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100 Days Overseas With Coach Ivany: Day 5

08/20/2015, 2:15pm CDT
By Max Ivany

Sweating In The Gym

As mentioned below, I woke feling poorly so I decided I needed to get my work out in, regardless.  I hired a trike (a sidecar on a motorbike) and the driver (with his 5 year old daughter on the handlebars) took me through the barrio or as they call them in the Philippines the barangay or neighborhood to a little gym which was literally about a 20 x 20 room crammed with equipment from the 1980's. 

There was no air conditioning or ventilation.  I paid the owner a 25 peso (roughly .45 cent) guest fee and proceeded to SWEATING with the other 4 users who were guys who lived in the area. The Filipino people are always smiling and within 5 minutes each person came and said hello to me and offering me water every two minutes.  They could obviously see the sweat POURING off

Pretty much everyone in the Philippines speaks some English with many being very proficient so unlike China communications is a breeze. Once again when these guys found out I was in the basketball business there was a sense of respect and "awe" given. I really was humbled by their interest in me and of course their love for basketball.  MOST are San Antonio Spurs fans by the way.  They insisted tht I pose for a pic with them

After getting into my Manila hotel at 3 am I woke up Sunday morning to a flu bug of some kind and an eye full of mucus.  Last thing I need or want is to be sick in the jungle. 

I hired the hotel driver for the day a really cool guy and basketball nut named Pancho Fernandez.  (The Philippines is basketball crazy).  I decided that I'd better go see a doctor and nip this thing in the bud. We headed to the SM Quezon City Mall and I checked into a clinic much like any of our drop in medical offices in the USA.  There's one in Westlake (Austin, TX) that gets you for $150 just to walk in the door.  I was curious to see what awaited me.

The wait area was crowded (about 30 people) and I had two questions.  How much and how long was the wait? I was told the doctor visit was 440 pesos ($9 US) or if I wanted to see a specialist it was 500 pesos ($11 US).  I opted for the specialist an ear, nose and throat guy. The next question as to how long was the wait....well, the young man behind the counter says with a smile, "if you're paying cash then it's only one minute."

I thought he was pulling my leg as I surveyed the crowded waiting room.  Before I could blink a nurse came, whisked me away and took my blood pressure.  Literally a minute later I was sitting in front of the doctor, explaining my issue and being examined.  Hew wrote two prescriptions and I was out the door in about 10 minutes TOTAL.

Next stop was the pharmacy and within 15 minutes I also walked out the door with my two scrips in hand.  That was an additional $12.  Total medical costs, am astounding $23 US.

We have to do something about our outrageous health care system, especially for casual preventative care visits like mine..  This would have been $150-$200 dollar bill at home IF I could have gotten in to see the doc in under 3 hours, not to mention screwing around and getting a referral to a specialist which could have taken a couple of additional WEEKS.

The Mall

The mall is definitely a focal point of Filipino social life.  They are jam packed just like the day before Christmas. Everyone has to go through security screening much like when you enter a football stadium for an NFL game. The security people are polite and the crowds are extremely orderly.  

All age groups populate the malls as the presence of air conditioning has to be a draw in the 95 degree heat.  Lines are long at movies, stores, you name it but everyone is cheerful and well behaved.  

A security guard in Manila makes 400 pesos per day on a 12 hour shift.  That's roughly $9 US, or ,75 cents per hour.  Most of them (young men and young women alike) look so young it's almost like they are high schoolers. For their days pay the security provides a variety of duties.  

Depending on their post they can be handling traffic flow, assisting with guiding cars into parking places, searching bags/pat downs at the entrance to the mall, guarding businesses and giving directions.  All are strapped with many of them also having pump action shotguns.