I have always known it exists, but I tried to push it aside.
My first trip to the Philippines was arguably my first to true income disparity/class warfare where you simply could not hide it.
Mind you As I stated I know it exists but never to this extreme. So in 2007 I would find myself tossed right into the mix of elitism at its greatest, and I had no Idea it was coming.
I had been encouraged by my GF at the time to visit the Philippines version of SeaWorld, a little place called "Ocean Adventure Park" in Subic Bay. Going to the park was not something high on my list of things to do as I generally dislike being surrounded by people, hard to avoid in the Philippines to be honest.
So there I am, buying tickets and my GF gives me the big eyes and the "It is my dream to swim with Dolphins" statement. Now it was expensive, some 85 dollars per person to do this, and I am a frugal traveler so I tried my stance against, and of course lost as usually happens in the battle of men vs women. With a Grimace I coughed up the extra dough and into the park we went.
Mind you this ended up being an Amazing adventure, not only were there Dolphins involved, but False Killer Whales as well. I was thinking this would be a bit more fun as Dolphins in my mind are merely Pirate food :O, but whales are cool!
While we were getting ready there were two other White guys and their families. Of course it made sense only other whites would be able to do this as most Filipinos earn around a dollar to seven dollars a day, depending on if they live in the city or in the country.
They relaxed me a bit by telling me "We do this all the time, it is very fun for everyone" so that helped.
While we readied, we talked about our lives a bit. I mentioned I was self employed and had Heavy Equipment so was instantly one of the boys.
We laughed, had a grand time and off we went.
The adventure was amazing, We would get to hold onto the Whales fin as they swam us to a dock as well as do tricks with us, absolutely incredible.
We laughed, chatted it up and headed to the Photo Shack to get some CD pictures of our encounter.
Standing in the shack they started to make comments about the locals working there "Can you believe they cater to us for a dollar a day?"
"I know, pathetic isnt it?"
I am starting to boil, I am not one to put anyone down for working, especially those living in abject poverty who have to work for a mere pennies just to find a mea to survive upon.
So I say "Whats wrong with them working? They have little choice after all"
One of them says "Well it is just pathetic to have to do this kind of work"
Ohh I am getting miffed "Now hold on here" I say trying to be calm "I grew up on a small ranch and my first job can arguably be said was logging" I took a deep breath "I have washed dishes, toilets and anything else to make ends meet"
Surprised I am then asked how I got my business.
"Well" I replied slowly "I built it up with lots of long hours and hard work"
They looked perplexed "But how did you pay everything off?" They asked.
"Dedication and devotion, I focused on not giving away my money so it would give me an easier life"
That was it, end of the conversation, they refused to look at me again. I made sure to tip well and to as always, thank each and every worker there who had been part of a wonderful experience, which undoubtedly infuriated them even more.
Nothing new with me, I always, ALWAYS try to thank those who work the hardest, if I see you cleaning public Urinals I will thank you and truly mean it. You are making life liveable for the rest of us.
You see this is the problem, they born into wealth assumed all others who had to work for it are vile wretched beings. Not true, like anyone else they are still human beings, susceptible to a death just as everyone else. We do not get to choose the lives we are given, so why not take the time to treat each and every person like the Human being they are?
Maybe, just Maybe if we started treating each person like a living breathing creature who just wants to Fish Fuck and Eat like everyone else, we would be far, far better off with less conflict and hardships all the way around.