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.