His name is Ron, but they called him “Joe”

Here’s another post by a guest blogger. It is the personal account of Ron Scott, my brother-in-law, of his visit to the Philippines particularly in Ilocos. He was amazed by the culture of the Ilocanos especially when he came to know how the “rice” is produced from the time the grains are sowed until it’s milled. He did not look for a five-star comfort; he ate what was served on the table; and more than the place, he enjoyed the people.Read on…

“In November of 2004, I had the pleasure of visiting the Philippines for the first time. Coming from Canada to see such a beautiful country is an experience I will never forget.

Our drive from Manila to my wife’s family home in Ilocos Norte was a real eye opener to me. The countryside was amazing and the roadside shops are so magical the way they narrow the road!

(roadside shop for “rattan” products in La Union)


(roadside shop for wood carvings and furniture in La Union)


The shopkeeper are ever smiling and courteous and gives out the vibe of down home spirit. And oh well, where else in the world you see a lady washing her little pig on a leash by the roadside! Her prized pet—and eventually may end up on the table for Sunday dinner!

Or a farmer sitting on a handmade sled pulled by a cow. Priceless! Time isn’t so urgent to him it seemed.



The efficient “jeep” and tricycles that form part as a very necessary mode of transportation system adds a touch. I got in one of the tricycles-being a rather big white man, getting in is a struggle but getting out took time and dexterity! The specially decorated jeepneys were a treat to the eyes and the repetitive names are like music to the ears – like, Bong Bong; Jon Jon; Mac Mac; Bing Bing, etc. The names painted on the tricycles are very western and the countries is a whole array of nations. I later learned that the family who owns such has a family member in that country.

(the “jeep” or “oner” to Ilocanos)


The locals were very interesting–they amused me. Everybody called me “Joe”. A tricycle driver tried to sell me a shirt (just to find out later that he’s just practicing his English!). Teenagers said a lot of “Hey Joe, what’s up!” but some children ran away from me.

Most heartwarming was seeing the farmers in the rice paddies, up to their knee in mud, with cow pulling a single plow. Such hard, manual work. I so much appreciated how hard working they are. I was so proud to shake their hands, but felt so welcomed when I felt they received me warmly.


My wife and her family showed me old majestic churches which is far different from where I’ve been.

The amazingly vibrant business center in Makati amazed me–makes most of the cities in the world in which I have traveled runners up.

(Insular Life and Philamlife Bldgs.)


The wonderful history of old Manila which shows the pride of Philippine heritage and the valiant struggles that they have to endure to be free–how can you not love the Filipinos!



Two weeks was too short a time to truly see the scope of the Philippines and truly appreciate the resilience of its people. My world has widened yet even more when I experienced the Philippines.”

Postscript: I was told that Ron’s travel album to the Philippines/Ilocos is one of the best among his travels. The visit was short but the memories live on forever…

Gallery | This entry was posted in A. ILOCOS, Biag (Life of Ilocano's), Bisita (Guest Blogger), Gameng (Crafts), Ladawan (Photos), Lugan (Ilocos Transpo), Lugar (Places) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to His name is Ron, but they called him “Joe”

  1. sistah says:

    Never thought of it as an insult.The “Hey Joe” actually dates back during the war when all American soldiers were “Joes”. Me too-I find it really amusing and I honestly feel whoever do the “hey Joe” doesn’t even know. But oh well…

  2. luap777 says:

    I don’t take “Hey Joe” as an insult at all. Maybe some mean it to be. I’m American and I’ve been there a few times. The people always treated me very very well.

    If the “Hey Joe” was always an insult, I don’t think the kind treatment would have been the same. I’m amused by it personally, insult or not.

  3. Torn says:

    Hi Paul! Thx for sharing your opinion. I didn’t know there was something about Hey Joe’s more than ordinary greetings to ‘westerners’ who visit us. I believe there’s a huge difference between greeting you in all good faith, Hey Joe, and you taking it. BUt now I know that some may get offended with Hey Joes. I’ll bear that in mind.

  4. Paul says:

    I am sorry to inform you and very few Filipino’s will admit to it but the friendly Hey Joes are not at all friendly it is a insult they are laughing at you. I was first told this about 6 years ago and when I asked other Filipino’s they denied it was a insult but over time more of them have admitted to me that they are in fact laughing and insulting us by saying that it even took my wife 4 years before she told me she knew all along that they where insulting me she never told me before be cause she was ashamed to admit what her fellow country men where doing.
    It is also one of the major causes of lack of tourist in the Philippines a survey that never got to press because it come up with negative responses to what they had hoped.
    Revealed nearly 90% of tourists interviewed on their dispatcher said they would never return to the Philippines and over 70% of them stated the shouts of Hey Joe at every corner they turn was one of the main reasons many of them stating they regarded it as a racist shout which I guess when it is only shouted at westerners it is a racist shout if we shouted names at Filipino’s in the western world they would report us and we would be arrested for racism but they think its OK to shout names at us in their country.
    I now explain to them that it is losing the Philippines millions of dollars every year in lost tourists and if they want to live in a country full of poverty keep shouting it if they would like good hospitals and schools for everyone stop and think before you shout it.

  5. nice pictures you have..


  6. Ron says:

    Thank you for posting Constantine. The photographs are stories themselves.

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