Fair Use and the Philippines

Featured image from: Here


I decided I’m going to combine our assignment with my second post about a country I’ve been to.  There’s a reason why and it will become apparent later in this post.  The featured image is just a random shot of a city in the Philippines.

So what guidelines do we have to determine if it’s okay or appropriate to use someone else’s image on your webpage?  According to the Fair Use guideline this particular image would be favored for fair-use because its purpose here is to compliment a comment about a related topic, no profit is being made from it’s use by me, and it is arguably being used as a research tool.  The nature of the image itself also qualifies it.  It is an already published image, so I can not claim it as my own.  I’m using the original image in its entirety, but if I were to crop it for some reason it would detract from the educational value it serves.  Overall my use of this one image has no negative effect for the original producer.  I’m not creating copies of it, I’m not profiting from it, I’m not trying to claim it as my own, and there is no effect on the market.

The publication and allowed use of images like the featured on are important for people who are seeking a realistic view of somewhere new.  Especially in a country like the Philippines it can be be all too easy to cherry pick photos to portray it as something it is not.  Pictures of Manila or some of the beautiful landscapes or seascapes are very easy to come by.  For someone who is unfamiliar with the Philippines they might be led to believe these images are representative of the culture.

I’m going to tell you that nothing is farther from the truth.  The Philippines is a great country, but it is also a very poor country.  The average Filipino citizen makes in one year of work roughly the equivalent of what and American citizen would make in a year.  So for a foreign visitor this can come across as a shock.  I know my first time there I was very surprised by how ‘rich’ my friends and I were considered to be.  This also means you have to be careful though because the Philippines ranks very high globally on the crime index, so you’re instantly a target.

I was in the Philippines five times, so other than Japan where I actually lived it is the country (other than the US) I am most familiar with.  Despite being paid poorly the people work very hard.  It is very obvious right away that those who work take a lot of pride in what they do, and are not afraid to travel far if it means a chance to produce more income for their family.  For example, when the American military comes for multinational operations people will travel across the entire country to set up small temporary shops that sell food and souvenirs.  They do this because they know Americans have more money and are willing to spend more money on food and things to send back home.  It is possible for a dedicated vendor in this situation to make more in a few days than he/she would in an entire year.

Sex is also a very large industry in the Philippines.  It’s not uncommon to go to a bar and find it also doubles as a brothel.  There will be a woman who oversees all the girls and makes sure they are treated fairly (in regards to their standards).  But often these girls are working in places like this because their family owes a lot of debt to some organization and the only way for them to pay it back is through prostitution.  So don’t be surprised if you visit and go for a drink and a random girl (or three) approach you throughout the night asking you to buy them a drink.  This is just how they let you know without saying it that they are working there.

The food is very flavorful.  However there are some dishes that will be off-turning to people.  The best one I can think of would be balut.  Now before I tell you what it is I just want to say I actually really enjoyed this.  So balut is a duck egg that has been boiled, and the embryo is still inside it.  The idea is that you crack the shell, drink the ‘soup’, dip the yolk in a bit of rock salt, and chow down.  The concept is disgusting to people, but it does taste good.  Other dishes that I’d recommend that aren’t so controversial are lumpia, adobo, and sisig.

So just to summarize.  The Philippines has a lot to offer in major cities, and you’ll be able to afford to do anything because of the struggling economy there.  The people are friendly, but beware of those who might take advantage of you.  Make sure you take the time to visit areas outside of the major cities so that you can really experience the full culture.



The first place I ever visited outside of the U.S. was Japan, so it is only fitting that my first post pay respects to a country I lived in for two years.  If I’m being completely honest when I got to Japan I was miserable.  It wasn’t my choice to go, but I was required to be there and I hated it.  However after a month of being miserable I decided it was time to get over myself and start finding a way to enjoy my new home.  I took a few short cultural classes to learn more about proper etiquette while venturing around the towns.  Something interesting was the chopstick use and etiquette.  For example there is a funeral custom in Japan that involves leaving chopsticks upright in a dish of rice.  So doing this in a restaurant is considered a faux-pas and rude.  It’s small and most likely you’d be forgiven as a foreigner, but knowing things like this will go a long way to endearing you to the culture.  Personally I didn’t learn the language, but I had friends who I was living with that learned the basics.

The food is vastly different there.  Preparation is very meticulous, often there will be food served in common dishes (don’t eat directly from these), and obviously there are a lot of raw foods.  I’d never had sushi until I visited Japan.  Now it is one of my favorite foods, but I’m also quite picky about where I will buy it from.  I also sampled horse for the first time there, and while I didn’t like it it is a common food option for Japanese people.

For those who don’t know the money there is called Yen.  It fluctuates often, but usually it is between 90-102 yen to every American dollar, so the exchange rate is very favorable.  As a result I found I was able to really indulge and explore.  On Okinawa, the world’s largest tug of war competition is held each year.  This on it’s own is a very cool event, but they also add on a re-enactment of a Japanese story on top of the giant rope.  There were thousands of people and I was able to interact with so many.  There is also a cherry-blossom festival in Japan that has a great deal of importance and cross-cultural significance.  Japan gave cherry blossoms to the U.S. at the end of WWII (if I remember correctly).

Overall something I was not excited about when I started turned out to be an amazing experience that broadened my knowledge and allowed me to learn about a culture completely foreign to me.