A University of the Philippines student Mark Solis was recently busted for submitting an image he stole from the Flickr account of Gregory John Smith which won a photography competition. It wouldn't be so bad but he had done this numerous times and have won a competition in 2011 using another stolen image. As a photographer enthusiast and a filipino it was a disgrace however I am saddened to say it is not shocking. Culturally the Philippines seem to just screw each other over, from the corruption in the government (Pork Barrel Scam of Napoles) to their fellow man (I caught a cab which quoted the cost of 350 pesos to our destination, there was no metering system for some reason, and 2 mins before tells me that it's actually 400 pesos as it was further away than he expected, foreigners are also charged more so). Lack of transparency in prices lead to dishonesty. Prices seems to be what they can get away with. It is so damn frustrating. Solis apologised but seriously the thief would have continued doing it if he wasn't caught. He even had the audacity to come up and do an acceptance speech and a made up story about the subject. I felt saddened by the realisation, that my birth country was worse than I remembered. People didnt give a shit, and the Christian value system is a mere facade. I am not saying all Filipinos are like this, but the vast majority I have witnessed seem to be. A filipino word best described as "Manloloko" The sad part in returning back to my roots this time, is that I felt a certain need to contribute back what I have learned, but I leave with more problems as the issues seem to have compounded in a giant mess, where each layer has to change in parallel in order to gain results. It seems impossible, something to ponder until I return, hopefully with some action that would help, even minutely.

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