Metro Nalang

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After a client arrived here in February, 2004, he and I were discussing the cost of going from the airport into Cebu City, via taxi. The fare to his destination, at that time, should have run no more than around Php 150, had the driver been using the meter. However, when this gentleman arrived at the airport, the driver of the taxi he boarded told him, "Flat rate Php 300, sir." He paid it without question, due it having in it set in his mind that it's only $6.00 USD (roughly calculating the exchange rate figure in his head). Well, let me tell you, that is a quick and easy way to spend every centavo here that you have to your name.

 

I know some foreigners who retire here living on very high budgets. For example, I know a number of them who spend $3,000 USD to $5,000 USD per month. I could live in many western countries on that budget, certainly here! Now, most retirees who live here are no where near that in a monthly budget. They would be living on $1,000 USD to $2,000 USD per month, more than likely.

 

So, maybe the "higher scale" fellows don't care about how much something may cost them, and are willing to pay that amount without saying a word. Many tourists who are here on holiday feel the same way, I have learned. Fine. Have at it. Knock yourself out, fellows. But, Filipinos are not going to have a drop of respect for you when you do that, ever.

 

Of course, I realize that some guys visiting don't care if Filipinos respect them or not, but I do. Not to mention, when a few start paying exorbitant and inflated rates, businesses, like the taxi industry for example, will begin "assuming" that all foreigners are ignorant of how things go here, and what prices should be paid for a given service.

 

Some fellows here, even a few millionaires I know, do follow the good advice though. Do note, this advice doesn't necessarily come from me. (I don't claim to be the world renowned know-it-all on information concerning the Philippines. Nor would I ever be so arrogant as to make such a statement with that in mind. However, I'm damned sure learning fast. That is a fact.)

 

Yes, I know Filipinos set the amount initially, and would be very happy to accept every centavo that you agreed to, plus a tip. However, it's up to you to be firm concerning what you are willing to pay for a service here, in many cases anyway. Taxis are one of those services. In the above case the guy should have told the taxi driver, "Metro na lang," but was ignorant of how to go about this.

 

Upon stating, "Metro na lang," you are telling the driver that you are only willing to pay only by meter, which is the way it should be. The driver is, most likely anyway, going to reply with, "The dispatcher sets the fee," or "Flat rate only." However, you have to be firm with people, in your negotiations. If they do not want to charge you by solely by the meter, get out and find another taxi that will. It's that simple. Just because you have recently arrived here with a handful of Pisos in your pocket, doesn't mean you have to give it all away, and certainly not in a foolish manner. So, do think about how you want to spend your money here.

 

Another page you can view, in order to gain even a better perspective of what I'm talking about, take a look at It's only a dollar.

 

Would you like to learn the language spoken in Cebu and elsewhere in the Visayas and Mindanao Regions of the Philippines? If so, this is an excellent introductory book for you to begin learning the basics of Cebuano.

 

The book is titled Conversational English-Cebuano Made Easy, by Cristina Canonigo, a Filipina who has authored more than 100 books, to date.

 

An earlier version of this book, the 2001 edition, is the version I used to begin learning Cebuano when I first moved to Cebu. It was a great first book for me. I assure you, if you spend a few minutes per day with it, you will begin to learn Cebuano as well.  read more...

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Revised: 09/16/13 14:16:11 +0700