Monday, April 5, 2010

Irritatingly Filipino: “Ikaw Bahala”

This comes in varied forms like “ikaw/kayo bahala”, “bahala ka”, “bahala ka na”, etc. Many times, it even comes with the proudly Filipino term of reverence “po” as in “kayo po ang bahala” and so on! But when used during a conversation for transportation fares, that phrase is dangerous if not properly addressed by the unsuspecting traveler!

That god damned expression is way far from reverence or respect. It is an expression of GREED! And you as a tourist (local or foreign) will experience this mostly amongst smaller modes of transportation like the tricycle or the habal-habal and at times the jeeps, the boats and the vans that you charter.

Here is one scenario:
You want to ride a tricycle from the pier to your hotel/pension/inn and you ask the driver 'magkano' or “how much”. Then you get the response “kayo bahala” or “kayo po ang bahala”.

Very courteous, right? WRONG!!! That is such a stupid answer that literally means, “it’s up to you”!

Hello?! What are they in there for? To give you a free ride? If it is up to you, and you give one peso for that ride, they won’t accept it and probably even make a scene. So it is not up to you! But if you gave a hundred pesos for a seven peso ride, NONE of them would say, you are giving too much! See?! So it is pure greed that everyone should avoid those who say “kayo ang bahala”!

Now someone may say that the “it’s up to you” is respectful and an expression meaning you are expected to give an acceptable amount. Hello?! What is acceptable? On whose point of view? And what does the visitor know of the place anyway?! There are fares for all these conveyances, right? So why can’t these drivers just honestly tell it outright and also tell the passenger they want extra – as does some drivers. That would be simpler.

My Suggestion
I always say this: “Don’t tell me, its up to me as I don’t own your vehicle, you are not my servant nor am I the driver. Just tell me how much is the regular (or special) fare then I will decide if I want to give more depending on the kind of service that you do”.

Again, be careful when you hear that expression. It is pure avarice cloaked in pretentious subservience! He who says that phrase is intent on misleading you and hoping you will make a mistake of giving more than necessary – but if you gave less than the normal/regular fare, they will raise hell!

So, “kayo ang bahala”… It’s up to you!

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