I’d like to take a little time to reflect on my recent trip to the Philippines, so I hope you’ll indulge me.
To say that the 9 days I spent in Cebu and Manila was an eye-opener would be a gross understatement.
I really saw and experienced some things which I have never done before and believe me when I say I’ve seen and experienced some pretty crazy things in my lifetime.
I’ve been trying to work out what makes the Philippines such an amazing place – is it the kick-ass restaurants? The super-happening clubs? The plentiful shopping? The incredible 5-star accomodation I had?
None of those.
The thing that makes the Philippines such an amazing place is THE PEOPLE.
I have never met a race of friendlier people. I don’t know how to explain it but if you go there, you will understand.
Everyone I met, from hotel staff to waiters/waitresses in restaurants to random people I talked to was super friendly and courteous to a level I have not encountered before.
Every day when I was in the Philippines I felt TRULY ASHAMED to tell people I was from Malaysia because the general populace here has no manners, no etiquette, no social graces and NO COURTESY. Malaysians are like this because they don’t know any better. If your parents lack social etiquette I think it’d be hard for you to be any wiser and hence generation by generation, Malaysians are getting ruder and ruder – so instead of moving forward, we are actually going backwards.
All the young people I met in the Philippines were extremely well-mannered and respectful of their elders – 2 traits which you will find hard to find in the youth of Malaysia. All the leaders of our country have NEVER done anything to properly treat the social ills of our country and kids are basically left to their own devices.
Another thing that I found really impressive about the Philippines was the Primer Group.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with and come into contact with many companies/corporate entities both big and small from around the world but I have never encountered a company like Primer.
From top to bottom, everyone in the company is friendly, thoughtful and professional. No matter who I talked to from the company, be it super friendly COO Jacky Quintos to raging disco queen Arthur Elefante, I always felt a friendly, family-type warmth and sincerity that really moved me.
To me these are people who care passionately about what they do and they are happy for you because you are there on this journey with them also. Not once did I ever see anyone lose their temper or look even remotely unhappy (despite all the stress and pressure of pulling off 4 different events in the space of one week)
One night I bumped into Soleil Sanchez from Primer at 2am in the Makati Shangri-La’s lobby where she was pulling an all-nighter with some others to get ready for the fashion show and she was still all smiles.
You could say that this was all a facade because we were only there for a week and everyone wanted to give us a good impression, but I’ve been back in Malaysia for 2 weeks and people from Primer are STILL in contact with me, even if it’s just a, “Hey, how ya doing?” message on Facebook.
Sometimes, through fate and a few strings pulled here and there, the stars align and shit really does come together as evidenced by the gathering of an incredible group of people on this trip.
You know sometimes people just click and everyone gets together like a house on fire? I think this was one of those occasions and even though every day was jam packed with stuff I still managed to spend time and get to know most of the crew pretty well and I consider myself fortunate to have met these people.
And for people I’ve met before (like Mark Ong and Jeremy Hale) we got to spend some quality time together and have a chance to understand each other better, which I really appreciate.
I’m fucking happy to have met EVERYONE on this trip! EVERYONE!!!
I know some of you will be mad when I say this (but that’s only because you are one of the 99% I am referring to in the following statement) – Filipino DJs shit all over 99% of Malaysian DJs.
Every single club/bar I went to in Cebu and Manila had the dopest music, hell even the DJ that Primer hired for the basketball game played better music than most clubs in Malaysia (and definitely ALL the clubs in Penang) so yet again, I felt really ashamed of our country.
Even those of you who DJ in so-called “big” or “famous” clubs in Malaysia won’t be able to touch the average Filipino DJ – FOR SURE because all you guys know how to do is play whatever the fuck Hitz.fm is playing on the radio. At the skate demo in Cebu, the DJ there played one whole day of hip-hop and not ONCE did I hear a song that you will hear on the radio here. It was amazing and made me remember why I love old-school hip-hop so much.
But I’m not saying 100% of Malaysian DJs suck. Only 99%. People like Goldfish, Blink and Fuzz would kill it over there!
I’m also not saying 100% of Filipino DJs are the bomb – just 100% of the ones I heard when I was there!
I loved this fact because I felt I had to perform even better than I normally do and luckily I had some banging tunes in my bag that no one had heard before. I’m so glad I worked my ass off for 2 weeks before going to the Philippines digging for new tunes and stuff. Filipino clubbers know their shit!
I want to thank Cherice Fredricks, Gary Parsons and DC Shoes for letting me be part of this incredible week! It was an honor for me and I hope I managed to contribute in some small way to the bigger picture.
I’d also like to thank the Primer Group for taking such good care of me while I was in the Philippines – Jacky Quintos, Jimmy Thai, Johnny Thai, Jerry Sy, Willy Sy, Macel Abejero, Soleil Sanchez, Arthur Elefante, Timmy Cruz and everyone else at Primer!
Special thanks must go to Paul Sy and Dino Gilladoga from Primer. Paul, you are the SUPREME PIMP OF THE PHILIPPINES and Dino, you are the COOLEST GUY AT PRIMER. I love you two so much!
My biggest thanks must go to Jeremy Hale – mate, thank you for thinking of me for this tour and getting me involved! Thank you so much.