Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Unforgettable Moments (that I’m not sure I want to remember)

“The gods too are fond of a joke.”
– Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)

I experienced an interesting case of mistaken identity late this morning. I was at SM Manila enjoying a doughnut after a late breakfast/early lunch. I noticed an older couple as I sat down to get my sugar and caffeine fix. They finished soon after I arrived, and each one passed by my table as they left. The gentleman passed by first, glancing my way and smiling at me. His wife soon followed. She also looked my way, but she passed by more slowly. “I thought you were Daniel Smith,” she said while softly chuckling. I quickly assured her that I was not, although it seemed she’d already figured it out.


I’ll explain this one for my American readers. Daniel Smith is a US Marine who was recently convicted of raping a Filipina. There’s a raging controversy right now regarding his custody and other issues (he is currently detained at the US Embassy). Needless to say, he’s not well liked here in the Philippines. I found it hilariously ironic that “Mr True Love Waits” here was confused with an accused rapist.

Believe it or not, I’ve heard worse. A few years back, a child approached me in Intramuros. “Sabi ng tatay ko, aswang ka daw” (my father said you are an aswang). I asked him to repeat himself just to make sure I understood him correctly. Later I asked my friend the meaning of “aswang.” I found out that the aswang is basically a vampire-like monster with wings–arguably the most feared creature in Filipino folklore.

One thing I can say: I am convinced that God has a sense of humor. I laughed to myself after the sweet little lola (grandmother) made her way out of Dunkin Doughnuts. I was tempted to look towards the heavens and say, “Good one–you really got me that time.” Perhaps God likes to remind us not to take ourselves too seriously.

13 Comments

  1. racism, prejudice, stereotype, typecast = something we have to live with as filipinos or americans, etc, anywhere in this world – how subtle it may have become now, it is still there – eversince that event in babel? maybe since our differences reigned more, it has stirred us all…and that sting will remain until we are all finally redeemed to live as one in Christ…and yea, praise God for our sense of humor – it IS the most immediate and practical self defense for now 🙂

  2. Hi Huram,

    I’ve found Filipinos to be quite warm and welcoming–that’s why I love you guys so much! Keep in mind also that 99.9% of the comments I hear about my appearance are positive.

    This post is meant to be just a humorous reflection of those more “interesting” comments I’ve heard here. It’s as if God sends an experience my way sometimes to keep me humble and to make sure I don’t take myself to seriously. Both of these incidents really amused me–I was not offended in any way.

    Perhaps the post did not come across as light-hearted as I intented it to.

  3. This post made me laugh so much! I think of the Philippines often!

  4. this is hilarious. aswang?!? hahahahahaha! brave of the kid to approach you though :p

  5. The kid was like three years old if I remember correctly–not old enough to know any better and barely old enought to talk. I got quite a kick out of it.

  6. kuya Kevin, you’re becoming one of us already – using humor amidst it all 🙂 – it may not sound as you have intended it to be – just like how any reading can have different effects both for the writer and the reader – i was not amused when they called you daniel and aswang, but for the most part, this post came across to me as a reminder – how i should be sensitive even in small stuff – i have heard foreigners complain to me on similar petty issues – ex1. a guy complaining about why Filipinos always converse with his wife in pure Tagalog as if he’s nowhere in sight – ex2. a half black half Pinay woman complaining that some Filipinos look down on her because of her skin – i am unguarded at times too – like when we can’t render jokes in its exact English translation, we speak in Tagalog for the entire conversation, with them as subjects sometimes 🙁 – but yea, most of the time, it’s not our intention to become rude – it may come across as insensitivity to most foreigners – but i agree, just don’t take it seriously – but then, as God’s common citizens, we’ve got to learn and make a change – and yea, foreigners are treated as kings and queens here – heard that from another foreigner, both with its advantage and disadvantage – i’m against regarding any species as superior or inferior to another – different story 🙂 hey kuya, just the same, don’t take this long comment seriously 😀

  7. I experienced some of those frustrations when I first arrived, especially with the language barrier.

    I remember one of my proudest moments in language learning was when my Filipino friends started whispering around me–they could no longer openly joke about me without risk of me understanding 🙂

    For me it is a “give and take” kind of thing. There are times when Filipinos could be more sensitive, and there are also times when we foreigners need to be more accepting that this isn’t the USA (or Europe, or wherever else). I’ve seen good and bad attitudes on either side.

  8. hi kevin!
    just read this blog — ‘your unforgettable moments’!…hehehe nice one!!!!:)
    God bless, Daniel Smith…, uhhhh, i mean kevin! hahaha just kidding! 🙂

  9. Thanks for reading 🙂

  10. Hahahaha nakakatawa naman!

  11. funny, aswang!

  12. hahaha…very funny kevin!

  13. This is funny 🙂
    Thanks for sharing! This made me smile 😀

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