Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Meyd in Tsina

I loved going shopping while I was in the Philippines this past January. While I typically avoid malls and big-box stores here in the states (because of the anxiety they cause me, and the temptation to spend money I don't have), I went to a mall nearly every day I spent in the Philippines.

SM City Iloilo is the branch of a ginormous nationwide chain-megamall located about 5 minutes from my girlfriend, Alchi Mae's, house. I loved going there with her and buying awesome clothes for dirt cheap, (that actually fit me!) I literally have the exact same measurements as the mannequins in their department stores! We got used hardcover books for $1.50, and a Big Mac meal for the price of a U.S. Double Cheeseburger (err, excuse me...McDOUBLE).

You have to have a sixth sense for shopping at certain spots in the Philippines, however. This is especially true in the marketplaces of the small towns, where imitation off-brands run rampant. While on a day trip in the quiet town of Altavas, in Aklan province, Alchi Mae tried to contain her laughter while pointing out this Made-in-China perfume list on display in a local shop:

Now, to the untrained shopper, this store would appear to be selling upscale American perfumes, and for dirt cheap. After a careful inspection of the list, however, you will notice the subtle differences between these imitations and their authentic counterparts (...and a big name in U.S. politics?!?)

The moral of the story is, in a culture where all spelling is purely phonetic...


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