While I encourage people to travel to the Philippines because of how affordable it is for the Dollar or Euro, I also encourage it for the eye-opening experience some Westerners desperately need. On Tuesday, my mom and I went to the bank nearby to take care of some errands she needed to attend to. While on the way out of the bank, an elderly woman with ragged hair and clothes falling off of her asked me for money. I got into the car, and my mom handed me 20 pesos to give to the woman. 20 pesos, an equivalent of 40 to 50 U.S. cents, can really buy a meal here. On Monday, I got a waffle with mango topping for 10P and a bottle of water for 6P.
After I opened the window and gave her the money, she smiled at me and limped down the street. It was only as she was half way down the crowded block that I noticed she only had one sandal on, and that left foot pointed sharply outward and couldn't be reeled in. I might say that I get used to the poverty here, or at home, but I never really do. I think that would be impossible, or incredibly cold-hearted. My mom sighed and looked out the other window of the car as we tried to back out into a congested, smog-filled street of cars, pedicabs and jeepneys -- elongated jeeps, almost steel beasts, and not one looks like another. "It's the luck of the draw," she said.
My dental work also finished up on Tuesday. After the first day, there was hardly any pain. At one point, my dentist was afraid that I might need a root canal on one of my left back molar, but thankfully, the decay didn't extend to the nerve, and she was able to fill it. In a strange way, I was sort of sad to say goodbye to them. I grow attached easily and I hate goodbyes, so I tend to just quickly say goodbye, or at times, not say goodbye at all, to avoid the awkwardness and sadness of it all. However, the owner of the dentistry office sent my mom a package of goodies, including an ice cream cake. Only in the Philippines will a dentist send a patient an ice cream cake. And I don't say that out of humor, but because that is how generous the people are in this culture. It was sweet, in every sense of the word.