Updated: Oct 9, 2018
I spent a lot of time in the car on this day. Traffic was a contributing factor, but it was mostly because when they see a foreigner inquiring about prices, they automatically up-charge the heck out of you.
My Cousin, Joy, took charge and obtained prices for me and I would not have wanted to see what they would have charged me since these prices are already insanely high!
Next our goal was to scout out the hotel options near SM Mall because after long days of working in the medical mission, a variety of quick food options is ideal! It was great to find out the initial hotel I was considering was actually a lot further than the map was showing on line. Grace Crown hotel came out on top thus far for price, location, and quality + was the only option that seemed to include breakfast. Also was right next to the overpass to the SM mall and near many restaurants outside of the mall as well.
As we waited in the car for Joy to get prices, I was able to pick her husband's brain about the healthcare and the conversation lead to their President Duterte. I have had interested volunteers said that the main thing holding them back from joining the team is their hesitation with the negative press surround President Duterte and his radical efforts to put an end to the drug trade here in the Philippines.
Time and time again on this trip and in that car that afternoon, I a surprised that the overwhelming consensus is admiration and full support of their president. Eric clarified that the opposition to Duterte does a good job at only highlighting the negative, but he has been by far their best president through the endless amount of programs he invests into bettering the lives of his people. I was really thankful for this enlightenment because the media definitely did not portray this positive side.
And of course, there are always two sides to every opinion and not everyone here shares these view. But with as many community assistance programs I have learned about, I can see what Eric means. I do not know how much of that is because of the local government or from the national government, nonetheless it is impressive!
Next, we went a tried out a potential restaurant to take the group. Even though it was delicious, I could see teammates being adverse to the raw meat soaking in ice to allow for the customer to select their options. Plus there were no prices on the menu, which leaves room for up-charging foreigners. I wouldn’t have thought anything of that last statement until they came up to our table and said they “forgot to charge us for the duck” and asked for more money.
Everyone LOVE to try to local cuisine on the trips, but also start to crave pizza or burgers by the end of the trip. Luckily the best pizza place recommended is near the hotel we are considering. And not to mention, Joy recommended a Vietnamese restaurant that we are definitely going to try out before I leave so we can hopefully add it to the list of food options for the team!
Next we headed over to the grocery store to not only allow me to get snacks for my stay here, but to also get an idea of the cost and access to foods our patients would have. Why? Because we have been taught to recommend to patients with a history of diabetes and hypertension certain types of foods and ways of eating, but would that be realistic to recommend if the prices are unreasonable or if those food options even exist? This is a topic that can stand alone and has resonated with me, so stay tuned for the next post that will dive into this.