This trouble is probably throughout the Philippines. I’d be surprised if is not widespread. Of course the first troubling thing is that they are on the streets. They are just children. Problem is they are often very irritating. I had a self-made rule for years. Don’t give near the place that you live and certainly don’t give to those people that go begging at my front door. It is hard though, to see them one the streets and I know they really are living on the streets because I see them sleeping on the street. I see it almost every night. Also, the trouble certainly does not end with the kids. The adults get in on the action as well.
The problem is once you give they tell their friends and then keep coming back. A bigger problem is they often keep asking if you say “No.” I knew this was going to happen when I broke my rule. I kept the rule in place for the first 10 months or so that I lived in Cebu City. It was less of a problem in Bogo City and I usually didn’t have any money on me to give to them. Yes, give food, I know. Same thing, if you give food they will do the same thing. All I want to do is let them know someone cares so money is fine. I don’t care what they do with it. That’s not important. Knowing someone cares could save someone from becoming very bitter, very hard and in general not a great person to be around.
Hi Friend, Give me Money
Usually the first words you’ll hear are “Hi Friend” followed with “Give me money.” Last night two young boys that live next door came up to I with a hopeful look in their eyes. I said to them “Hi Friend, give me money.” They giggled hysterically. It was funny. I think they are about five years old.
I really like kids and wish I could interact with them but it is best if I just get a hardened heart and ignore them. Best on some levels as they won’t take no for an answer. Once kid actually says “Yes” after I tell him “No.” He really irritates me. He’s quite young. I would guess around seven.
I was amazed at what came out of the mouth of a 16 year old in her skin tight shorts that left few secrets said to me. There is a lot of that but most are barely adults. Am I ever tempted, just barely? Not really, any temptation soon goes away when I remember how much danger there is and how it means absolutely nothing. Not really what I want from a woman. I suppose life would be easier if that was enough for me, it just doesn’t really interest me. She was cute though, I will admit that.
Not long ago one child decided it would be fun to head butt me over and over again. I told him to stop and he did it again. So I smacked him on the head and instantly regretted it. I thought, “Oh great, now I’ll be the one in trouble.” Not a smart move on my part. He didn’t do it anymore and he stopped asking for money too. I still wish I had not done that, it as a huge risk. An expat got into major trouble over such an incident in Mindanao. That child was just being loud or something. The expat said he was wrong but he was shown no mercy by some of the other expats here in the Philippines. Some of them launched attacks on him. On of the attacks on my website. I put up with it for a while but finally deleted all their junk and blocked them. At which point he started writing about me and how I supported that expat that was hated by many. Oh well, just proved I did the right thing. If he would say that about me, proves what he writes is at least sometimes pure fiction. I did not really have an opinion because I did not know really what happened. The expat said he was sorry he did it. They also tore him apart for being with adult women. I don’t know, I think that is pretty normal.
I have taken quite a few pictures of street kids. Sometimes I’ve been called a “pedo” for doing so. Are you out of your mind? You are a sick puppy for even going there. The kids often want to touch my camera, especially the lens. I keep telling them to leave it alone but they ignore me. Very young ones are the worst. I have not been taking it lately, not really in the best mood for pictures. I should go to the colleges to take pictures. That might get me in the mood haha.
Unfortunately, I have not been feeling well. Every month, I get a chest infection now. Doctor says I have chronic bronchitis. I know I could do better on that. I have a chest infection now. I took four days of one antibiotic and thought it was over so I stopped taking them. Five days is the most you are supposed to take that one. I am now on a second antibiotic that I’ve been on for six days. Looks like I’m going to have to go for 10 days on it. I hope that that kills it because I do not want pneumonia again. That was awful.
As much as like to help the kids, I have no choice but to ignore them now. There are still a couple I will give too, one in particular. He is pictured at the bottom of this article. He’s a very well-mannered boy. He always thanks me. Whatever change I have. I gave him a 20 the first time I saw him. He was so quiet and alone. Sad eyes. Wanted to know how he ended up on the streets. He was new at the time. I have not seen him in a couple of weeks.
One night one of them tried to snatch the money from my hand. I really don’t like going out there at night. Not fearful but so many scams. One guy sitting at Angel’s Burgers kept asking me to give him change for P500. I finally told him I did not want his counterfeit money. Was it counterfeit? Probably but I don’t know. The color didn’t look right. Why didn’t he go to the store and buy something with it? Probably because they check.
Frequently, an adult wants to sell me something. Just last night someone tried to sell me a necklace. Probably stole it, I barely looked at it. I had already told him no twice when he shoved it in my face. This was kid. Someone tried to sell me dog collars the other day. He knows I live in a hotel. What did he think I was going to do with that? Mostly, what they are selling on the street is not stolen but pure junk that they try to make you think is the real thing. Pearls are a favorite. I always get this question in the back of my mind, “What if it is real?” Chances of that are very low. Classic con man tactic, appeal to our own greed. One night a guy asked me to give him change for his 500 pesos. I finally told him I did not want his counterfeit money. Something else that I should not have done. Sometimes they do get to me and make me angry.
And there are the girls trying to sell “fun.” The word is so misused here I never ask a Filipina what she likes to do for fun. I was told many times, “I don’t like fun.” That was the early days and before I knew better I would ask that. I had several girls say nothing or I don’t like fun haha. Like the word flirt, it will insult most Filipina. A very cute girl asked me for my number tonight. She claimed she was 19 so I gave it to her. A few hours later she wanted to know if I liked “fun.” I told her “Sure, I like fun. Do you want me to pay you?” Doesn’t matter how cute she is, no way will I do that. I see guys doing it all the time. If you ask me, they are insane. There is no way to know her age or if she has some deadly disease. She’s already blocked on my phone, it’s not for me. I have no interest in that at all. It is generally very cheap from the girls on the street, P500 or about $11USD. She’d probably end up with much more if she just didn’t ask for that.
I should mention something not related to this article. Things are not going to well for me and Jhen. I think it is over now. She’s good to
me when she’s here but she disappears a lot and I got tired of that. Tried to work it out but she kept on disappearing. So I think that is dead now. Too bad. She was not with me for money at all. That was very nice.
[Update, or so I thought. I have much more money now that she is gone. She never asked for any but that doesn’t mean she never got any. It is for certain over now.]
As for the street kids, I want to help them. I also do not want to be mistaken for an ATM every time I walk out the door. They have almost stopped asking. I noticed they were going to get young women to ask after I turned them down. I turned them down too. It has almost completely stopped now.
A little bit after I wrote most of this, a kid passed by said “Hello friend” and tried to give me money. I see the kids sharing money they manage to collect all the time. Of course, I didn’t accept it. I found it interesting. They are not bothering me as much as they were. I gave them money and started a landslide. It is letting up now. I want to help but it gets out of hand fast.
As I write this my internet connection is down. I can’t post it. I can’t sleep and I need to stay awake so I can get my room cleaned. But I’m bored out of my mind with no Internet. Hmm, maybe I should turn on the TV or try to sleep. I wonder where the remote is. Jhen is the only one that ever watched it. I prefer Netflix and she watched the same Filipino movies over and over. I can’t understand a word. The plan for tonight was to stay up all night so I could get my room cleaned in the morning. I’ve not been able to sleep before the sun comes up for the last few days. I hate it but there is nothing I can do about it. Bad part is sleeping all day. Can’t get anything done on this schedule.
[Update, I wrote most of this a month ago. The Internet was down for three weeks.]
[Update: After posting this all the negative comments made me realize, I need to help them. I mean people being negative about helping them with the idea they should “Pull themselves up but their bootstraps” kind of thinking. That requires living in a condition that removes you from complete and total misunderstanding of what the situation is.]
For some real insight into how these kids live read this story. The following picture was showing there and there are more. Try eating while looking at them.
Feel free to let me know about your encounters with the street kids or anything else related to the Philippines. Use the comments below, they are always welcome. All of the pictures on the kids were taken within the last couple of months. Just outside my hotel door.
Filed under: Cebu Philippines
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