Pinoys have a lot of self-deprecation in our humor, and so “teasing” someone about their physical attributes or characteristics (“Balyena”, “Baluga”, “Intsik baho” come to mind) is pretty much harmless. What we seem to be unaware of, however, is our tendency to be unintentionally casually racist and discriminating.
So it’s not so hard to see, really, when someone outside our culture comes to visit and comes across this aspect of our culture, it can be jarring and offensive. Take Youtuber Elayne Peddy from the United Kingdom, for example, who recently visited the beautiful island of El Nido, Palawan — named as the best island in the world– and though she found the Philippines to be a “truly beautiful country” with our blue waters and pristine natural resources… it wasn’t enough for her to refrain from referring to her trip to the country as her “worst holiday ever”, being called by locals as a “fat ugly monkey”, “big black fat girl”, among other names.
Watch the video here:
The Youtuber teared up in her video as she recalled being asked to “pay twice because I was fat, fat” and that she’s never been so disrespected in her life. Elayne also said that her trips to Cebu and Manila were fine, but the four days she spent in El Nido were the worst.
Whether this was just all a case of cultural difference or not, I’d like to offer my sympathies to Elayne over the mere fact that she had experienced discomfort during her stay in the country, as Filipinos are truly kind at heart.
Still, respect for one another should resonate above all.
Thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!