Turistang kanin 2019
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - June 28, 2019 - 12:00am

Turistang kanin” (TK) was once a moniker for average Filipino travelers whose preference or financial limitations kept their travel options within the Philippines. Back then the “TK” traveled mainly via “Pantranco Bus” to Baguio and some times Banawe and Sagada. South bound, the preferred destination was Mindoro or Bicol until transport options and accommodations expanded in Boracay. Cebu actually claimed to be “An Island in the Pacific,” just to get away from the bad press of Manila, and Davao was nothing more than a bloody little town where the communists and settlers duked it out with Armalites and armies. Thanks to a better airport-hub and affordable hotel rooms Cebu is now a busy destination and Davao has become the center of Philippine politics and a must go to destination if you have any business with government and the Dutertes.

The stereotypical turistang kanin often traveled with an ethnic backpack made out of woven yantok (jungle vine), deer skin, a knapsack or US army bag all of which supposedly was chic or made you a hardcore traveler. Sadly there are very few left of those pre-Louis Vuitton travel accessories because some of those would qualify as genuine antiques or ancestral heirlooms purchased from the uplands or survivors of the Vietnam war and Clark Airbase. Times have changed and many Pinoys travel all over the world. We are adept at booking online bargains, riding budget airlines and rely on Trip Advisor and the likes. In fact many Filipinos like to think that we are more educated and refined when it comes to travelling. So much so that many of us tend to be judgmental of other nationalities who come to the Philippines or who are on the same journey we are on.

From the ‘70s onwards we have passed judgment on the Japanese (sex tours) Australians (bar hoppers and brawlers) Arabs (smelly, offensive and prostitute crazy) Koreans (loud and aggressive) and nowadays many Pinoys label the Chinese for being ill mannered and inconsiderate as tourists. All these of course are “generalizations” or impressions made through limited contacts or instances of offense. Instead of debating over how true or justified these impressions or labels are, what comes to mind is the question: What about Filipino tourists in general, how well behaved or educated are we whenever we go abroad or travel locally?

This article is not meant to be a put down on fellow Pinoy travelers, but more of a wake up call for us to be more self-conscious and considerate of others when we travel.

For instance, I recently went up to Baguio and stayed at the Forest lodge inside Camp John Hay and the first thing I noticed was how some Filipinos turn their hotel rooms into a conference room or nursery for their kids or apos. The rule of thumb is if you are a big group you should meet up at the lobby or the dining area, but don’t assemble several families in one room. Don’t hang out at the outside balcony, shouting at each other to do selfies while hotel guests are trying to rest or sleep in. Especially don’t slam doors repeatedly. Why is that? Most parents will tell off their kids if they slam a door intentionally or accidentally at home, so why do they suddenly go on default in a hotel or resort? If you have a cranky child, close your windows or take the child where they can calm down, be distracted or attended to. Don’t let them cry for minutes unattended or in the care of an uncaring yaya!

If you want to hang out or make tambay with your bros or relatives go to the bar or the lobby! Four or five guys talking about family and business details while drinking and eating stuff you brought in from 7-11 is not the proper hotel etiquette. Housekeeping has to clean up the scene of the crime! I don’t need to know about what you did last summer! The height of it all was the aroma of Chicken Joy filtering through the screen, chicken that you had the temerity to be delivered to the front desk! Fine if you took it out and ate at the park, then good for you, but otherwise, it is impolite to order in. Speaking of dining-in, it is generally expected that after you have been served and leisurely ingested your meal, for you to politely leave the table so other people can have a table to eat. Don’t “hog” the table for two hours just because you want to chill. Do that in your room or the lobby area. The dining area is for diners, not sleepers or loungers.  

Many Pinoys say the Chinese tourists spit everywhere and walk around in their under shirt and are noisy. But has anyone ever paid attention to what a nation of litterbugs we are? I happened to have a chat with a street sweeper in John Hay and she talked about their endless task of sweeping simply because the turistang kanins prefer to throw their garbage out of the car just to keep their car clean! How sick is that?!  I won’t extend the agony. Best thing you can do is call everyone to the dinner table and try to add to the list of things we should not be doing as turistang kanin at the airport, bus terminals, inside the plane, the bus or ship? How do we travel, and is our behavior offensive or inconsiderate to others in terms of volume, baggage or how we physically sit or lie down in public places? This would be a very educational exercise when you get bored while traveling or better yet before you travel!

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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