One of the things you see quite often living in the Philippines is burning piles of leaves and/or garbage. The reason they burn garbage and leaves is because people in the Philippines don’t have the luxury of a garbage pickup twice a week like we have in the United States. Also most people don’t have big garbage cans because when you have them they are promptly stolen. TRUST ME! Been there done that. So instead they use big empty rice sacks that they keep outside in lieu of garbage cans.
But I see AND SMELL burning piles so often that I am starting to think it’s more than just an economic thing. I am starting to think they have this deep rooted desire to see flames and smoke. I wrote a post recently about New Years and kids/adults with firecrackers and fireworks but today I saw something that made me realize it’s more than those two isolated incidents.
I was walking my dog and I saw 2 separate burning piles, a field with a good 10 square feet of scorched grass with a giant branch burning, and then when I got outside the gate I was surprised (although not sure why) to see two kids playing with a lighter and some paper.
As I walked my dog I thought about it and maybe it just never hit me before but I realized I see this kind of thing pretty damn regularly since moving to the Philippines. When I say I realized it I mean the extent to which they use fire and burn stuff. I have always known they burn stuff like garbage and leaves because I complain about it constantly.
As if it’s not bad enough that they are choking out the entire street but it’s also incredibly bad for the environment. It’s doubly hysterical because then Filipinos will complain about big companies destroying the environment here but they litter incessantly, drive around in diesel powered jeepneys, and lord knows what else.
UPDATE – January 13, 2012 @ 10 PM
I was out walking my dog and we stroll down by the basketball court and there is a group of teenagers sitting there in the dark and they are lighting a fire right there in the basketball court against a wall.
At first I just shook my head but then I realized they were actually doing it to keep warm. Now for the record none of them were homeless or anything like that. They were just hanging out and I guess they were too lazy or stupid to go home and get a jacket or whatever.
I could understand if they were homeless or out camping but they were a block or two from their houses and in the middle of a basketball court.
UPDATE – January 18, 2012
I just read an article about a 32-year old Filipino man who died from tetanus due to a wound he received lighting New Years fireworks. Apparently, he never went to the doctor for a tetanus shot and by the time he got to the hospital (3 weeks later) he ended up dead.
UPDATE – January 20, 2012 @ 11:00 PM
I just got home from walking the dog and I saw 2 teenagers lighting a fire, to keep warm, about 4 feet from a bamboo church. Why the flames had to be 3 feet high…I HAVE NO IDEA!
UPDATE – February 8, 2012 @ 3:00 PM
I was walking my dog and I noticed the trike drivers were burning a small pile of leaves and across the street from them a young girl was lighting a much larger pile on fire. I guess it would have made too much sense to combine the piles and light one fire.
At any rate here is a video of the bigger pile burning. OK, so I didn’t film the Filipino but you can see the pile of leaves burning. I know I could have gotten closer but with the sun shining I could barely see the screen on the phone so I didn’t notice I was too far away. Actually, I wasn’t that far away. I was on the opposite curb.