Noise Pollution

Noise is everywhere here in the Philippines, there is no shortage of noises to entertain your ears.  The number one source for noise is the festival. Unless you move out away from everything, find a subdivision that does not have yearly festivals, that by the way are very popular here and in just about every city, all the way down to the smallest barangay has one, every year.  These festivals are an outdoor function and normally have huge loud speakers pumping out disco type, boom boom boom music that continues all week long or during the weekends and the boom boom goes all night long. The music is so loud that your whole body begins to vibrate and my ears actually hurt and I am deaf for several minutes after encountering one. They always have these huge 6 to 10 foot tall speakers and powerful amps so you can hear their music up to a kilometer away. Fortunately for me, my house in Dakit, Bogo is on the other side of a hill from the town square where most festivals are, so I don’t hear that much except for that continuous boom boom boom in the distance. I also have double pained glass on all of my windows.   Don’t ever ask a Filipino to turn down his music they become very angry if you do and you end up getting blacklisted for life. I occasionally hear a tricycle the one that is a motorcycle with a huge sidecar that can hold up to 4 people except most often holds 6. Sometimes these guys have large speakers booming their music and it can be heard blocks away.  Another source for noise pollution is vendors. In our subdivision you will find vendors riding their tricycles a three wheeled bicycle with a flatbed on one side, with all sorts of different foods and they are accompanied by loud music to announce their presence. Another source of loud noise is most of the younger drivers like to equip their cars with very loud mufflers and often you can hear them blocks away. This goes for the motorcycles as well, this being the prime mode of transportation, you guessed it loud mufflers are plentiful.  Another source related to the Festivals is the portable disco setup, they come in a variety of sizes all the way up to the photo on the right. You can rent one for less than P2,000 for all day and all night it comes with an operator to play a CD player on loud speakers. In our subdivision just about every weekend someone rents one and plays it up to about 11:00 PM. I think fortunately for me there is some kind of curfew here on music after 11:00 PM. Too may lawyers living here I guess. There’s one more source for occasional noise pollution. If you do not own a car and have to take a taxi anywhere you may encounter a young driver playing his radio loudly. A Christian friend of mine had my wife ask the driver to turn off his radio, he complained but did it anyway. Not sure if I am brave enough to tell them that. What about you? If you encounter any other noise sources just post a comment here. How do you avoid this noise, really you can’t, but one suggestion would be to live in a subdivision like ours that is out away from any city and does not allow discos to operate all night long. We are two to three kilometers from the nearest location of a festival so don’t hear them. This week is Lapu-Lapu- city festival and I can’t hear anything from it. Drove down there the other day and found it crowded with people and motorcycles coming from all directions, made my wife very nervous as they ride up on the sidewalks and squeeze past you constantly from both sides, what a nightmare of a drive. If you have a problem with this I suggest getting a driver to take you around, he’s used to it.  (Images link to their source.)


Here’s a noisy video to give you a taste of what to expect if you encounter one of these…


This from my friend Larry Haydon

One day my wife and I were watching tv and relaxing. All of a sudden this loud techno music  began to play. It was soo loud there was no way we could concentrate on the tv. Even the objects on the shelf rattled. Anyway, it was loud! So I walked across the way and very politely asked the gentlemen if he could please turn it down. I told him that my wife and I can’t even hear the TV and he told me to turn the TV volume up. I then told him,that I have already tried that. and all we can hear is his music.

Well, NEEDLESS TO SAY, HE WASN’T TO HAPPY ABOUT ME ASKING HIM TO TURN THE MUSIC DOWN.. ( l later learned that to ask a Filipino to turn down the music  is the same as asking him to turn if off completely) After I had returned to my house he begin to kick my door and yell at me to come outside. He wanted to kick my butt.

Anyway, my point is that it caused a big commotion in my neighborhood and caused me some serious troubles with the neighborhood. I was the center of attention for a few months after that. I had become the “Bad Guy”. All because I politely ( i really did ask nicely) asked someone to turn down their radio so I could hear my t.v.

So, if your going to spend any amount of reasonably time in the philippines I would make 2 suggestions regarding “Noise”
1. Bring some good ear plugs
2. Keep it to yourself

Lastly, its o.k. to get in a taxi and if their playing loud music, you can politely ask them to “Turn down the music please”….and smile. And they will. But that is the only place and time you can get away with it without getting in trouble.I have done this several hundred times in the last 4 years and no one has ever said anything back.  thats because..they want your business!!! And I always give them an extra p50.


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Charles Harman 571-970-9195


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