I just learned what AFAM means from one of my officemates. It’s an acronym for A Foreigner Around Manila. We see a lot AFAMs in malls with their girlfriends. There will be those who will be those who will be judgmental. Just to make it clear, some may be in it for love or for any other reason. We really wouldn’t know. We can’t read minds.
As a tourist guide, I encounter questions about widespread poverty and occasionally, sex tourism that was recently retracted by the US Ambassador. A teacher came up to me and asked if it’s okay to talk about negative subjects concerning our country.
If it does come up, my answer is this: we answer the question squarely with facts and figures AND focus on the solutions because they do exist. This would give visitors a deeper understanding of our situation. Guides must be knowledgeable on the measures undertaken by the government. The key here is to be updated by reading the news.
I think that it should almost become automatic for guides to state the problem AND the solution because sometimes, we beat ourselves too much over these issues. We’re left with problems that will remain unsolvable in the minds of guests. What’s more painful is we do this in front of visitors! We tend to forget that the Philippines has its own set of problems just like any other country.
The melodrama sticks to their heads and if I do have my way, I think that it would be better that they leave the country on a positive note.
News, especially the negative ones, make it internationally—kidnappings, poverty, lawlessness, killings and corruption. The negative stuff sometimes gets to be a bit too strong that it overpowers the good qualities that this country and people have. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that neither corruption, kidnapping, nor sex tourism doesn’t exist here but I strongly believe that there are measures and solutions being done by Filipinos and our government. It’s not only the guide’s job but everyone’s job to inform guests about these things.