PWEDE NA YAN: I’m Whining In The Rain

The Philippines is a tropical country yet most locals seem to detest the only elements we have, sunshine & rain. I remember when my mom visited me back when I used to live in Sydney, Australia and the time she popped-open her umbrella on a perfectly sunny day. People were giving us funny looks and double takes and some even held out their hands trying to see if it was starting to rain. Most Filipinos hide from the sun for two main reasons, the first being a wholly logical and scientifically proven one and that is skin cancer. The second though is rooted more into our past and culture: dark skin complexion. It is widely acknowledged here that fair skin complexion is more attractive and is usually a sign of nobility (see The Beautiful People).
As for the apparent fear of rain, I would say this is due by and large to old wives’ tales. My mother up to this very day constantly reminds me, “Huwag ka magpabasa sa ulan ha? (Don’t get yourself wet in the rain ok?)” as she believes I will most certainly catch a cold that way. The last time I checked rainfall is made of almost pure water which I’m pretty sure is not detrimental to our wellbeing. Just recently I was in a taxi stopped at an intersection when it began to very lightly drizzle. A young woman standing at the crossing caught my attention. She badly wanted to cross the street despite the red light because she was getting a bit rained on. The expression on her face was a mix of irritation, frustration, and anguish as she shuffled about and even stomped her feet from time to time. This amused me greatly but on the other hand I thought maybe she just had to go pee.

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