Filipinos are inconsiderate: noise pollution

“Contestant number 1!!!!” *screaming people and loud obnoxious dance music in the background* The noise died down. Seconds later, a singing (screaming) child belted out a really bad rendition of some diva song. While hearing these sounds through my 33rd floor windows, I was stuffing my face full of McDonald’s to calm my angry heart. When in Manila, prepare for noise.

Zoomed in on the festivities below, from the 33rd floor.

It was stupid of me to think that I will be protected from noise at this towering height, but this is the Philippines, specifically, Manila. This is a city with the highest population density in the world. This is a city filled with Filipinos who equate noise with happiness.

Filipinos and Their Love of Noise

Fiestas happen left and right in the Philippines. It is considered a major form of entertainment in rural areas and an acceptable excuse for having another celebration (not counting birthdays, deaths, baptismals, weddings, religious occasions, etc.). Palm trees and various vegetation cover the land and dampen the sound. Swaths of land are used for farming, leading to low population density and decreasing the chances of having UNLIKE-minded people around.

In a tightly-packed city, fiestas can be considered a nuisance. Various people from different ethnicities and backgrounds rub elbows and live on top of each other. Not everyone considers fiestas enjoyable. Some even get headaches triggered by the noise. Odds are, there’s a student who needs to study for exams living 2 houses down.

I grew up in a house located in a quiet street, away from noisy tricycles and jeepneys. I never really valued silence until it was suddenly ripped away from me, when the empty lot in front of our house was turned into a barangay basketball court. It would have been alright if it was just used for sports in the morning and afternoons, but, at night, it was turned into a venue hall where people hold drunken karaoke parties and beauty pageants. Speakers were cranked all the way up needlessly.

If mass shootings were a thing here, I’m sure hearing a drunken guy “sing” My Way was reason enough to gun down hundreds of people. You can’t sleep; you can’t study; you can’t have peace. And what’s worse? No one asked us if it was okay. No one considered we lived right in front of the goddamn place. No one questioned the intrusion and ruination of our peace.

Fiesta is Life

It’s fairly obvious by now that silence, peace and personal space are important to me. I hold cultures who value consideration of others in high esteem. A true vacation for me isn’t going to the beach, it’s languishing in silence in a Japanese onsen or a Scandinavian hot spring. Unfortunately, the consideration trait was lost in these group of people along the way. And I am not the only one who thinks so.

Deciding to intervene and stop the barrage of intrusive noise, I talked to a Barangay Security to explain that their noise reached all the way up the condominium. He says he can’t do anything because it’s a fiesta. Lower the volume? No, he can’t, because it’s a fiesta. Aren’t you being inconsiderate of others? No, because it’s their barangay and I live across the street in another barangay. Can you then make sure that your noise gets contained within your barangay then? No, because it’s a fiesta. Is this what the church teaches you, to be selfish and inconsiderate of people? Finally, I get a spark in his eyes that can vaguely resemble humanity. (Religion sells here.) But alas, the spark disappeared as fast as it appeared and he said that, you guessed it, it’s a fiesta.

Demanding Consideration but Never Giving It Back

I understand that they don’t have a venue for festivities in the city, simply because they can’t afford one. However, people have to understand that noise travels. It travels even farther when random barriers aren’t present (such as neighboring buildings). What really irks me as a citizen of this country is the constant barrage of noise one was and will be exposed to. There is a fiesta or party every week. It’s not just noise sometimes. Most days you’ll see people sitting in plastic chairs by the ROAD because it’s Aling Beching’s son’s coworker’s birthday. It doesn’t matter if they are causing a huge buildup for commuters, because they never care enough about other people to be considerate.

This lack of consideration is baffling. Jeepneys plying the road constantly hit private cars because they are distracted with other things, such as counting money, getting money, analyzing how many more butts they can cram on the backseats, and checking out potential customers on the side walks. When accidents inevitably happen, they will almost always tell you, “Ay, sorry, mahirap lang ako e. Pasensiya na.”

Translation: Sorry, I’m just poor. Please be considerate of my situation.

It is this mindset that people should be considerate of them that destroys this nation. Somehow, rules never apply to the poor. Middle class citizens would be fined for illegally parking on the street, but jeepney drivers may park their vehicles anywhere. And because rules should never extend to the poor, the rules tend to NOT get enforced to anyone. Rich and poor alike are allowed to do as they please. That way there’s no discrimination, right? Like real policing, self-policing doesn’t exist in this culture.

The Final Act

As the only thing I can do to protest (and exact petty revenge), I honked my car’s horn in front of the area until my horn was reduced to squeaking. It was so worth it. And next time, I will make sure to bring at least 5 megaphones and a collection of metal music if I’m ever back in Manila on May 4.

xoxo,

6 comments

  1. Enjoy the noise and the tumult. It is the Filipino way. However, if Filipinos are in foreign countries; they are as docile as sheep to follow the laws of that foreign country.

    It is because, they are punished, if they violate the laws and ordinances, of that foreign country. Here, nobody seems to enforce the laws and ordinances. Everybody does his own way.

  2. yes i agree that most filipinos have no consideration for others they all believe that the day starts at 5am then the venders start honking kids with whistles blowing even at 4am many loud drunk drinkers talk out loud or have a domestic on the street, how about the fucking roosters that crow all night and they wake up other distant roostrs to crow or the cats having war at night then in day time the dogs are barking n karoke open full volume this country is not only polluted by garbage but by noise as well

  3. OMG… I encountered this same scenario just a few moments ago. Hence, your experience resonates strongly with me. Difference is i’m taking it one step higher to the local city mayor and presidential complaint center.

    I’m an expat residing in manila and i can certainly write a book about inconsiderate Filipino behaviors after living among them for the past decade.

    What i find interesting about the people of this country is the pervasive lack of common sense and logic when their behaviors are called into question. After years of interaction, I can now read everyone of them now like a book and accurately predict their next response.

    1. Everyone else is doing it!
    (So i’m not the only one that is liable.) – most common reasoning

    2. I have been doing this for many years now.
    (No one ever question my behavior. Therefore, i must be doing the right thing)

    3. Who are you?
    (Even the authority turns a blind eye, so just mind your own business. You have no right to tell me what to do)

    4. Just keep reiterating the same response even if it doesn’t make sense. (Fiesta, fiesta, fiesta)

    5. Go back to your country!
    (When they run out of rebuttal and finally lost it) – usually applies to foreigner like me.

    Feel free to add more…

  4. Filipinos are the MOST annoying and obnoxious Asian race of all! For example, today at work we are waiting to leave our shift so we just started talking for the last 15 minutes.

    A titu-litu hairstyled filipino and onother one just like him barge in, heat up their rice and shrimp (stinking up the lunchroom) and they just start yelling and screaming in that tagalog language like there was NO tomorrow. Then titu-litu takes out a cell phone, calls another one of his lazy, braindead litu buddies and puts in on speaker phone and they start yelling and screaming in that chicken-neck pusit balan ditu Froilan? We were all like wtf? How could 2 filinos make soooo much friggin noise? And this happens DAILY at our place of employment. Nobody likes these clowns, and that includes me! They Demand respect and consideration but give ZERO in return. And….if you say anything they place the race card! And , the funniest thing of all is these filipinos are 99% slower than molases as workers! Why Canada, in particular is full of these clowns is beyond any sane persons intelligence! Just one more thing….has anybody else noticed that Filipinos specialize in working jobs that either have ZERO supervision or little supervision? The reason is so they can do their typical yelling and screaming in tagalog, hide at work (i have even seen them sleeping in their cars during work time) and “pretend” to work etc. And, don’t you dare tell one of them to actually do their job because they will Flip-out man!

  5. Very inconsiderate lot they all are. Even inside elevators they yell and laugh their lungs out in such an enclosed space. Well, I’m certain they weren’t “undisciplined” during the colonial period upto the Japanese occupation.

    FILIPINOS in the Philippines = INCONSIDERATE, UNDISCIPLINED PEOPLE

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