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  1. Join Date
    Aug 2003
    here's an article written by a Nigerian, the brother-in-law of Tunde Fafunwa (the COO of BayanTel):

    for reference, Nigeria (home of "dear sir, This is Loi Ejercito-Estrada" scammer emails) is considered the most prosperous and largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa (not counting South Africa, which is virtually First World).

    Surprised by the Philippines
    By Okey Ndibe

    RATHER than head for Nigeria during the last Christmas vacation, my family and I decided to visit the south-east Asian nation of the Philippines. We had planned a two-week stay, but ended up spending four days shy of a month. In the turns and twists of its national drama, that archipelagic nation of more than eighty million people became an education in several ways.

    Why the Philippines, so many friends have asked? Why endure a twenty-hour flight to spend a vacation in Asia? The short answer is that we went to visit my wife's immediate younger brother. In 1999, he left his job with a major U.S. telecommunications company to accept a challenge as a top executive with a Filipino-owned telecommunications firm. Ever since adopting Manila as his residential address, he'd asked us to be their guests. We thought that last December was as good a time as any to take him up on the invitation.

    We left the U.S. in time to escape a record-breaking cold blast. While in the Philippines, I received e-mail messages from several friends back in the States describing the gust of sub-zero arctic weather that had enveloped the east coast of the U.S. While sorry for our friends caught in nature's frigid assault, we were delighted to be ensconced in the Philippines' tropical warmth.

    There was for me a deeper reason for undertaking the trip. The Philippines is regarded by many in Asia and the West as the Asian backwaters, a rare symbol of chaos and failure cast in the midst of Asia's parade of affluent nations. And yet, this was not always the way the narrative was scripted. At about the time Nigeria was coming into self-determination in the 1960s, the Philippines was also receiving attention as a likely candidate for national economic and political success. Like Nigeria, the Philippines has had an intriguing history.

    Colonised by Spanish forces in the 16th century, it fell under American control at the end of the 19th century. The country would only regain a measure of autonomy from the American yoke in the mid 1940s. Under Nigeria, independence came to the country after protracted, and bloody, wars of liberation.

    There are other respects in which the Filipino people invite comparison with Nigerians. Endowed with a large population, the Filipino economy is roughly the size of Nigeria's. In 1998, for example, the country earned $14.5 billion, doing only slightly better than Nigeria in that department. What amazed me was to learn where the Philippines makes most of its income. When I asked my sister-in-law what natural resource the country tapped for its wealth, she let our a deep guffaw. Then she told me that the country's only export was its own citizens.

    It was not, I soon discovered, a joke as I had thought. Far from possessing any dollar-generating natural resource, the Philippines' chief source of foreign exchange is in the form of remittances made by its nationals working in richer Asian nations as well as Europe, North America and elsewhere.

    It is projected that their remittances total between 10 and 12 billion dollars each year. A few years ago, the country's economy was also boosted by Japanese investments in industrial concerns. But over the last ten years, the Japanese have shut many plants, drastically reducing the Philippines' industrial capacity. Despite its reputation as south-east Asia's wretched nation, the Philippines boasts a GDP of about $300 billion, almost three times that of Nigeria. Where Nigeria's per capita income totters well below $1,000, Filipinos have a per capita income close to $4,000. In choosing to spend some time there, I had wanted to find out, first hand, how one of Asia's poorest nations fared when put side by side with Africa's self-acclaimed giant.

    Before arriving in Manila, I had asked my brother-in-law to describe how the Philippines might stack up against Nigeria. In his meditative fashion, he simply replied: "Well, the Philippines is actually like Nigeria, except that things work." With that answer at the back of my mind, I arrived in the Filipino capital with very low expectations. It turned out, as I repeatedly reminded our host, that he had grandly misrepresented the nation. At first sight, Manila could be mistaken as another Third World capital. Its streets are jammed with "jeepneys," stylishly decorated buses that are the Filipino version of "danfo," and "tut tuts," tricycles that reminded me of "okada." The streets also teemed with hawkers, as in Lagos, selling anything from flowers to mirrors. I saw pedestrians who, rather than use overhead pedestrian bridges, chose to risk lives and limbs by racing across the streets. In fact, there was the bustle of shop fronts, the ubiquitousness of sellers, the din of car horns, and the lung-discolouring fumes from exhausts. That was one face of Manila.

    That first impression past quickly. As it did, I began to notice, not the similarity between Manila and Lagos (or any other Nigerian city), but the telling differences. As much as the streets of Manila were crowded, I did not see refuse dumped in public. Instead, I noticed that markets had a pristine look. I saw that refuse bins were placed everywhere to enable people to responsibly dispose of their trash.

    The night we arrived, I asked my hosts how frequently they experienced power failure. Again, I was visited with laughter. Then my brother-in-law explained that four years ago, there were two power outages in Manila within a space of six months. There was such indignation among the populace that the government fired the man who ran the electric corporation. Since then, the city had not witnessed a single interruption of electric supply! We drove to different parts of the city, but I never once saw a pothole. Then we journeyed to the beach resort of Montemar, a trip that took three and a half hours. To my amazement, the roads were in excellent condition all the way.

    When one of our relatives visiting from Nigeria fell ill, we got the opportunity to visit Makati Medical Center. I could not believe the medical collosus that my eyes beheld. This private hospital, which treats several thousands of patients each day, was as equipped with technology and expertise as any American hospital. Its medical staff, mostly trained in the Philippines, conducted themselves with a professionalism that was peerless. The medical complex had many doctors in any area of medicine in which patients required succour. Despite the daily throng of patients (think of as many people as go through Tejuosho market), the hospital was stunningly clean. And this impressive cleanliness extended to its toilets.

    The poet Niyi Osundare once described Abuja as a city of concrete and steel but no cultural harvest. Manila is a city cast in a different mould. Everywhere one looked, there was evidence that this is one metropolis with a sound sense both of culture and history. There are world-famous art museums. There is a war memorial commemorating the founding fathers of the republic. The architecture of the city is literally branded with its history. Driving through the city (and indeed in other parts of the country) one beheld vistas of Spanish, Chinese and American influences reflected in the landscape, monuments and buildings.

    One day, the relative who had flown in from Nigeria turned to me and asked: "Okey, why would anybody say that the Philippines and Nigeria are together as Third World nations?"

    After a pause, he proffered an answer I could not dispute: "Either the Philippines is part of the First World, or Nigeria must now be moved to the Fifth World." He re-considered for a moment. "No, compared to the Philippines, Nigeria is in the Sixth World." It was a painful verdict to hear, but I found it difficult to disagree.

  2. Join Date
    Mar 2005
    kaya pala nauso nigerian bogus bidders sa ebay dahil mas mahirap pa pala sila dun

  3. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    baka kaya pumunta ng pilipinas yan, nagre-research ng pwedeng i-scam :evillaugh

  4. Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Like I mentioned in some of my past posts at various threads, there is quite a number of countries that are worse compared to the Philippines. I can attest to this post because I had the...pleasure of visiting Nigeria for a few days. I tell you, compared to that place, the Philippines is a "paradise" of sorts.

  5. Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Well, there's a reason my family has stayed in the Philippines for so long.

    I'm an American by birth, and I could leave anytime. But although life here is difficult financially, living is not any more difficult than it is in the US (despite the relative differences in income) for the reasonably educated middle class. You work hard, yes... you really can't afford such luxuries as SUVs like the middle class in the US can, but then you don't pay as much in taxes, food is still cheap enough to buy, and public transport doesn't cost an arm and a leg... well, not yet.

    About Makati Med... I laugh everytime I hear the story of some rich person or politician claiming they need to go abroad for operations and the like. We have many great doctors and surgeons here... only the most ridiculously expensive medical equipment is unavailable... and even then, you might find it someplace you were not expecting. I didn't know, for example, that we actually had a particle accelerator at our hospital till my Lolo needed it.

    Life may not be all roses, but it's not bad... politics, crime and traffic notwithstanding.

    Ang pagbalik ng comeback...

  6. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    yup, it is all relative.

    people often fail to see the brighter side of things.

  7. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    The Philippines ain't that bad. It's just politics that's driving us down. Kill the politicians!!

  8. Join Date
    May 2005
    it just doesn't sound right that in order to feel good about what you have .. you have to look at someone who has less ..

  9. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by Mguy
    The Philippines ain't that bad. It's just politics that's driving us down. Kill the politicians!!
    Almost all developing & 3rd-world countries abroad also experience the same level of graft of corruption that we have here.

  10. Join Date
    Oct 2004
    baka naman kasi sa Eastwood, the Fort, Greenbelt 3 at Rockwell lang sya dinadala ng mga hosts nya. hahahaha. at pinipiringan ang mata nya pag nadaan sa ibang mga lugar.

    well, to make him feel better, he should know that the Philippines is not closer to warring african nations than to it's neighbors in the ASEAN in terms of corruption ratings.

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if you think the Philippines is poor..