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Only in the Philippines would one find a recycling bag, whose stated goal on the tote is to “…save the Marvels of the Earth,” decorated with images of Adolf Hitler in close proximity to  Filipino national hero José Rizal. Thanks to my American expat friend, Tom, living in nearby Guimaras who alerted me to this.  Since my asawa and I had to visit our local Robinsons in Iloilo City, I decided to check out this story personally. 

After waiting almost 15 minutes to even enter the shopping mall this Friday morning (see next photo), my asawa and I decided to take advantage of Pizza Hut’s Monday-Friday personal pan pizza special first. At P198, 4.87 U.S. Dollars,  it’s a good bargain. Our server, Whacky (and that’s the name on his badge), quickly served our entrees and drinks. The food was hot and delicious. I commended our server for the excellent service and food and even handed him a P50, $1.23,  tip. Waiting at Robinsons in Iloilo City

After getting sufficient fuel for the day’s activities, I headed over to the Robinsons Department Store while my asawa got her hair trimmed at David’s Salon. At P200, it’s cheaper than the P280 cut she was getting at the Ricky Reyes outlet at SM City, plus she only has to tip one person as opposed to the three people that waited on her at Ricky’s joint. 

I found the nearest cashier that had a suppy of the recyling bags. Paid P40 and took it to the cashier. I pointed to the two images of Hitler, located on each side of the tote, and asked her if she knew who that was. She did, although she did not name him. I went over to a business counter and asked the two Robinsons associates if I could speak to a store manager. I showed them the bag. They did not know who Hitler was. 

new robinsons

The new Robinsons recycling bag. Images of Hitler and Rizal are circled in red.

Robinsons recyling bag

Close-up of the Robinsons recycling bag

A few minutes later, Adrian and Joseph, members of the management team, came over to the counter. I introduced myself and respectfully explained my concerns with the bag. The two gentlemen were very professional and listened intently. Adrian assured me that he would take pictures of the bag and send them to their marketing department in Manila, the department responsible for the offensive totes.

I explained that I have a website where I write about life in the Philippines and would be posting a story about this. I then thanked them both and shook their hands. I sincerely believe they will follow through on what they said.  It is my personal belief that this was an unintentional gaffe on the part of the marketing department. They probably had no idea that the images they were inserting into their collage for the bag were those of Hitler. Good chance that they, too, have no idea who Adolf Hitler was. 

I approached a group of sales associates in the store and asked if they knew whose picture this was as I pointed to Hitler’s image. They did not know. I asked an older Filipino lady who did correctly identify one of the most evil men in history. 

I decided to do a random survey in the Robinsons Mall to find out who else might recognize Adolf’s image. A large contingent of students from the University of Iloilo were gathered (see next two photos) and they at least were aware of  who Hitler was. That’s better than the answer I got from a sales associates at a kiosk selling silver who said that she had seen the guy (Hitler) in a movie.

University of Iloilo students at Robinsons

The Kano with University of Iloilo students

I approached an older kano, accompanied by a much younger, beautiful Filipina,  who turned out to be a British citizen and he identified Hitler immediately. I told him how the majority of the people I had questioned had no idea who Hitler was. He said “that’s how it is in the Philippines.” I have to seriously wonder what is being taught in the history books in the Philippines. Are American students guilty of the same? I hope not.

But it was time to swing by David’s Salon to see if my asawa was ready to go. Only had to wait a few minutes before she came out to the front to pay her bill. Great cut. Interesting day. Only in the Philippines? You bet.

14 thoughts on “Robinsons Recycling Bag Flaunts Hitler Images

  1. I doubt it is just the Philippines. In 1992 when Schindler’s List came out a poll was done of high school students in the US. As I recall about 25% were unaware of the holocaust.

    It isn’t just poor education. For a young person events that occurred 70 years ago must seem irrelevant. Sad but true.

  2. Dave,

    I don’t see pictures of Hitler on that bag. I see pictures of postage stamps, and they may all be from the 1930s, in which case that would be how Germany’s looked.

    Maybe the bags are supposed to show various decades and that one is that era. If that is the intent, I’d suggest that makes it inoffensive.

  3. Dave,
    You would be surprised how many students don’t know who Hitler is. It’s just poor taste to have Hitler on those bags. But again maybe they did not know who he was. If there are any Jewish people there, it would be offensive to them. Anyway, you look good with all those cute filipinas. Have a wonderful day

  4. I see stamps and post cards from around the world and unfortunately Hitler’s face is on a few of them. I think this bag was made with no malice intended but I would understand if some people got offended. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind having a few of those bags cause they look nice and I’m helping the planet by reducing the number of plastic bags being used…

  5. No, fact have no place in American education. It is more important to spend the school day learning about self-esteem and whatever other social indoctrination is deemed important.

  6. I guess my question becomes are all those stamps from the 30’s, and are there bags from the 40’s, 50’s, etc. If they are doing decades, you can’t avoid it for Germany’s 30’s.

    My recall is Stalin’s body count was higher so Russia’s 40’s would also be a problem, assuming he was on their stamps then.

    Anyway, I see old postage and Germany got included.

  7. I’m proud to say I’m a liberal and I was taught both sides of everything that had to do with history and society even learning about self-esteem. Not everything is propaganda…

  8. Super Dave,
    History lessons in schools here or there are must be teaching about what happened last week or last year. I have a couple of nieces and nephews that live in Cabanatuan City north of Manila. I ask them if they knew what the memorial park just outside the city was for. Even though it was major POW camp during WW2 with hundreds of POW’s of filipino, american, british, australian heritage and I’m sure from more countries, they didn’t have a clue what it was for. Not much of japans invasion of the philippines is taught in schools there. This camp was the first ever POW camp raided by allied forces which liberated everyone inside, and eventually the full liberation of the philippines. But not even listed as a foot note in their schools. Sad but true

  9. In my wanderings I see people of all ages wearing T Shirts with Che Guevera on it. I dont know if they are hand me downs or they think they just look cool. I did ask one young man if he knew who Che was. The answer was a “freedome fighter” Guess they dont talk about the Congo or Bolivia here lolol.

  10. Che is a real hero here in the Philippines. Don’t forget there is a civil war going on here. 150,000 dead and 400,000 homeless. There was a big attack 2 days ago in Bukidnon. You will find the NPA everywhere in the Philippines. Even in Manila…

  11. Speaking of history. When I recently visited the Bataan Memorial, where the Bataan Death March began (which is a sizable park and monument), none of the teenagers or young adults could even tell me anything about that historical event….and they live there! Sad. The NPA numbers are in decline as far as everything I read would indicate. They are not after us poor foreigners anyway! 🙂
    (as a note Dave, my blog and website have been combined under my domain name “retiredinsamar.com” …finally!)

  12. A noteworthy comment…Mostly all NPA attacks are against Police, Military, and government targets – mainly considered corrupt organizations or persons. As a foreigner, I have no direct fears about their presence, but I just wouldn’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time if something went down.

  13. Randy is right. My biggest fear is getting caught in a cross-fire. If I see the police or Army I go elsewhere. Not safe to be around these guys. Last year a little girl was shot in her own home when the NPA attacked the Army. She lived but now everyone is afraid, what will happen next?

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