On Being Discriminated In Your Own Country: The Ryan Layug Story




It has been pointed in many articles and by several Filipino sociologists that Pinoys are probably one of the most prejudiced people in the world.  This is very evident in the way we point out or refer to foreigners not on their stock or race but on their physical appearance.  Thus, Afro-Americans are still called “negro” the Chinese are called “singkit,” and the Japanese are referred to as “sakang.”  Thus, it is not surprising that Filipinos would tend to discriminate their own.  For example, Christian traders will never give credit line to Muslim customers and establishment owners like bars, lounges, and even hotels would place “dress code” signs and only implement such on Filipinos and will make exemptions to foreigners. News clips about Ryan Layug's case can be read here

The latter example became a controversy again when a Filipino soldier posted online his complaint over a Kalibo airport lounge area where he was denied entry because the place is exclusive to Koreans only. A Filipino soldier named Ryan Layug, a native of Pangasinan reported to local authorities in Kalibo that he was not allowed to enter the premises of a VIP Lounge in Kalibo Airport as the staff of the said establishment and its Korean owner said that Filipinos are not allowed to enter as the place is exclusive to Koreans only.  

As someone who traveled around the Philippines nearly half of his life, it is indeed disappointing and one cannot help but to be furious.  I experienced this kind of treatment due to policies and procedures implemented by bars, restaurants, hotels, and inns like not subscribing to dress code.  I remember one incident where I was not allowed to enter a karaoke bar in Cagayan de Oro City because I wore sandals.  The bar manager said that I should have worn shoes.  And seconds after I was rejected came a group of foreigners who were not only wearing slippers but sandos as well and they were allowed to enter with no questions asked. 

What the Filipino soldier did was admirable and took matters courageously by complaining to local authorities.  Probably, it is innate in him by virtue of his profession to be very brave each time he encountered situations like these.  The question is, how many of us Filipinos can do the same? In my case, I just turned around and never set foot on places where I was rejected and even demanded the same from my friends. It is not right but how are we going to set this thing right?

image credit: Ryan Layug's Facebook page
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