On a personal level, visiting the Philippines have been a both joyous and frustrating exploration of "letting go". It is a concept I find troubling, especially due to my own control disorder. And in the name of exactly that disorder, I need to stress that there is a big difference between "letting go" and "giving up". Just saying. I am definitely not training my "giving up"-side, but I clearly need to keep practicing my "letting go" skills a little while longer.
When observing the quality of life here, it is easy to feel the need to tell the Filipinos how things should be done, because from a Danish point of view, there is so much room for improvement. But aside from it being rude (and yes, I am well aware I am generally rude - now and all the time), it would be a complete failure for a number of reasons, rudeness not even being one of them.
You can't be too obsessed with details out here. In fact, details doesn't appear to exist. If you order an omelet and get a sunny side up fried egg, just roll with it or prepare to wait another two hours to get an eggnog. You ordered something with egg, you got something with egg, you should be happy.
If something would be expected to take 30 minutes anywhere else in the world, be prepared for it to take two hours here. After two hours, I think it is OK to become impatient - as long as you realize it might not help the least. It is a very different life out here - there is no rush, there is typhoons. There is no point in rushing, especially as you would be the only one - everyone else is busy typhooning (keeping calm and waiting for it to go away).
There is this confusing mix of vaguely expressed and unnuanced personal opinion, with an undertow of self interest, well balanced with humility and best intentions, that seems quite unique. Personal opinion is, of course, very directly affected by the ever present need, but since details do not exist in the Philippines, nuances are rarely a factor in any expression, and their truly honest humility simply prevents them from really cheating you - even when you are clearly either stupid or desperate. On more the one occasion I deliberately didn't ask for the price of a tricycle ride beforehand just to test this, and when asking for the price (when it is in fact too late to undo), I was met with this answer: What you like, sir. Now, I really do appreciate the trust put forward in that response, but I think it also illustrates how hard it is to get a clear answer out here.
I was continuously disappointed and confused with the poor quality and assortment of fruit in the Philippines. Everywhere I went - in the local markets AND in the big supermarkets. How the hell can a country like the Philippines have so little fresh fruit to offer locally and why (the even more hell) is a fruit smoothie made up of 4 different powders and ice cubes, instead of fresh fruit, when I can pick 10 bananas fresh off a tree less than 15 meters away? WTF?
The Philippines is a major Avocado producer, and yet I didn't see even one Avocado during my 3 weeks here. Every single (pitiful small) orange, mandarin or clementine was imported from China. Most Pineapples where simply rotten, right there on the shelf. With all the fruits supported by this climate, I am still looking for a valid explanation, why mangoes, bananas and watermelons were the only fruits of decent quality, regularly present.
(My deeply depressing guess is that the majority of the production is owned and exported by the multinationals)
And ... Catholicism is clearly no ones salvation. Despite intentions it is more likely what keeps the poor in line - in order to maintain the status quo of a privileged few, paid for by the lot. Since I was here alongside both the pope and the Sinolog celebration, meanwhile they were arranging pedigree (or whatever) demonstrations against Islamic Fundamentalism back in Denmark, especially one thing requires a mention: Religious fanaticism is not reserved for Islam. It is equally scary in any dress. And especially so when its followers are scared and desperate.
I really don't have any suggestions for the Filipinos. It's a hard life, keep the good mood. I wish you good luck and hope the weather improves ... soon.