We happened to be in the Philippines during election season this year. As posts about elections in my homeland filled my social media newsfeed (on the rare occasions I had wifi), I couldn’t help compare Filipino elections to elections in the good ol’ USA. Here are some ways Filipinos do it better.
Posters, posters, everywhere!
I became so used to seeing faces plastered on every wall, telephone poll, and tricey that America seems downright plain in comparison.
I’ve seen them on barbed wire fences, tiny mountain hiking trails, in remote rice fields, and even plastered to dead logs on the side of the road.
Filipinos take local elections more seriously
In the province I noticed the faces on these posters were different. While there were very few ads for presidential candidates, there were a lot of ads for local government positions.
I asked Jake about it and he explained that local leaders hold a lot of respect and influence in the community. Americans (and I’m just as guilty of this as anyone) rarely even know their mayor’s name.
The jingles are epic
Ok, picture this. You’re driving down a small country road when suddenly a jeep with big loudspeakers on the roof drives by blaring “Eye of the Tiger” with words tailored to a specific candidate. I couldn’t understand a word, but it made me wish I could vote for the guy! I also heard “YMCA” and, my personal favorite, “I’m All About That Bass”.
Can you imagine? “Come on now, vote for Trump, vote for Trump, he’s trouble…” I know that doesn’t make sense as a campaign song, but it’s all I could come up with.
In my mind Hilary would be “YMCA”, and Sanders would be “Eye of the Tiger”, but we won’t get into that.
No drinking and voting
One of the families we stayed with during our travels told us there is a liqueur ban on all Filipinos in the days just prior to the election. In the Philippines this is meant to curb violence, but it sounds like a great idea to me. Maybe with this law Mickey Mouse would get less votes written in, though in this election he’s looking more and more appealing.
There are more choices
At least for President. This year the ballot held 5 choices for Filipinos to choose from, including two women. For those of us Americans becoming disillusioned to the two party system, this sounds nice.
Of course this is not a well rounded portrayal of politics in the Philippines. Unfortunately, the country has to deal with a lot of corruption when it comes to elections. One study ranked them as the most corrupt Asian country when it comes to politics. But as a foreigner visiting at this particular time, these are some interesting and fun things I observed.