Day 22: Minimum Wage

I'm pretty sure that I am a glutton for pain. Flat out. I keep eating these really interesting foods, I keep torquing my body and inflicting damage, and I would rather come in and work extra long hours at work than sit at home doing nothing.

That's just what I did today. I'm supposed to be on a shifting schedule to assist with my team handoff. My regular 'shift' now until I hire more managers - 3PM - 12PM. However, I was bored... at 8:30, and came into the office at 9AM. Yes, I'm typing this as I work, but I've also been here since 9AM, and it's now 11PM. Sure, I got a lot of work done today, but there is something to be said about working too much. I know my wife certainly gave me an earful about it today. I'll try tomorrow to have a bit of restraint and come in a little later. It's just boring sitting in an apartment doing nothing but staring at the wall. I can't understand the people speaking on TV; my book that I am reading isn't in a spot where I can't put it down; I have no video games to play; I can only work out for 1 hour or so at a time right now.

Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage.

No, not really. The song is just on my iPhone right now - and gosh darn it - it's a good song.

Ate another interesting food today - a delicious food known as Balow-Balow. This food is fermented rice with shrimp. I became interested in trying this food because when I was eating Balot (remember- aborted duck fetus), I was told about this food and how it was worse than what I was eating. So, who was I to turn such a thing down.

This food bested me. The smell was bad (admittedly not as bad as Dorian), and the texture was horrific. It reminded me of a bird regurgitating food for its young. In all, I wanted nothing to do with it. My co-worker who is visiting from the US also ate it, let it sit for about 30 seconds, and then proceeded to evacuate it from his system. Bottom line - this is not good stuff. Avoid.

My condo was taken - you know, the one with the nice Japanese floral designs. Someone swooped in and just took it. Paid cash on hand, and now it's gone. I'm a little bummed, because the only other viable option was the first condo I looked at. It's not bad, but it didn't feel as homey as the second apartment. There are two more places to look at (maybe tomorrow), but unless they're good I'm going with the first apartment.

While I was waiting for an apartment, I saw a man who had hand delivered 4 balot eggs to a tenant in the complex. This absolutely baffled me - a balot egg is about PHP 17, or maybe $.30. Why would someone hand-pick and deliver PHP 68 ($1.50) worth of balot to someone in Makati? Maybe the micro payment service is hopping here. Maybe, because of the service industry, there is something more personal involved.

Occam's Razor tells us that it's much simpler than that. I found that out today. The minimum wage for a worker living in Manila is PHP400/day. That's about $9 bucks. Families in Manila live on $9 bucks a day. So, yes - The balot salesman who travels to deliver PHP68 worth of balot is trying to make a living. Not just a living for himself, but typically his family on average of 1 wife, and 2 children. Four mouths to feed on $9 a day. This is why when I give a PHP200 tip ($4.5), people are surprised at me. That's half of a day's wages.

I spent $9 on lunch for myself today. One meal, one person......

In the provinces, the minimum wage is even less. PHP200-300 is more common, and it's not consistent across the country. Each province has a minimum wage. It's no wonder so many people are rushing to get into IT here in this country. Salaries start at around PHP 35000-40000/month.

I bring this up because I get depressed when I walk into a house and see a maid's room that is barely big enough to have someone lay down, let alone live there. I get depressed when I learn that the minimum wage for a person is PHP400/day. Yet, these people are relatively happy, care free, and super generous. What happened? Why the difference?

Typhoon Juan (aka Megi) is slashing through the Philippines as I write this. Big winds up north, at least one dead thus far, many more losses to come. Rain where I am at - and some winds. It turns out the official forecast has been upgraded to 'Windy'. Nice.

Alright, enough serious. Here's my funny for the day. Random power receptacles hanging from the ceiling. WTF?