Entertaining tourists and guests, and making them feel welcome and at-home make up a crucial pillar of the Philippine economy. Our national-pastime-turned-industry of singing, dancing, cracking jokes, and playing basketball provides our valued international and local visitors a good time to sit back and relax over San Miguel light and chicharon bulaklak pulutan while the locals sweat or belt it out to provide high-value entertainment.
The rapidly growing population comes with the extra baggage of graying folks retiring from productive work to become key beneficiaries of another huge pillar of the economy: health care and medical services. Hospital facilities are growing, with demand outpacing the supply of beds, instruments, and medical staff.
The Filipino diet fueled by the mall-based eat-out culture and the local congested eye-sore-filled environment are by-design configured to ensure you will eventually get sick and end up availing of imported big-pharma medication to salvage the remaining healthy cells in your slowly degrading body. The national beverage is Coke, which is basically liquified concentrated sugar with carbonation strong enough to melt away toilet stains. Sugar mixed with every form of oil, fat and lard is a nationally ingested poison (a type of legal drug) just about everyone is addicted to.
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Media and TV are all about grabbing the biggest audience to entertain. Slapstick comedy shows are a magnet to viewers. Contests in singing, dancing, and showcasing beauty (rather than brains) make up a significant chunk of airtime. Hotels and resorts are in revival mode competing for tourists that have started to return after the pandemic. Airports and airlines expand to the ever-growing influx of visitors that have harkened to the call of our national “It’s more fun!” tagline.
All other components of the economy and society are geared towards supporting these two pillars: hospitality and hospital industries. For example, you need transportation to get to your entertainment gathering or event; you also need good mobile connections to call for help to bring an ailing neighbor to the nearest hospital. Students toil through years of rote memorization training to become care givers, nurses and doctors. Law students struggle to pass the board exam (some requiring 3 takes) with grand ambitions to eventually become a lawmaker who can pass laws that ensure the government collects enough taxes to fund the entire hospitality and hospital circus.
Highly skilled engineers, inventors and scientists are booted out as OFWs. After taking on the call of the pied piper to jump ship, these “modern-day heroes” send huge chunks of money to the big financial sinkhole called P.I. (often confused for a common expletive in the vernacular), as relatives and friends “patiently” expect (if not demand) the next remittance to arrive in time to keep the two pillar industries humming. Your uncle is in ICU after a heart attack; P200K needed for operation; please send money ASAP. Your obese sister needs regular dialysis and insulin shots; please commit to sending P20K a month right after each payday. Your father just got this eureka idea of opening a new Karaoke bar near the tourist belt; please send ALL your savings for initial capital ASAP.
There is no end in sight as to the opportunities Filipinos back home can think of to find ways to use your hard-earned OFW money for you, simply because you are either too dumb to spend it wisely on your own or because your plans for yourself pale in comparison to the greater priority needs of your unlucky kababayans still stuck in quicksand.
Beware: If you don’t plan to use your money, others will use it for you. – Zaxx
Parking money in a bank account (principle of saving for a rainy day) is not really encouraged for Filipinos – otherwise, someone will take notice of your growing heap of sitting cash and you will end up helplessly at the mercy of freeloaders and even being viewed as outright evil should you dare deny a loved one or friend in their moment of pressing need.
Abundantly blessed to high heavens with roughly 20 typhoons a year, the archipelago is a perfect storm for every type of calamity (flooding, landslides, volcanos, earthquakes, pollution – you name it) to ensure maximum probability that you end up requiring emergency medical services and thus contributing to the hospital industry’s cashflow.
Fireworks, guns, rebellions, terror attacks, dilapidated jeepneys, poorly maintained buses and ferry boats all work together to make it more fun in the health-hazard capital of Asia. One definition of fun is adventure, and what better way to have an adventure than to NOT KNOW how the next misfortune will hit you?
A visit to the Philippines is a test of faith that will get you closer to God in fervent prayers of desperation, or simply crossing your fingers (while you find your right leg vibrating involuntarily) till you make it out hopefully in one piece.
The new Bongbong Marcos administration is faced with the challenge of ensuring economic growth, the promise of every would-be heir to the throne. As a mass-importing consumer-driven economy (in contrast to a technology and manufacturing powerhouse) the new leaders of government should acknowledge what is important over what are low-priority distractions. Identifying these two major industries of hospitality and hospitals and knowing how everything else revolves around them as secondary elements of our unique ecosystem can turn the Philippine economy towards that grand unification-theory-based future every president would aspire for the people: an entertaining and comfortable place to live and eventually die in.
And by the way, if anyone wants a new business idea – there’s a good never-ending demand for coffins, necrological services and memorial lots propelled by the hospital industry’s key output: corpses (a.k.a. heroes – for fueling the political ambitions of the next line of Cory/Leni wannabees).
Zealous revolutionary advocate of bringing back common sense for the common good in a land of dysfunctional and delusional zombies.