From the Midwest redneck author of "The Rooster Crows at 4am!," "Lizard Poop!," and "The Philippines Expat Advisor"
Where, Oh Where Did the Garbage Go?
We live in the outskirts of Metro Manila. The bustling Barangay of San Dionisio, Paranaque. Since one of my many duties as a married man is the removal of the garbage, I naturally fell into that role in the Philippines.
One of the first things I noticed was the lack of large trash receptacles around the house and especially in the kitchen. It seemed that all waste was stored in plastic bags that hang in convenient areas about the house. In the evening I saw my Mother in Law collecting all the bags of trash from their various locations.
I naturally volunteered to relieve her of the load. "Where do I dump this, Mom?" "At the end of the street, near the telephone pole" was the answer. So out the gate I went and down the lane. Sure enough, there was a telephone pole with a sizable pile of plastic bags filled with garbage.
Glancing left and right, still not sure of myself and not wanting to put a wrong foot in my soon to be adoptive country, I placed our trash on top of the pile and beat a hasty retreat.
Over the next several days, this scenario repeated itself, but every morning when I performed my morning chores, I noticed that the pile of trash was gone! Where did the trash go? It was really starting to bug me!
Well, one evening I decided to investigate. I dumped the trash, and over the course of the evening I wandered to the end of our street and back keeping an eye open for the trash fairy. Around 10pm I heard a rumble of a large truck and the loud voices of what I took to be happy workers. Sure enough, it was our Garbage Truck!
But no front end, skip loading, hydraulic labor saving type of truck for the Philippines, oh no! This was a large flat bed with a driver, co-driver and 5 or 6 guys in the back.
The truck stopped, the guys jumped down (the driver and his partner naturally stayed in the cab) and proceeded to throw all those small plastic bags up onto the truck. They even swept up the area area around it! Up onto the truck went the men and the truck trundled down the street to the next pile of trash bags.
Now my curiosity kicked into high gear. I followed the truck for several blocks, collecting more trash along the way, until it reached a vacant lot several hundred meters down the road. There were already a couple of similar trucks there. Here the trash was thrown off the truck to join the piles created by the other trucks.
(Photo © Dennis Villegas 2009 from dennisvillegas.blogspot.com)
Once empty the men jumped onto the now empty trucks, which drove happily away. After what seemed only moments an even larger truck, with even more seemingly happy men in the back, pulled up to the huge pile of trash.
Yep, you guess it, down went the men and up went the trash. The huge pile quickly disappeared as did the truck and the happy crew. Where the trash went after that? I haven't a clue.
All I do know is that, even with my ingrained Kano sense of anti-littering, I don't hesitate to put any trash I might have onto the piles that line the roads. When in the Philippines, do as the Filipinos do.