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The one about a couple from France

French people are one of the nicest people I have ever met in my entire life. I remember queuing at the luggage check-in section of the Legazpi airport. The Caucasian man in front of me had a Canadian flag sticker on his suitcase and I double checked if indeed he was from Canada and he replied that he is and I told him I had been to Canada and I complimented him that the Canadian people are one of the nicest people in the world. We conversed for a little bit while his wife was checking on other matters together with their child.

A French woman overheard us and she joined in on the conversation. She told me that French people are also one of the nicest people in the world. I beamed and I said I do believe so as well because I have met a few French people in the City of Naga where I live and the notion that the French are not friendly is an absolute myth.

Unknowingly perhaps we have stereotypical perspectives on different nationalities of the world. I must surmise the Media again would be partly to blame of those urban legends or myths.

One great lesson that we can apply to any situation when it comes to dealing with people from other countries is to always have a clean slate and give each person the benefit of the doubt unless proven otherwise. Most essentially, do not fall into the trap of being controlled by the fallacy of hasty generalization.

In the same way other people from other countries have testimonies about people from our country. From my travels, the one thing that stands out above the rest is that people would always tell me that women of the Philippines are one of the most beautiful bunch in the world. They would always tell me that the Philippines always have a good standing in International beauty pageants. I think that is a good thing but afterwards the most wonderful observations that follow are that our people are dependable, hardworking, kind, reliable, and resilient.

Our people have a special place in their hearts. I guess most do not know this fact because they do not interact with people in places that are conducive for International banter especially airports and coffee shops and Expat districts.

Balut and Videoke always come up whenever I talk to people from other lands. They actually have a high regard for our people. Basing from my conversations, they find our people as talented and quite skilled workers. One example of that is my conversation with a security officer at the United Nations headquarters in New York. He told me that when he was sent on a mission for a peace keeping operations he worked alongside Filipino soldiers and he has a high regard for our soldiers. They sure are tough as they get he told me.

Now going back to the couple from France that I had met last Saturday here in the City of Naga. I was bicycling and I saw the couple who had backpacks, so I stopped and I asked where they are from, then they told me that they are from France. What are you going to do here then? And they explained that they need to secure a permit to be able to climb Mount Isarog. They were courteous and well-mannered. And the visible excitement in their eyes hinted that they love their adventure so far here in Bicol.

I thought to myself that I was born and raised here in our city but I have not climbed Mount Isarog yet. I thought to myself that a couple came all the way from France just to climb that mountain. I think that Mount Isarog is just thirty minutes away from where I live. I could just imagine how much money they spent just to be able to travel to the Philippines. I may be taking for granted the beauty of the Philippines.

In the final analysis, the tourism tagline from a long time ago is well apt in this case which is:

Huwag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan.

To say that in English would be:

Do not be a foreigner in your own country.

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